Global Programs

NCBA CLUSA launches new project funded by USAID’s Cooperative Development Program in Guatemala and Peru


Leveraging the past successes of NCBA CLUSA’s Creating an Environment for Cooperative Expansion (CECE) project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP), NCBA CLUSA has started a new five-year CDP-funded project in Madagascar, Kenya, Guatemala and Peru.

On February 22, NCBA CLUSA hosted an online event to officially launch the Cooperative Ecosystem and Social Inclusion (CESI) project in Guatemala and Peru, after in-person launches in Madagascar and Kenya. The event was attended by key organizations and leaders of the cooperative sector in Guatemala and Peru, local partners and USAID authorities.

Emily Varga, USAID Senior Advisor for Cooperative Development, reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to strengthening the cooperative sector through its Cooperative Development Program. She emphasized the achievement of the CDP Program in supporting more than 10,000 cooperatives in 35 countries, prioritizing inclusive economic growth by breaking down cultural, social and structural barriers that empower women, youth and marginalized communities.

Gerson Morales, an Agriculture Project Specialist at USAID Guatemala’s Office of Economic Growth at Feed the Future, stressed that cooperatives are an economic axis for community development. As such, CESI will work closely with women, youth and indigenous people and key cooperative stakeholders to promote their inclusion and empowerment through the cooperative model, delivering sustainable results for their communities.

Mark Gizzi, Director of USAID Peru’s Office of Sustainable Development, highlighted the coordination mechanism developed by NCBA CLUSA to work with various USAID partners and stakeholders within the coffee and cocoa value chains in Peru. He also congratulated NCBA CLUSA for promoting inclusive work with youth, women and indigenous populations, and underscored the need to strengthen and expand cooperative businesses—especially given that 70 percent of producers in Peru work independently.

NCBA CLUSA Program Manager Jasmine Mesidor highlighted that cooperatives are democratic, trustworthy local institutions that provide value to members and contribute to the social and economic development of communities. She explained CESI’s three key objectives: 1) further strengthen co-ops’ capacity, 2) advance cooperative enabling environments, and 3) spur the application of CDP learnings and tools within the development community. By strengthening the cooperative ecosystem and advancing social inclusion among women, youth and indigenous peoples, CESI is poised for greater and more sustainable impact.

CDP/CESI Guatemala Director Juan Carlos Marenco and CDP/CESI Peru Director Carmen Rosa Chávez spearheaded a transformative initiative focused on bolstering second-tier cooperatives and networks of cooperatives. Marenco underscored the critical role of leveraging remittances for productive purposes, particularly in agricultural endeavors, thus enhancing the cooperative ecosystem and fostering social inclusion. Chávez emphasized the importance of empowering local partners to adapt to market dynamics and environmental shifts. She championed initiatives that facilitate access to essential information and knowledge through online platforms like the Cooperative Business School (CBS); and tools such as the Women’s Inclusion, Empowerment and Leadership in Cooperatives (WIELCOOP) guide, Diagnostic and Monitoring of Organizations’ Capacity (DMOC), and Cooperative Law and Regulation Initiative (CLARITY)—crucial components of achieving the core objectives of the CESI project. Furthermore, Leonorilda Coc, Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist for NCBA CLUSA Guatemala, outlined a comprehensive strategy to promote gender equity and social inclusion in the country.

William Oria, Director of Cooperatives and Institutions in Peru’s Ministry of Production, and Cesar Quispe, Chair of the Board of Directors of Agrobanco, highlighted  the importance  of  facilitating capacity development for cooperatives—particularly around governance, accounting and financial issues. Julio Arias, Executive Director of CONFENACOOP, the co-op apex organization in Peru, stressed the need to promote cooperatives of women and youth, and the vital importance of cooperative education, training and information.

From Guatemala, Cándida Amézquita, representing the Cooperativa El Migrante de Guatemala (COMIGUA), and Belén Cárdena, the President of the National Committee of Women Cooperatives, urged CESI to focus their interventions on women, youth, indigenous populations and returnees, for these groups to effectively manage their resources and continue their personal development, aligning with the philosophy of Utz K’aslemal, which emphasizes “Good Living.” While José Luis Navarro, the General Manager of INACOP, stressed the importance of strengthening institutional frameworks, as key components of cooperative ecosystems, and praised NCBA CLUSA’s DMOC diagnostic tool and its support to new cooperative networks in Guatemala.

The evolution of the Cooperative Business School (CBS) under CECE—from its launch in Peru during Covid-19 and expansion to Guatemala and the U.S., to its future in Kenya and Madagascar under CESI—was explained by Andrea Quispe, CBS Coordinator in Peru. CBS events, courses and other resources have already directly benefited more than 15,000 individuals from 11 countries. The presentation concluded with an introduction to the revamped CBS platform, showcasing features like self-diagnostic tools, new resources and an events calendar. Kennedy Monzón, the Developer of the CBS platform, provided insights into the platform’s growth trajectory, its services and resources, and how digital data and data analytics can be used to further CBS’ demand-based approach.

Hosted by Manuel Contreras, the CBS Local Coordinator in Guatemala, the launch event drew 120 attendees. Through the strategies and activities outlined during the event, CESI’s objective is to foster the development and promotion of the cooperative sector in these two countries in Latin America, in addition to Madagascar and Kenya. Additionally, the project aims to generate impacts that empower young people, women and indigenous peoples, contributing to broader sustainable economic and social development.

Share This Post

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, we would love it if you would share it to your social networks!