The International Cooperative Research Group
Academic Rigor > Local Involvement > Practical Application > Cooperative Excellence

The International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG) partners with local academics and practitioners to carry out rigorous local research that bridges the gap between theory and practice. In the ICRG’s research, learning, and application model, research activity builds trust, ownership and uptake of outcomes through engagement with key local stakeholders. Partnering with cooperative development organizations enhances impact, promotes collaboration and deepens credibility. Partnering with local researchers builds local knowledge which in turn enriches the research and dissemination process.

A Center For Cooperative Research Excellence

Academically rigorous methods addressing gaps in knowledge. Bridging research results into practice.
How It Began
OCDC’s commitment to equitable development provided the impetus to establish The International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG). Our driving force is understanding the conditions in which cooperatives flourish, in order for them to advance the economic and social well-being of their members.
Our Unique Approach
ICRG occupies a special niche in the research space. It combines rigorous methods and diverse strategies for stakeholder engagement, with the intention of fostering and facilitating local ownership and application of the outcomes. Our goal is to produce evidence-backed data to support worldwide cooperative development.
Our Charter, Changing lives
Research, education and dissemination are the three central and mutually reinforcing pillars of CRED. ICRG’s research outcomes are shared widely in different formats with different constituencies, including communities, policy-makers, practitioners and academics, opening the door to learning and adaptation. All of these efforts help shape and improve cooperative development policy and practice. The ICRG is proud to be part of USAID’s Cooperative Development Program.
Changing Lives

Cooperative research, education and dissemination of key ideas, facilities information commingling among cooperative development organizations and other international stakeholders in USAID assisted countries where the Cooperative Development Program is active, amplifying our research outcomes and deepening local uptake of concepts.

Empowering Decision Makers to Better Serve Their Community
“International Cooperative Research Group under OCDC, has undertaken important research which shows cooperative membership greatly economically benefits men and women. However there remains more to be done in enabling these benefits to be more widely shared through greater cooperative membership … I hope these findings would spur further debate on the role played by women in cooperatives. My department will endeavor to support activities geared towards improving the cooperative sector by increasing the involvement of women as members and leaders.” – Mr. Ali Noor Ismail – Global Evidence Summit, 2019

Kenya Principal Secretary | Mr. Ali Noor Ismail

Dr. Judith Hermanson
Research Director, ICRG
Judith Hermanson is the Research Director of OCDC, an association of cooperative development organizations where she previously served on the Board and twice as its Chair. As Research Director, she leads OCDC’s research activities that seek to develop evidence about the effectiveness of the cooperative development business model and to enhance learning to improve program design and impact…Read More
Barbara Czachorska-Jones
Learning and Training Manager at the ICRG
Before she joined Global Communities in the early 1990s, Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones pursued a legal career in Poland, receiving her doctorate degree in law from the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In her various senior positions at Global Communities, she has managed cooperative housing and development projects focusing on cooperatives in the Philippines, South Africa, Bosnia, Poland, Mongolia and Rwanda…Read More
Leah Marie Lucas
Research Manager
Leah Marie Lucas is committed to tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, with innovative and scalable solutions that work. Throughout her career, she has combined a deep understanding of local realities with global relationships and finance to transform needs into opportunities. She is experienced in bringing together diverse stakeholders and brokering win-win partnerships that support progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals…Read More
Meghan Fitzgerald
Senior Researcher
Meghan R. Fitzgerald is a social science researcher with international experience in the Arab world, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Fitzgerald holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy and an MPH in Global Health from Oregon State University, where she focused on the impact of the Israeli occupation on intimate partner violence and access to services among women in Palestine…Read More
Nicholas Hung
Research Assistant
Nicholas Hung is the Research Assistant at the US OCDC & The ICRG where he provides qualitative and quantitative analysis for the Group’s research and various projects. Nicholas received his Bachelors in Psychology and Political Science from Occidental College and his Masters in International Economics and China Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies…Read More
Collaboration: Designed to Promote Partnerships
Internationally recognized scholars in the field of cooperatives contribute to the Research Goup’s study methodology, research reports, learning events and research fora. With their time, talent and networks, our Research Advisory Committee increases our impact.

