Resilience and Crisis Recovery – Leading Locally, the Cooperative Way

Part 1: Innovative shock-responsive program directly funds cooperatives’ recovery and growth

Cooperatives in Morocco + USAID

Cooperatives play a vital role in Morocco’s national economic and social development, and the fight against poverty. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of Morocco’s 28,000 cooperatives and micro-initiatives halted or slowed their income-generating activities, affecting close to 600,000 members and employees. Furthermore, due to the economic downturn and recent severe droughts, cooperatives operating in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, handicrafts, and other services experienced difficult financial circumstances. USAID/Morocco launched discussions with the Government of Morocco to learn how best to support recovery efforts from the economic crisis.

Innovation and Adaptation for Resilience 

Together with partner GiveDirectly, the USAID team developed a new concept of cash grants to support small and medium cooperatives, especially for rural and women-led groups. In July 2021, USAID and GiveDirectly formally launched the Cooperative Financing Program (CFP) in collaboration with local Government of Morocco partners such as the Ministry of Interior’s National Initiative of Human Development and local authorities. The decision to shift from the cash to individuals model toward cash to groups was based on longstanding evidence that locally led cooperatives are more resilient to economic downturns. This is fostered by cooperatives’ deep understanding of local needs which allows them to adapt quickly and effectively. The community-centric, democratic, and inclusive cooperative culture and identity serve as highly effective vehicles for locally led development initiatives.

In addition to providing critical cash infusion to help cooperatives get back on their feet, this effort empowered local people and institutions to be directly involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of their own development. 

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