Virtual Learning – scaling capacity of international teams to close skill gaps and better coordinate over remote platforms.

Annual Learning Event. OCDC’s International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG) adapted its in-person Annual Learning Event to a three-day virtual conference. The 2020 Learning Event aimed to strengthen the OCDC CDO community while providing a space for participants to collaborate in small groups on critical topics related to the success of cooperatives, including gender and business resiliency. On the first day of the Learning Event, CDO members focused on the silent pandemic – the exacerbated rate of gender-based violence occurring during COVID-19. Fredrick Nyagah, Global Communities, discussed the CLEAR program pivot to preventative training and resources to address GBV during the pandemic. Elizabeth Salazar, NCBA CLUSA, shared the Cooperative Expansion Project’s study findings on key barriers to women’s participation, leadership and inclusion.

On day two, Susy Cheston, WOCCU, opened learning session by sharing a framework that WOCCU is developing and asked attendees to apply it to cooperatives or apex organizations. Cheston discussed its evolution and posited questions around both resilience and high performance. Julia Baumgartner, Equal Exchange, followed with a presentation on applying WOCCU’s framework to their partner cooperatives, Norandino, a cacao cooperative in Peru. The final day was spent on reflection of resilience and networking among members.

E-Learning and Training. The Remote Skills Development Training series was launched by the US Overseas Cooperative Development Council’s (OCDC) International Cooperative Research Group through the USAID-funded Cooperative Research, Education & Dissemination (CRED) initiative. The training was provided to support cooperatives during the COVID-19 global public health pandemic with remote management and collaboration tools, techniques, and strategies. As a result of prior evaluation, the Remote Skills Development training series was created to address members’ needs for further hands-on training on specific communication platforms and consisted of two complementary yet independent workshops. The learning goals of the remote skills development program were to provide OCDC member organizations with new knowledge and skills to work more effectively with specific communication platforms including ZOOM and WHATSAPP.