The Hub

A resource library and learning platform designed with OCDC members in mind, The Hub houses a collection of assets that are carefully curated to aid and inform the success of your cooperative development programming. Many of the resources collected within are directly about cooperatives and cooperative activities, but some – while not directly about cooperatives – provide unique insight that is relevant and applicable to cooperative success. These articles have been curated by the ICRG for the use of those working in international cooperative development. Many focus on cooperatives. Others include approaches, principles and experience that may be extrapolated to cooperative development program design or implementation.

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Accelerating and scaling up climate innovation. How the Green Climate Fund’s approach can deliver new climate solutions for developing countries. Green Climate Fund working paper No.4.

2021, by Yannick Glemarec for GREEN CLIMATE FUND, NOVEMBER 2021. Investment in new climate solutions is hampered by a range of barriers. This Working Paper first identifies the main barriers to climate innovation in developing countries, focusing on each stage of the innovation chain, from the emergence of innovation to its deployment and eventual widespread Read More

Fostering Cooperative Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study on Coffee Cooperatives’ Operations in Honduras during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

2021. by Widman, C. for Linnaeus University. Widman’s argument is that cooperatives can be instrumental in distributing accurate information, building community resilience, and ensuring that all segments of society are included in its beneficial relationship. Widman’s paper contributes to our understanding of resiliency by establishing that investing in one’s capital (human, social, financial, physical, natural) provides Read More

Strategic Resilience during the COVID-19 Crisis

Diedrich et al. surveyed senior executives in Europe to understand how organizations responded to COVID-19 crisis and found that about half reported that the crisis exposed weaknesses in their strategic resilience – defined as the extent which an organization’s business model and competitive position prove resistance to disruption. From Diedrich’s article, the actions that anti-fragile Read More

COVID-19 Impact on CDP Supported Cooperatives

2021, By Tango International. Tango found that across the surveyed countries, the top three most severe impacts of COVID-19 on cooperative business operations were reduced revenue, government restsrictions on activities, and reduced deliveries of product by members. Cooperatives reported an urgent need for access to finance/loans to cover revenue loses and for coaching to shift Read More

Introduction: Cooperative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity

2015 by Novkovic, S., & Miner, K. for International Cooperative Alliance – Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity. Novkovic and Miner argue that large organizations need to break complexity down into manageable units and decompose decision-making into a network fo independent control centres- in other words, polycentric or network governance. 1. Read More

Market Systems for Resilience

2020 by, Lund, S., Manyika, J., Woetzel, J., Barribal, E., Krishnan, M., Alicke, K., Birshan, M., George, K., Smit, S., Swan, D., & Hutzler, K. for the McKinsey Global Institute. Lund et al. argues that supply chains in a post-Covid world will need to manage crises beyond Covid – like Climate change, ransomware, and other Read More

Co-Operative Learning and Resilience to COVID-19 in a Small-Sized South African Enterprise.

2021, by Habiyaremye, A.,  for Sustainability.Habiyaremye uses knowledge-centered crisis management framework in a mixed methods (literature and interviews) to examine knowledge exchange and resource utilization optimization – how enhanced knowledge sharing through cooperative learning can be applied to induce higher innovation performance and more efficient resource utilization structures. Habiyareme’s arguments for collaboration strengthen the argument Read More

Market Systems Resilience: A Framework for Measurement

2018, By Downing, J., Field, M., Ripley, M., & Sebstad, J. for Building Capacity for African Agricultural Transformation – USAID Bureau of Food Security. This article by Downing et al. argues that a systems-level analysis of resilience is important to organizational success, drawing on a body of research on systems thinking, and institutional, behavioral, and Read More

Platform and Data Co-Operatives amidst European Pandemic Citizenship

2020, By Cazada, I. for Sustainability. Calzada provides a substantive overview of digital and platform cooperatives and the ability for them to provide alternatives to digital oligopolies. Business can be undertaken that is more inclusive, equitable, and ethical. Read the Journal.

