Trust – Leading Locally, The Cooperative Way

Part 3: The Application Process And Beyond

FECOPROD is a strong, well-known local organization in Paraguay, but before receiving the IVC cooperative agreement, the team had never worked with USAID and had little experience working with international donors. However, FECOPROD met all the criteria set by USAID in the request for applications. They were local, underutilized, had a personal interest in developing their communities and the FECOPROD team presented an approach that was based on empowering local stakeholders. 

Another important enabler was FECOPROD’s strong commitment to strengthening cooperative organizations and increasing their economic opportunities. FECOPROD’s mission aligns directly with the project’s goals and as Paraguay’s largest federation of cooperatives, their ongoing work guaranteed the sustainability of reforms beyond the project’s completion date. 

The FECOPROD team used their historical knowledge and experience of strengthening local communities to complete the application for the IVC cooperative agreement. The IVC project was modeled around FECOPROD’s approach to achieve the main goal of building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between larger, established cooperatives, and smaller cooperatives. 

The partnership that ensued with USAID/Paraguay increased the team’s knowledge and capability to submit applications to other international organizations to implement more locally led projects in Paraguay. This significantly impacted FECOPROD’s growth, leading to the addition of more technical and administrative staff. This also included adding more FECOPROD team members working in local communities, supporting local development. 

Lessons Learned

The IVC cooperative agreement was an important validation of FECOPROD’s goals and contributed to the hard work and commitment of FECOPROD’s overall mission to empower local communities. Implementing this project also empowered and grew the FECOPROD team’s knowledge, learning how to adjust and improve their methodologies and processes to improve local development. 

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