Head of Research, the Cooperative College

Robert D. Patridge Chair
Department of Agricultural
Economics – University of Missouri
Academic Director, Sobey School of Business Saint Mary’s University.
Courageous Research
Bruno Roelants – Evidence Summit May, 2021
“One of the reasons we’d like to place specific attention on this study is methodological … On behalf of The International Cooperative Alliance, we strongly welcome the study, WDDCM?” – Bruno Roelants, Director General, International Cooperative Alliance

Our Initiatives | The ICRG Program of Work

 Four Cooperative Research & Learning Themes

Within these four themes, the ICRG is currently implementing 15 separate initiatives. These explore the themes through topics that include:
  • Climate Change
  • Economic Performance
  • Economic & Social Impacts
  • Social Networks
  • Technology
  • Health and
  • Migration
Cross-cutting themes include gender, governance, and/or youth.
Geographic areas of activity are currently Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
The ICRG recently completed a major multi-country study, What Difference Do Cooperatives Make? The study was carried out in Kenya, Peru, Philippines, and Poland, revealing a strikingly similar pattern of findings that show a measurable economic, social and community difference for members of cooperatives as compared to non-members.
Made Possible With Collaboration
Local ownership and locally lead development result in amplified outcomes for the Research Group.
The Personal Stories Behind The Numbers
We look deeper into the impacts cooperatives make on livelihoods, social well-being and economic well-being of cooperative members.
Evidence-backed data-sharing
to support worldwide
cooperative development.

Inclusive, transparent and participatory. This approach builds trust and credibility while empowering decision-makers with access to data leading to uptake of findings which strengthens cooperative development.

Ten Cooperative Development Organizations (CDOs) are members of OCDC. Each organization, including ICRG, implements activity under USAID’s Cooperative Development Program. Cooperative Development Program (CDP) activities span 13 countries, thousands of cooperatives, and hundreds of thousands of cooperative members. The projects involve value chains that range from agriculture, coffee, fisheries, and credit unions and address topics from gender equality, supply chain stabilization, COVID-19 response, and job creation. This map shows CDP activities and impacts by CDO and by country. Explore the breadth and depth of the CDP impact using the interactive features of this map.




A resource portal and learning platform designed to grow your understanding of international cooperative development. We hope they’ll meet your needs as practitioners at the forefront of the cooperative movement. Please visit as long as you like and then come back soon! We hope this information generates more discussion within your own organizations, communities of practice, and beyond. The ICRG would be happy to provide more information about any of the included resources – feel free to contact us at!
E-Learning Portal
An info repository to support remote management & collaboration
The-Hub Portal
A collection of assets curated to inform the success of your cooperative.
Annual Learning Event
These event materials were developed around the USAID Climate Strategy.

Related posts from the icrg

This pilot project is testing the concept of using geospatial data to determine patterns and determinants of cooperative business performance to better understand the performance of primary cooperative societies and improve decision-making. GIS and field-based survey data are analyzed concurrently, and then compared to data obtained during previous ICRG research.
Exploring New Technologies and Opportunities for Cooperative Efficiency and Innovation
Other Major Activities
Incubate new research areas of interest
Continued WDDCM dissemination program using diverse media and fora
Foster and strengthen international cooperative development community of practice
Hold learning events, host information exchanges, convene research forums and policy roundtables to engage stakeholders and to disseminate research findings
Develop tools to bridge research to application
Present research and related products at international meetings and conferences
Develop robust research partnerships
Provide an interactive and robust knowledge platform to inform and support international cooperative development practitioners, cooperatives and their leaders, donors and local and national policy-makers.
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