Economic Recovery and Employee Ownership

2021 By Alexis Butler, Shevanthi Daniel-Rabkin, Kyle Funk, Melissa Hoover, Tina Lee, Lauren Lowery, Julian McKinley, Zen Trenholm for the Democracy at Work Institute. As cities seek to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, municipal support for the transition of companies to employee ownership offers an opportunity to save many small businesses, Read More

The Design of Effective Democratic Governance Structures for Large Cooperatives

2015, By Birchall. Birchall argues that the larger the cooperative, the more likely that: 1. Members are limited in their ownership rights and feel like they have less ownership of the cooperative – leading to less support and participation 2. The operations of the cooperative are more complex 3. There are free-riders 4. The governors Read More

Labor Migration in Asia: Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis and the Post-Pandemic Future

2021, By the Asian Development Bank. Most of this publication by the Asian Development Bank is focused is on the impact of COVID-19 on migrant labor in Asia. For the purposes of Business Resiliency, the value of technology for workers – through networking and solidarity, remittances and financial management, access to services and information, and Read More

A Guide to Building a More Resilient Business

2020, By Martin Reeves and Kevin Whitaker for the Harvard Business Review. From the Article: Mainstream business education and managerial practice is largely focused on managing performance. But as the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the painful fragility of many of our systems, leaders are focusing on resilience — a concept rarely taught in today’s business Read More

2021 – Addressing Gender Norms to Increase Financial Inclusion From CGAP

A technical guide by Antonique Koning, Joanna Ledgerwood, Nisha Sing for CGAP. Gendered social norms, a subset of social norms, are an inescapable reality shaping the lives of women around the world. To advance women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment, funders and market facilitators need to acknowledge gender norms and understand how they limit women’s Read More

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem. Inclusive Economic Development in Action. A joint project of Project Equity and the Democracy at Work institute.

2016. Lead authors: Melissa Hoover and Hilary Abell. The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem refers to a systemic understanding of what helps worker cooperatives thrive and reach a scale that has impact. The ecosystem includes actors—individuals, organizations and institutions—and elements that interact to support or inhibit scaled growth of worker cooperatives. The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem has eleven Read More

Cooperation for the transition to a green economy

2021, From ICA-EU Partnership. This report provides an overview on how cooperatives around the world are acting to protect the environment, as well as mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. Through the eight featured case studies, it is clear that cooperatives are already playing a very important role in Read More

Agricultural Cooperatives and COVID-19 in Southeast Africa. The role of managerial capital for rural resilience

By Francesconi N., Wouterse F., Birungi Namuyiga D. While the health impact of COVID-19 in most African countries appears modest, the impact of social distancing measures, closing of markets and reduced mobility is felt across the board. Domestic, labor-intensive and traditional food value chains and the smallholders they serve appear to be particularly affected. During a Read More

Organizational innovation in times of crises: The case of extension and advisory services during COVID-19

By Davis, K., Snider, T., Grove, B.,.  From the International Food Policy Research Institute/Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education. Since it formally began, extension institutions have been innovating in response to the changing environment. Past crises have induced organizational innovation in limited ways. The COVID19 crisis appears to have brought about more radical change Read More

Inclusive Insurance: Closing the Protection Gap for Emerging Customers. A joint report from the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and the Institute of International Finance

Emerging consumers present a promising market for inclusive insurance, and creative insurance companies have been developing promising models to reach this market for years. Since the 1990s, the microinsurance movement has demonstrated the benefits of insurance for low-income people, as well as exploring new business models to serve these customers profitably in frontier and emerging Read More

Guides for Electric Cooperative Development and Rural Electrification

NRECA International produced this publication to advance the basic understanding of rural electrification development for policymakers, donor organizations, and practitioners. The publication leads the reader through 10 self-contained modules covering the organizational, legal, technical, and financial aspects of rural electrification project design and implementation and electric cooperative development. The entire collection can be accessed here: Read More

A spotlight on Women-led businesses in Africa: Applying a Gender Lens to Post-Covid Recovery.

