The international cooperative community is full of people who inspire us through innovation, advocacy, leadership and the relentless spirit to affect positive change. Through the OCDC International Champion and Innovation awards we honor and recognize those leaders. This year we are pleased to present the International Cooperative Champion Award to Paul Clark and the International Cooperative Innovation Award to the Uruguayan Confederation of Cooperative Entities (CUDECOOP) and the National Institute of Cooperatives (INACOOP) for their development of the SICOOP platform.
The International Cooperative Champion Award is in recognition a member that has made outstanding contributions through championing, promoting and advocating for effective, sustainable international cooperative development, particularly in low income and emerging economies. The following qualities were considered when reviewing nominations: Statesmanship | Lasting achievement | Co-op advancement | Recognition and business practice
Paul Clark embodies all of these as a key champion of rural electric cooperatives over his 40+ year career. For 30 years he engaged with OCDC and was instrumental in securing increased CDP funding and also served on the OCDC Board of Directors. He was nominated by NRECA and you can watch a tribute they made for him here:
Innovation is key to growth and development and that’s why OCDC chooses to also highlight it in cooperatives. When looking to recognize innovation, we consider sustainability, co-op advancement, leadership and use of new practices. This year we are pleased to highlight SICOOP as an innovative platform to combat market challenges in Uruguay. It facilitates commerce among 750 co-ops (consumer, production, housing, credit) and other co-op and non-coop SMEs. Since SICOOP began in 2018, sales have reached $3.8 MM USD, with more than 32,000 transactions. Participating co-ops have benefited from reduction of credit financing cost by 32-52%, which is mainly provided by participating savings and credit coops. They have raised sales of up to 82%; while consumer co-ops have increased their sourcing from production co-ops up to 100% for some and an average of 53% for main products.
There is nothing cookie-cutter about creating a more equitable and sustainable world and this is reflected in the work of CUDECOOP and INACOOP in developing the SICOOP platform. They were nominated for this award by NCBA CLUSA. We congratulate CUDECOOP and INACOOP on their new approach — and the effort to put it into action. Thank you for commitment, leadership and innovation in improving the international co-op movement. We are pleased to highlight this innovation for the larger cooperative community. Congratulations!