Investing in cooperatives and credit unions around the world to build social cohesion, stabilize economies, and support local communities.
The Cooperative Development Program (CDP) is a global initiative that is strengthening the capacity of cooperative businesses, credit unions and cooperative ecosystems. USAID supports overseas cooperative development through partnerships with U.S.-based cooperative development organizations (CDOs).
Cooperatives are a force for sustainable and inclusive development. Globally, there are more than three million cooperatives and credit unions, representing more than one billion members.
Cooperatives are jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises. As businesses, they operate to advance the shared economic, social and cultural needs of their members. Learn more about what sets cooperatives apart.
Who We Work With
U.S.-BASED COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
The CDP currently works with 11 partners:
- Equal Exchange
- Global Communities
- National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA)
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International
- U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC)
- Land O’Lakes Venture37
- World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)
USAID Missions and Operating Units (OUs) interested in strengthening cooperatives or improving cooperative enabling environments can access the CDP Annual Program Statement (APS) mechanism here. OUs seeking to use the APS should contact email@example.com.
Who’s eligible? The CDP APS is for:
- A U.S. cooperative or an organization with substantial membership and/or financial links to recognized U.S. cooperatives and/or their associations; and
- A demonstrated track record of not less than five years in the planning, management, monitoring, and evaluation of overseas cooperative development programs.
Where We Work
How the Program Works
With support from the CDP, U.S.-based cooperative development organizations support and invest in cooperatives around the world. The CDP aims to be a demand-driven and iterative initiative supporting cooperatives in the sectors of agriculture, finance, health, energy, and information technology.
CDP partners are strengthening cooperative businesses and credit unions abroad in several ways, including: governance, member equity and capitalization, financial management, market performance, legal and regulatory reform, gender inclusion, and youth engagement.
The CDP also fosters collaboration among partners in the program through technical working groups, joint cooperative research, co-designed learning agendas, and dissemination of cooperative development resources through global networks.
Since 2001, the CDP has strengthened more than 10,000 cooperatives and credit unions in more than 35 countries across Africa, Latin America, and Asia - representing more than one million households.
The CDP has leveraged more than $150 million from U.S. and local private sector partners and proposed 42 new cooperative laws and regulations.
Learn more about CDP’s outcomes in the 2022 Annual Report.
Stories from the Field
Peru: Supporting Lives and Livelihoods in Agricultural Cooperatives
In Peru, international buyers reduced cacao purchases from cooperatives because they struggled to achieve the quality and volume standards required for export. Faced with a decrease in overseas sales, cacao cooperatives were tempted to diversify into illicit crops.
Haiti: Powering the Country through Rural Electric Cooperatives
Electricity is essential to development, but reaching rural areas is often a challenge. In southwest Haiti, three local communities identified a shared need for a reliable energy source to sustain their livelihoods.
South Africa: Leveraging Investments in the Agricultural Sector
Challenged by market risk and volatile returns, South Africa struggled to increase investment in the agricultural sector, where more than 2 million smallholder farmers needed adequate financial resources to sustain their livelihoods.
Uganda: Reaching Remote Communities through Health Cooperatives
In Uganda, rural community members would often go into debt for obtaining routine healthcare. Not only were these medical services extremely expensive, they were often of poor quality.
Global: Examining the Impact of Cooperatives and Credit Unions
Cross-cutting research on cooperatives and credit unions has the power to unlock practical solutions to the challenges faced by cooperative businesses around the world. It can also help build a strong evidence base for the cooperative model and fill critical gaps in knowledge, improving cooperative development programming at all levels.
News and Updates
To learn more about the Cooperative Development program and other locally led development work at USAID, subscribe to our monthly newsletter which features program updates, resources, events, and more.