USAid co-op development programme launches in Madagascar

The Cooperative Ecosystem and Social Inclusion project will be implemented from October 2023 to September 2028, with support from NCBA Clusa

A new five-year co-operative development programme has been launched in Madagascar.

The country’s co-op leaders gathered with representatives of the US Agency for International Development (USAid) and US co-op apex NCBA Clusa on January 18 to officially launch the project. 

The Cooperative Ecosystem and Social Inclusion (Cesi) project is being implemented in Madagascar, Kenya, Guatemala and Peru from October 2023 to September 2028 to further strengthen co-operatives’ capacity, advance co-operative enabling environments, and spur the application of Usaid Cooperative Development Program (CDP) learning and tools within the development community. 

Towards these aims, NCBA Clusa will focus on strengthening the capacity of key players within Madagascar’s co-operative ecosystem, and involving more women and young people in co-operatives.

Cesi will see NCBA Clusa partnering with Madagascar’s University of Antananarivo to establish training on entrepreneurship and the co-op model, providing tailored coaching to 10 co-operatives via local organisations such as ONI co-op.

ONI co-op received support from NCBA Clusa during its previous project, Creating an Environment for Cooperative Expansion (Cece). The Cece project supported the passage of a new co-op law in Madagascar which will benefit co-ops participating in the new Usaid programme

As part of Cece, ONI co-op benefited from trainings on NCBA Clusa tools such as the Women’s Inclusion, Empowerment and Leadership in Cooperatives guide to gender equity within co-operatives. These tools will continue to promote women’s engagement within their co-ops under the new CDP project. 

Cede also involved a study tour to Germany, which, says ONI secretary Fanja Raharimanana, was instrumental in providing guidance on co-op business sustainability, demonstrating the “importance of co-operatives benefiting from support services provided by apex organisations in order to ensure long-term success”. 

Benjamin Skolnik, director of USAid Madagascar’s Sustainable Environment and Economic Development Office, said: “Co-operatives are truly the backbone of USAid’s environment and agriculture activities here in Madagascar.  Participating in co-operatives improves the economic well-being of members and their families, thereby improving the resilience of entire communities while reducing pressure on Madagascar’s high-value fauna and flora biodiversity.”

Abel Rakotonirainy, NCBA Clusa’s country representative in Madagascar, said:

“NCBA Clusa is committed in Madagascar in the coming years to drive co-operative development through CDP/Cesi and through partnerships with other USAid activities or other donor interventions.”