Global Programs

NCBA CLUSA launches new project in Madagascar under USAID’s Cooperative Development Program


NCBA CLUSA will implement the five-year project in Madagascar, Kenya, Guatemala and Peru. [photo: Madagascar’s Ministry of Industrialization and Commerce]
On January 18, 2024 cooperative leaders and developers, public officials, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Madagascar representatives and NCBA CLUSA staff officially launched a new USAID Cooperative Development Program (CDP) project in Madagascar. This five-year project, called Cooperative Ecosystem and Social Inclusion (CESI) will be implemented in Madagascar, Kenya, Guatemala and Peru from October 2023 to September 2028.

CDP/CESI builds upon NCBA CLUSA’s previous CDP project, Creating an Environment for Cooperative Expansion (CECE). One of the main achievements of CDP/CECE was the passage of a new co-op law after years of advocacy work. Toky Rasoanindrainy, coordinator of NCBA CLUSA’s CECE project, emphasized the importance of involving all stakeholders during the development of this new law. He added that the organization of annual cooperative forums attended by more than 100 cooperative leaders created a platform to share good practices, such as promoting gender equity and business development.

CDP/CESI has three main objectives, to: 1) further strengthen cooperatives’ capacity, 2) advance cooperative enabling environments, and 3) spur the application of CDP learning and tools within the development community. NCBA CLUSA will focus on two key strategies to advance these objectives: strengthening the capacity of key ecosystem actors to provide quality services to co-ops, and including more women and youth in cooperative membership and leadership.

In Madagascar, CDP/CESI’s main activities include organizing high-tier co-ops into federations and confederations of cooperatives, taking advantage of the opportunities for cooperative organization under the new law. NCBA CLUSA will also help the University of Antananarivo establish a training program specialized in entrepreneurship and the co-op model. CDP/CESI will provide tailored coaching to 10 cooperatives, including four unions, via local organizations such as ONI Co-op, a CDP/CECE and CDP/CESI subawardee.

ONI Co-op Vice President Haja Rasamimanana noted that as a subawardee of CDP/CECE, the co-op “benefited from trainings on tools like WIELCOOP developed by NCBA CLUSA.” WIELCOOP, an acronym for Women’s Inclusion, Empowerment and Leadership in Cooperatives, is a guide to gender equity within cooperatives. These tools will continue to promote women’s engagement within their co-ops under the new CDP project. Fanja Raharimanana, ONI’s Secretary, said a study tour in Germany under CDP/CECE was instrumental in providing guidance on co-op business sustainability. The tour demonstrated the “importance of cooperatives benefiting from support services provided by apex organizations in order to ensure long-term success,” Raharimanana added.

The launch event included co-op leaders and developers, public officials, USAID Madagascar representatives and NCBA CLUSA staff. [photo: Madagascar’s Ministry of Industrialization and Commerce]

Tokinirina Fanomezantsoa, president of the dairy cooperative Toky PRN, provided a testimony of the impact of this coaching. “We cannot say that we were a cooperative before NCBA CLUSA support. Once we benefited from coaching activities, we started to collect milk from members. We began with three liters of milk a day… but nowadays, the cooperative sells 120 liters of milk collected from members per day.”

Irene Andriamaneho, director of the Promotion of Entrepreneurship within Madagascar’s Ministry of Industrialization and Commerce, noted the impact co-ops can have in their communities. “For developed countries [referring to the study tour in Germany], cooperatives are major players to fight poverty and for inclusive and sustainable development.” She added that the Ministry is investing in this potential in Madagascar. “Last year the Ministry distributed small scale processing units and cooperatives were privileged recipients of those units.” Andriamaneho also emphasized the importance of staff training on tools developed by NCBA CLUSA, and the need to develop resources to promote and apply the new co-op law.”

Benjamin Skolnik, director of USAID Madagascar’s Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (SEED) Office, stressed the value of the cooperative model beyond agriculture. “Cooperatives are truly the backbone of USAID’s environment and agriculture activities here in Madagascar.  Participating in cooperatives improves the economic well-being of members and their families, thereby improving the resilience of entire communities while reducing pressure on Madagascar’s high-value fauna and flora biodiversity.”

“NCBA CLUSA is committed in Madagascar in the coming years to drive cooperative development through CDP/CESI and through partnerships with other USAID activities or other donor interventions,” said Abel Rakotonirainy, NCBA CLUSA’s Country Representative in Madagascar.

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