For many African nations, women head up the SMEs that make up the fabric of communities and economies. These women-led businesses have found ways to keep their revenue flowing despite the crisis. But for many others, customers have dried up, and businesses are struggling to stay afloat. More must be done to help keep their Read More

What Makes Rural Cooperatives Resilient in Developing Countries

Rural Cooperatives: this article reviews the literature, particularly with respect to sub-Saharan Africa, that co-operative organizational resilience centres on co-operatives’ multidimensionality and the development of collective capability in five mutually reinforcing areas of activity. These are membership, networks, collective skills in governance, innovation and engagement with governments. Together, they strengthen co-operatives’ resilience, but where lacking, Read More

Measurements for Tracking Indicators of Cooperative Success (METRICS): New Challenges and Opportunities in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Date of Publication: 2009 | Author: Dr. John W. Mellor | Journal/Publication: US Overseas Cooperative Development Council and the United States Agency for International Development. Link: Measurements for Tracking Indicators of Cooperative Success (METRICS) is the third major OCDC initiative. It addresses the question: What characteristics produce the greatest probability of a cooperative surviving and Read More

Green Economy: Cooperation for the transition to a Green Economy – Global Thematic Research Report – ICA-EU Partnership – September 17th, 2021.

The thematic research publication “Cooperation for the transition to a green economy” provides an innovative overview on how cooperatives are acting to protect the environment, as well as mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation while transitioning to a green economy. With a specific focus on how principle seven on Read More

2020 – Cooperatives and wider SSE enterprises respond to COVID-19 disruptions, and government measures are being put in place.

This article summarizes the cooperative, wider SSE enterprises, and government response to COVID-19 disruptions. Cooperatives, in partnership with governments, around the world are being affected by – and responding to – COVID-19 in various ways in immediate and short terms. This article covers a variety of sectors and summarizes the actions taken by cooperatives and Read More

2020 – A participatory framework for feasibility assessments of climate change resilience strategies for smallholders: lessons from coffee cooperatives in Latin America

This resource identifies effective cooperative-led solutions that could be applied in different situations to boost coffee yields, with a particular emphasis on climate change resilience. Coffee farmers are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, yet recommended resilience strategies are often cost-prohibitive for smallholder producers and/or maladapted to local conditions and contexts. We collaborated with Read More

“Co-Operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity”

Co-Operative Governance: this comprehensive publication includes several articles covering a variety of topics pertaining to the unique ability for cooperatives to build stronger resilience in the face of complex challenges and obstacles – in particular because of their governance structures. The Table of Contents are as follows: Statement on the Cooperative Identity Foreword by Pauline Read More

2012 Keystone Development Center Cooperative Development Checklist

The Keystone Development Center has a check list that we follow when working with groups forming cooperatives. Any errors are not Jerry’s but are the responsibility of KDC. It is presented in the form of questions we ask ourselves. If the answer to the question is no, the recommended action is included. If the answer Read More

2018 Study Guide for Cooperative Principles: Fostering Racial and Economic Equity in Cooperatives

Author/Publication: Patricia Cumbie, Jade Barker, Bill Gessner, Carolee Colter and Thane Joyal, Columinate This article is a discussion guide to strengthen the relationship between the cooperative principles and fostering racial and economic equity in cooperatives. From the authors: Discussing each principle and value through the lens of racial and economic equity will provide a starting Read More

“Supporting Women Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Response and Economic Recovery.”

Author/Publication Info: African Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank This article highlights evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab and other promising research to protect the lives and livelihoods of women and girls –  in diverse topics such as household, firms and farms, and adolescence – to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, Read More

“Agricultural Cooperatives and COVID-19 in Southeast Africa. The Role of Managerial Capital for Rural Resilience.”

