The U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council’s new policy paper takes a fresh look at the solutions that cooperatives bring to the critical challenges of our time. The paper, Cooperatives: Building a More Prosperous, Democratic, and Inclusive World, shows how cooperatives provide viable livelihoods, promote democratic principles, and foster inclusion of marginalized groups. It is replete with practical examples of how U.S. cooperative development organizations presently carry out programs in some of the most challenging development situations across the globe.
The paper asserts that there has never been a better time to increase U.S. investment in cooperative development. The importance of democratization is front and center as the world watches Ukrainians defend their democracy, and other democracies struggle to maintain their gains around the world. Cooperatives support democracy by providing first-hand lessons in democratic governance, transparency and member participation that can be replicated in the broader society. But they also operate effectively across the spectrum of development needs. Cooperatives help members economically by improving incomes and creating value and investment opportunities along product supply chains; and socially by increasing trust, more fully tapping the potential of women and youth, and helping achieve stability in the face of conflict.