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In Poland, a cooperative member stands outside a housing cooperative supported by USAID in the 1990s.
Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC)

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.

Through USAID's Cooperative Development Program (CDP), the International Cooperative Research Group at the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) has conducted research in Poland, the Philippines, Kenya and Peru to answer the question: what difference do cooperatives make? 

In Poland, the answer is: quite a lot. The study in Poland found that of the 2,000 cooperative members, 83% stated that cooperative membership had positively affected their economic position. This was reflected in other data, as well. When compared with national averages, the incomes of cooperative members were significantly higher than non-members  And the benefits were not just economic, either. 54% of respondents reported having greater social capital and a more robust sense of belonging to their communities as a result of their membership. The impact of cooperatives is also enduring. OCDC conducted research on the  legacy of cooperatives that USAID supported in Poland during the 1990s. Many of the Polish cooperatives that USAID assisted are still operational, and members attribute their success to the financial and technical assistance provided by USAID. These partnerships also led to the creation of democratic, market-based institutions that are still actively developing their communities and local economies today. Learn more about cooperative research.

Last updated: March 04, 2021

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