OCDC members build a better world through cooperatives

The members of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) are uniquely qualified to build a better world through cooperatives.

In this country, OCDC members encompass more than 22,000 cooperatives across a spectrum of economic sectors including agriculture, finance, health care, rural electrification, housing and community building. They draw from their deep well of U.S. cooperative business knowledge, expertise and success and apply it to international cooperative development.

They also excel at building partnerships with U.S. government agencies, the governments of the countries in which they work, public- and private corporations and a host of non-government organizations to ensure the sustainability of their work.

Tapping volunteers
At the grassroots level, OCDC member organizations make cooperative development work by tapping the practical know-how of skilled volunteers, many of whom are their members and employees.

Through their international development activities, our members provide expertise and support to nearly 5,000 cooperatives serving 130 million people in 100 countries.

In recognition of Co-op Month, OCDC salutes our members’ dedicated and talented volunteers who share a lifetime’s worth of experience to build a better and more prosperous world through cooperatives.

Snapshots: Volunteers share expertise

National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) International: Deep into the Amazon basin ofLineman Heath Martin volunteers in Bolivia. Bolivia, 15 volunteer linemen from Missouri and Oklahoma strung 17 kilometers of power lines over 220 poles in partnership with the local electric co-op to bring electricity to two villages. Volunteer lineman Heath Martin summed up the experience, “Seeing all the people show up for the celebration when we completed our project, it felt like a victory lap. It was awesome when they turned the switch on and the lights came on.” Read the full story…

Visit NRECA International to learn how you can help.

Land O’Lakes International Development: When asked if Rwanda, which is striving to Keith Newhouse tours a maize field in Rwanda.rejuvenate its agricultural economy, could be a model for creating a cooperative to distribute crop inputs, Keith Newhouse said, “Let’s find out.” As a plant geneticist and supply-chain guru for Land O’Lakes crop input business, Newhouse was instrumental in helping form the Seed Cooperative Alliance. It’s a hybrid group of experts, including an African seed company and 15 local cooperatives in Rwanda and Tanzania, offering hybrid seed varieties, fertilizer and technical expertise to co-op members. Read the full story…

Discover how you can become involved through Land O’Lakes International Development.

NCBA CLUSA International: For two weeks, Sequoia Ireland worked with the women Sequoia Ireland shows women how to do a soil test.of four villages in Senegal’s Kaolack region. Ireland, a Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer and organic vegetable and animal health specialist, trained women-owned producer groups and co-ops about soil fertility. She even showed them how to use local market ingredients to conduct a simple soil test. To help her connect with the women, Ireland showed pictures of her own garden and told stories of raising pigs in North Carolina. “There’s a lot of hard work raising fruits and vegetables, and to be able to show them that I was doing it at home as well helped build trust,” she said. Read the full story…

Visit NCBA CLUSA International to learn about their volunteer opportunities.

ACDI/VOCA: Tom Miller spent his volunteer assignment in the Ashanti region of Ghana working with farmer associations on group dynamics and organizationalTom Miller poses with village leaders in Ghana. strengthening. During his 10 days of teaching, the class size ranged from 35 to 54 adults, all jammed into a tiny room with kids’ desks. But there was no complaining. “They were very engaging, interested in the material and topics, asked great questions and some of them were really funny, telling and playing jokes on the teacher,” said Miller. “They are like most people – they want to make a good life for their families and live in peace.” Read the full story...

To learn all the ways you can work toward building a better world, visit ACDI/VOCA.

Posted 10/5/16