The U.S House of Representatives Appropriations Committee recently approved the FY 2020 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill, increasing annual funding for the Cooperative Development Program (CDP) to $14.5 million, a $2.5 million increase from the last spending bill.
Through the CDP, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports cooperative development programs and projects overseas implemented by U.S. cooperative organizations. The CDP is a competitive-grants program that responds to the needs of local cooperatives and other group-based businesses by drawing on the expertise and resources of long-established U.S. cooperative organizations, their members and volunteers. In the 10 current grants, the program focuses on developing, implementing and extending workable, sustainable solutions to key development challenges and opportunities in 14 countries.
The CDP supports cooperatives that build open markets and provide community-based jobs that help alleviate poverty by bringing minorities, women and the poor into the mainstream economy. The program has fostered cooperatives as a viable, sustainable approach for building self-reliant communities in developing countries.
“The CDP is the only federal program that is exclusively focused on cooperatives in the developing world,” said Scott Aebischer, board chair of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC). “OCDC’s member organizations, being long-time partners of USAID, are uniquely positioned to expand and strengthen the role of this inclusive private business model as part of the U.S. foreign assistance program, giving millions of otherwise marginalized people the opportunity to own a piece of economic prosperity and join the mainstream of economic and social development.”
Aebischer added, “We appreciate that Congress recognizes the important economic role that cooperatives and credit unions have played in U.S. society and its economic development as a nation. We look forward to expanding this program in the future, helping to assure that the benefits of the cooperative business model can be realized throughout the developing world.”
—NCBA CLUSA is a member of OCDC, along with Equal Exchange, GENEX, Global Communities, HealthPartners, Land O’Lakes International Development, NRECA International and the World Council of Credit Unions.