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International Development


Summer 2013

Canadian Co-operative association

Joining the Struggle for Food Security in Rwanda R

wanda is a study in contrasts. It is a tiny jewel of a nation, sitting just south of the equator in East-Central Africa. It is a beautiful land of green rolling hills covered with agricultural terraces. It is famous as the home to some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, and it is remarkably clean and tidy—plastic bags are illegal. But Rwanda also evokes images of civil war and genocide— a conflict that took as many as a million lives nearly 20 years ago. Today Rwanda is locked in a different sort of struggle—the struggle to grow enough food to feed its people. The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has joined

that struggle with a major new program, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), that will help more than 20,000 farm families improve their own nutrition, and improve food security in their communities. Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa with more than 1,000 people per square kilometre. By contrast, Canada averages just nine. These days, almost every available acre is being farmed. This is a hilly country, and terraces have been built to allow cultivation of steep slopes. Wetlands that were once papyrus swamps are being steadily converted into

Celestin Utazirubanda, member of IABM co-operative in Rwanda with maize crop ready for harvest. (photo: Alison Payne) rice paddies. Other valley land is devoted to corn or soybean. In spite of those efforts, Rwanda’s food security situation could still be described as precarious. According to a study done last year by the UN’s World Food Program and the Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture, more than half of the households in Rwanda found themselves short of food at some point during the year. Seventeen per cent of households had at least one acute food shortage and fourteen per cent of the population is chronically short of food, facing a daily struggle to get enough to eat. Another disturbing statistic suggests that more than half of the children Continued on next page

Preserving Ethiopia’s breadbasket for future generations

In This Issue… Local Food Works as an Effective Anti-Poverty Tactic in Africa CCA help Colombia: Co-ops women acquire new skills and perspectives

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Malawi: Friends in Hard times


Putting Partnership CCA to the Test ACC


Long road to recovery leaves credit unions and communities stronger


Our projects


CDF “Build CCAa Better World Campaign”


Commentary 16


The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is partnering with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help small landholder farmers in Ethiopia better cope with climate change. The Amhara region of northern Ethiopia provides much of the nation’s food needs. Deforestation, declining rainfall and unsustainable farming practices are contributing to environmental degradation in this sensitive region. CCA will work with two local natural resource associations, Ethio-Wetlands Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) and Self Help Africa (SHA) to help 12,000 farmers learn environmentally friendly techniques to increase their economic, social and ecological resilience to climate change.

“Climate change is a critical issue in Ethiopia,” says CCA Senior Director, International Development Jo-Anne Ferguson. “Farmer co-operatives are natural avenues for introducing important new knowledge and practices that help these and other vulnerable rural communities adapt to climate changes and protect and improve their livelihoods.” Farmers will be introduced to drought resistant seeds, people powered irrigation pumps, tree planting, minimum tillage practices and other conservation farming techniques that restore forests and grasslands by conserving water resources, preserving soil fertility and preventing soil erosion. The fifteen-month project will also strengthen the capacity of farmer owned co-operative enterprises to stabilize and improve farmer livelihoods by improving the production, storage and marketing of vegetables, ground nut, linseed, and garlic that they grow and by linking farmers to sources of needed credit.

Rwanda (Continued from cover)

under the age of five have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. The study also found that the people who grow food are far more likely to go hungry than their urban counterparts. In fact, the more remote the location, the more likely people are to be short of food. CCA’s efforts are focused on small scale rural producers. Farmers are encouraged to meet household consumption first through rice, maize and vegetable production, securing a good supply of nutritious staples. The remaining food is sold through co-operatives, increasing the availability of food for other households in the area and providing cash income to farmers. Rural families are also encouraged to raise goats for milk and meat and to contribute organic inputs for crop production. CCA’s first efforts in Rwanda started in 2008. Working with UGAMA, a training and development organization that specializes in co-operatives, CCA launched a small project with three co-operatives producing rice, maize (corn), soybeans and cassava— a starchy root crop. It was mostly simple agronomy—better seeds, fertilizer, and storage, but it met with startling success. Farmers reported dramatic yield increases— as much as 600 per cent. Diogène Nyandwi’s experience is fairly typical. For the 35-year-old rice farmer, the project made a huge difference. “Thanks to the trainings in farming techniques that I received from UGAMA, my yields increased from three tons to seven tons per hectare. Because of high production and access to a good and stable market, I was able to build a house and get married. If the co-operative didn’t come along, I could have been poor.” Maize producer Joséphine Kayisharaza credits access to drying equipment, acquired by her co-operative through the project, with improving her returns from farming. In Rwanda, as in many other countries in the South, nearly 25 per cent of staple crops, including rice, maize and soybeans, are lost to spoilage. By drying production to a level where food crops can be safely stored, and by providing proper storage, they will last for months or even years. “In my zone, we had a big problem with the drying of production,” says Josephine, “ but now