Author/Publication Info: Francesconi, Nicola, Fleur Wouterse, and Dorothy Birungi Namuyiga. Sustainability 13 (3): 1046. This article hypothesizes that collective or organizational resilience is especially significant to smallholders when idiosyncratic risk coping strategies fail. By using pre- and during-shock data from agricultural cooperatives in Southeast Africa, the authors analyzed the resiliency of these smallholder-owned organizations. Many Read More

2020 – Applying a Gender Lens to Post-Covid Economic Recoveries: A Spotlight on Women-Led Businesses in Africa

Author/Publication Info: Naoko Koyama, Madjiguene Soc, Katrina Kwan, Dalberg. For many African nations, women head up the SMEs that make up the fabric of communities and economies. This article summarizes the particular difficulties and challenges that African Women-led SMEs face and how they have responded to such obstacles. This article also provides short term and Read More

2013 – Measuring the Benefits of Smallholder Farmer Membership in Producer-Controlled Vertical Value Chains: Survey Findings From a Development Project in East Africa.

Author/Publication Information: David John O’Brien, Lloyd Banwart,  and Michael L. Cook. Poverty & Public Policy. A Global Journal of Social Security, Income, Aid, and Welfare. Vol. 5 No 4, December 2013, pp. 399-416 Why people decide to join, or not to join a cooperative? What are the benefits of membership as compared to non-membership-based organizations? Read More

2020 – Global Youth Development Report.

Author/Publication: The Commonwealth. Given continuous concern of cooperatives and how to attract and engage new generations of members, this material may be of particular interest. The Commonwealth is an association of 54 independent countries aiming at international consensus building. Is Secretariat provides technical assistance and advisory services to members, helping governments achieve sustainable, inclusive and Read More

2017 Cooperatives UK – The Governance of Large Co-operative Businesses; A research study by Professor Johnston Birchall

This is the second edition, comprehensively revised, of a research study which has been widely recognized as the first comprehensive research into how co-operative businesses worldwide operate in terms of their governance. The report stands alone, to be read afresh. The research focused on sixty of the largest co-operatives across a range of sectors, an Read More

2019 International Labour Organization – A Step-by-step tool to start-up a Cooperative

This is basic start up material/guide for cooperatives. Start.COOP is a low-cost, easy to use tool for those interested in starting and launching a cooperative in a participatory manner. It draws on technical content from existing materials in different ILO cooperative training tools. It also uses a peer-to-peer, activity-based learning methodology from the ILO’s Community-Based Read More

2021 International Co-operative Alliance – Young People and Cooperatives

The report presents a number of practical examples of youth cooperation and identifies ways that engagement between young people and cooperatives can be improved. 420 responses from young people were collected and analyzed for the research, which surveyed both young cooperators and young people less familiar with the cooperative model. The five chapters, which can Read More

2019 International Co-operative Alliance – Cooperative and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation and Trust.

Cooperatives Europe’s research showcases twenty case studies from more than fourteen countries, covering different types and stages of conflicts. This thematic research, carried out within the ICA-EU partnership for international development, demonstrates what cooperatives around the globe are doing in favour of peacebuilding and conflict resolution, in particular how they can be a tool for Read More

2018 UNESCO Digital inclusion for low-skilled and low-literate people: a landscape review

The twenty-first century has seen the emergence of knowledge societies and digital economies around the world. Underpinning these changes have been the proliferation of mobile devices, increased sophistication of computers, and cheaper and more widely available internet access. The digital revolution has changed the way almost half the world lives and works, learns and socializes. Read More

2018 Women’s Financial Inclusion And The Law. [in] Women, Business And The Law 2018, World Bank

Description. Legal reform is a crucial element that needs to be embedded in broader strate¬gies to advance women’s financial inclu¬sion. According to surveyed members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the main barriers identified for women are financial literacy (75%), collateral require¬ments (66%) and the sociocultural envi¬ronment. Regulatory requirements can prevent women from accessing financial Read More

2014 – IFAD; Strengthening Female Leadership in Farmers’ Groups and Cooperatives; Empowering women for better participation and decision making

Description. The materials contained in the training package will assist the trainer(s) in conducting the female leadership training program. The aim is to strengthen the competencies of existing female leaders, women office bearers and other potential women leaders in leading their respective farmers’ group and cooperative. The training should be able to provide necessary leadership Read More

2021 – USAID Delivering Gender Equality: A Best Practices Framework for Male-Dominated Industries.

