Sustainable Self-Reliant


About the CDP

USAID’s Cooperative Development Program and OCDC have fostered cooperatives as viable and sustainable approach for building self-reliant communities in developing countries


OCDC members carry out the largest portfolio of cooperative development programs in the world, building local institutions driven by local needs


The CDP is the only program within USAID that focuses on cooperatives, and it powers OCDC’s members activities in developing countries


Since 1961, the CDP and OCDC have supported co-ops serving 130 million people, lifting them from poverty, building a more prosperous world

Why Cooperatives? CDP Reports & Papers
Cooperatives Building A More Prosperous, Democratic And Inclusive World

Paul Hazen | Executive Director OCDC

U.S. cooperative development assistance has helped advance cooperatives that serve millions across the globe. These papers provide evidence that greater U.S. investment in cooperative development will:

  • Create jobs and economic growth in low to middle income countries and the United States
  • Encourage further democratization across the globe
  • Foster social inclusion of women, youth and indigenous people
  • Have a large-scale impact reaching millions of people
  • Result in trust, sustainability and growth
Global Study. What Difference Do Cooperatives Make?
Dr. Judith Hermanson | Research Director, ICRG

The “What Difference Do Cooperatives Make?” (WDDCM) global study took place from 2017- 2020 in Poland, Kenya, the Philippines and Peru. Results demonstrate a common economic “cooperative difference” as measured by data on earnings, and a social “cooperative difference” as measured by key well-being indicators. 

The research compares the views and circumstances of representative samples of cooperative members with a comparison group of non-cooperative members in each country.

CDP Evaluation. The Cooperative Development Program

Paul Hazen | Executive Director, OCDC

Evaluation findings of the USAID Cooperative Development Program (CDP) find that is has successfully advanced larger USAID objectives and strategic priority areas, including economic growth and trade; global health; democracy, human rights and governance; and pubic-private partnerships. CDP successes were due to staff commitment by implementers, program flexibility and partnerships that developed. Further, CDP adds considerable value to program stakeholders to to its flexibility and emphasis on experimentation.

supported by research

Economically, cooperative members are more likely than the population in general to have average or above average incomes and are less likely to be poor or very poor.
Holistically, cooperative members enjoy a better sense of overall well-being, financial security, and trust in their community than non-members. During times of need, cooperative members have improved access to social support systems and other resources that support their resilience and ability to weather adverse events.
Women members gain independence and agency from cooperative membership. Cooperatives offer training, support, and leadership opportunities to women, with wide reaching impacts on their well-being.



Report cooperative membership has positively affected their economic position


Report they have received both economic and social benefit from cooperative memberships


Report earning above-average income compared to the general public.

Committed to building a more just and prosperous world through cooperatives.

OCDC brings together 10 organizations committed to building a more prosperous world through cooperatives. Its mission is to champion, advocate and promote effective international cooperative development.

Why cooperatives?

In 1962, the U.S Agency for International Development undertook a study of cooperative development. From that study came a committee of U.S. cooperative organizations.

our vision

OCDC envisions a world where people in all countries have the opportunity to work together through cooperatives to create a better life for themselves and their communities.

our mission

The mission of OCDC is to champion, advocate and promote effective international cooperative development to build stable, scalable self-reliant communities.

The Cooperative Difference

September 27, 2021

Meet Elpido – cocoa farmer from Peru. Convinced a cooperative to support him and other local farmers to produce white cocoa; helped the whole community benefit from demand for, and popularity of this specialty product.

October 21, 2021

Meet Denis and Dominika – manager and member of consumer cooperative from Warsaw, Poland. By working for DOBRZE, they strive to make their store attractive to young residents of the city and promote ideas important to them and to other members: healthy organic food produced with concern for the environment, healthy lifestyle, fair treatment and good business relations with farmers and suppliers from rural areas adjacent to the city.

October 27, 2021

Meet Úrsula– a coffee farmer from Sapse, Huancabamba, in Piura region of Peru. Ursula is the second generation of members in Norandino Cooperative which helped her learn how to handle coffee to get the most in quantity and quality. Under the cooperative umbrella producers like Úrsula are now active and respected agents for sustainable development in their region.

People Helping People/Academic Rigor

Meet Paul Hazen & Expert panel shares deep Co-op insights

2020 Resilience Event
Hear from OCDC staff and members as they speak about cooperatives and why policy makers should be taking note of a mechanism like cooperatives which are inherently democratic, locally led and have the ability to scale-up and provide inclusive growth.
The Cooperative Difference
Learn about the cooperative difference through global cooperative members like Equal Exchange, Global Communities, Saint Mary’s SOBEY School of Business, The World Council of Credit Unions and OCDC’s research arm, the International Cooperative Research Group.

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