the project is building extra drying facilities at the co-operative level which will prevent the loss of production and environmental waste.” Based on the success of that effort, and with the financial support of CIDA’s Partnerships with Canadians Branch, CCA has scaled up its efforts in Rwanda. This time it is a five-year project, worth $4.5 million. Of that, $800,000 will be contributed by Canadian donors through the Co-operative Development Foundation. UGAMA continues to be a key local partner, and a new partner, the Rwandan Centre for Co-operative Research and Training, has been added. The project is working with 15 co-operatives serving farmers growing rice, maize, cassava, soybeans and vegetables. Less than a year into the project, one new rice mill and a new maize mill and dryer have been completed. Farmers are receiving training in better production techniques, and they are accessing fertilizer and good seed through their co-operatives. According to CCA’s Rwanda-based project manager, Fresnel Devalon, the project is designed to meet three objectives. The first is to improve nutrition and food for rural farm families by helping them to produce more and better food. The second is to strengthen the ability of those families to purchase the food that they cannot produce by improving their incomes. As a result of the project, those families will have surplus food, and through co-operatives they will have better access to the marketplace. The third objective addresses the broader issue of resilience. One definition of poverty is the inability to withstand the ups and downs of normal life. Where food security in Rwanda is concerned, resilience could be defined as the ability to continue to feed the population in spite of the inevitable droughts or floods that affect production— natural events that are on the rise with climate change. Through better cultivation techniques, small-scale irrigation, natural resource management and drying and storage facilities, co-operatives will help to provide a buffer against bad growing conditions. Where food security is concerned, Rwanda’s challenges are considerable. By empowering co-operatives to manage the most productive land, to maximize production and to ensure

that as much food as possible reaches the market, Rwanda seems headed in the right direction. And CCA is happy to be along on that exciting journey.

Local Food Works as an Effective Anti-Poverty Tactic in Africa A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute has found that increasing the production of staple food crops is a more effective strategy in reducing poverty than increasing the production of cash crops for export sale. The study looked at eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa and found that investments in agriculture are the most effective way to reduce poverty. It found that in every case, producing food for local consumption is three to four times more effective in reducing poverty than the production of cash crops— coffee, tea, tobacco, cut flowers—for export. Even livestock production for local use was found to be a better poverty-reduction investment than cash crops. The study did not attempt to measure the non-economic benefits associated with improved food security— better health and nutrition, for example—but that could easily be added as a further benefit of a foodfirst strategy. The study did find that where export crops were primarily produced by small farmers, there was a greater poverty reduction impact than if larger companies were involved, but that food crops were still a better bet. The study did not specifically look at fairly traded export crops, but it is possible to assume that they would also narrow the poverty reduction gap. Some of the most impressive numbers came from Rwanda, where production of maize, rice, or beans was found to be 60 per cent more effective in reducing poverty than any export crop—further confirmation of CCA’s project strategy there.