USAID increases women’s participation in the global workforce to strengthen economies, fuel economic growth, and catalyze social development. Through its Engendering Utilities program, USAID identified the employee life cycle as a key entry point to effecting long-lasting and impactful change within partner organizations. From attraction and talent outreach to separation and retirement, there are numerous Read More

2017 – The UN Women Gender and Economics Training Manual

Description. The manual introduces participants to economics in general and presents feminist approaches to macroeconomics, microeconomics and international economics. It exposes participants to critical analyses of global and regional economic trends, including those related to economic crises. The manual also enhances the skills of participants in formulating gender-responsive economic policy for program implementation, policymaking, and Read More

2012 – ACDI-VOCA Gender Analysis, Assessment and Audit

Description. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide guidance to ACDI/VOCA staff and consultants on how to conduct gender analysis studies, assessments and audits. It is intended for individuals who are either commissioning or leading the gender study. The toolkit provides useful tools and methods for these studies, and guidance on how to operationalize Read More

2015-FAO-IFAD-Promoting the Leadership of Women in Producers’ Organizations. Lessons from the Experiences of FAO-IFAD.

This paper explores aspects of promoting rural women’s leadership in producers’ organizations (POs). Despite the vast amount of work that women perform in the agriculture sector, their role remains largely unrecognized. The concerns and issues of women farmers are scarcely heard at the local, national, and global levels. One reason for this silence is that Read More

2018-IFAD-How To Do. Design of Gender Transformative Smallholder Agriculture Adaptation Programmes. Gender and Climate Change Adaptation.

This How to Do Note is intended to provide guidance on how to design smallholder agriculture adaptation programs that consider the differential impacts of climate change on women, men and youth smallholder farmers. This includes recognizing program interventions – from design to staffing to capacity development of beneficiaries and local organizations – need to consider Read More

2015-World Bank, Government of Japan and FAO-A Good Practices Brief. The Voluntary Guidelines and The World Bank: Increasing Women’s Access to Land, Approaches that Work.

The brief highlights practical approaches that respond to these themes (policy making, legal issues, land tenure governance, technical issues, and communication strategies) and recommendations to increase women’s access to land from a range of projects. The analysis shows that mainstreaming gender into land programs can be achieved—the case studies presented in the brief predominantly utilize Read More

Root Capital-Applying Gender Lens to Agriculture. Farmers, Leaders and Hidden Influences in the Rural Economy.

“In this issue brief, the authors share the experience of applying a gender lens to work in smallholder agricultural finance. Through the Women in Agriculture Initiative, Root Capital has been able to better understand the areas in which women receive support (as farmers, agro-processing employees, and leaders). This work has also identified new areas for Read More

2020 M.J. Lodiaga. The Cooperative Difference in Kenya.

The paper focuses on assessing the role of co-operative societies in empowering the women and changing the traditional powerbase in societies where they operate. It describes how women owned and managed cooperatives hold potential to empower women and to transform gender relations  as a path to achieving gender-just peace goal. Peace and social well-being are Read More

2018 USAID-Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agriculture Value Chains

This Handbook presents the “Integrating Gender Issues into Agricultural Value Chains” (INGIA-VC) approach. It was developed to bring together concepts from different technical areas in development, specifically gender, agriculture, microenterprise development, and value chains. Written by gender practitioners, it provides readers with an understanding of agricultural value chains from a gender perspective. The Handbook helps Read More

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