Cement blocks dry in the sun, in preparation for the construction of a new rice mill at COOPRORIZ ABAHUZABIKORWA. (photo: Alison Payne)


Colombia: Co-ops help women acquire new skills and perspectives

Co-op board member Susana Fino and her husband Sinibaldo prune papayuela branches on their rented hillside farm as their son Bayron sings a song. (photo: David Shanks)


usana Fino hates doing the dishes. That she doesn’t have to do this most basic of household tasks sets this mother of two apart from many other farm women living in Saboya, a rural village in central Colombia. Susana also talks to her neighbours, brings in the harvest, makes decisions about household finances and is not afraid to speak her mind. Susana uses one word to explain why this is so unusual: machismo. “Machismo is the total control of women by men,” she explains. “So many women still have to do everything the man commands her to do. The woman has no opinion.” She says women who are subjected to machismo are overworked, undervalued and cut off from neighbours and community. Governments and non-government groups in Colombia have long focused attention on reducing women’s vulnerability to the culture of machismo.

Olga Rubio, a Bogota councilwoman, acknowledges that women have made great strides in Colombia. There are female ministers in government; the

highest echelons of the business world include many women; and more women than men are in universities.

“Our parents shared everything and so do we,” says Susana. “Our sons will grow up knowing that machismo is wrong.”

But some men also treat women like objects, Rubio says, and there is still a retrograde form of discrimination against women that can evolve into violence.

Susana says there is another significant factor influencing the way men and women in her community relate—her co-operative. She is a member of Coagroboyaca, a co-operative enterprise which was formed from the merger of two farmer associations. Member farmers bring their tree tomatoes, gooseberries, passion fruit, mangos and guava-pears to nearby Sutamarchan where they sort, wash and make pulp concentrate for sale to restaurants and shops.

Susana and her husband Sinibaldo have struck a balance around doing chores that works for them at home and at work growing and selling passion fruit, tomatoes and papayuela, a fruit similar to papaya. It’s partly borne out of necessity. Life is hectic as they balance the demands of their hill top farming business, raising two boys and managing the growth of Susana’s co-operative where she is active on the board. Mostly, they chalk up their sharing ways to how they were brought up.

“Forming the co-operative we could pool our produce, find new customers beyond our local markets and even do commerce with other co-operatives,” says Susana. In recent years, the Colombian government began grouping household farmers into associations for technical training and education and to foster improved production, training and trade. The pulper, washing tanks, counters and refrigerators that Susana’s co-op use were provided by the Department for Social Prosperity. CCA’s partner in Colombia, GESTANDO, is graduating many of these associations into legally registered co-operative enterprises to help farmers in three departments (districts) of Colombia improve their operations and realize advantages of economies of scale Government leaders have embraced this approach and are in discussions with GESTANDO to extend the reach of its program. Co-operatives give men and particularly women opportunities to acquire new skills and perspectives, says GESTANDO CEO Antonio Salcedo. Topics range from co-operative management, co-op governance, food handling and state regulations. There is a strong focus on gender equity. “We want to empower women producers as a strategy to overcome the inequalities and inequities among men and women,” says Antonio. Susana says this training has definitely improved the self-esteem of the women in her community.

Sandra Sanchez says her co-op earns better prices from wholesale buyers in Bogotá than at her local market, where over-supply drives prices down. (photo: David Shanks)

“Women have transferred what they learned in the trainings to their daily lives by sharing roles and responsibilities within the family as well as in the co-operative. It has allowed them to succeed in life without necessarily having the company of a man.”

International Development Digest


Members of Coagroboyaca Co-operative employ local labourers to harvest their berries. (photo: David Shanks)

Susana is taking this message out to her community at every turn, be it in conversations with women waiting to pick up their kids at school, or through discussions and training events at her co-operative. On the other side of Saboya, blackberry farmer Sandra Liliana Cuca Sanchez directs the truck as it backs up the incline to a spot where hired workers are depositing boxes of fresh picked blackberries. Her husband is busy at their other farm property. Managing this halfhectare grove is Sandra’s responsibility. The truck arrives every Tuesday to haul her blackberries to markets near and far. Shutting off his engine, Coagroboyaca co-op manager Ruben Dario Gonzalez steps down from the cab and offers Sandra a hearty handshake. He picks up berries at twenty-three member farms each week. While some of the berries are distributed to smaller local wholesale

buyers, most of the harvest is sold directly to Corabastos, Colombia’s largest wholesaler of fruits and vegetables, in Bogotá. “We could never sell our produce so far and wide before we established our co-operative,” says Ruben. “Being a co-operative enables us to buy inputs and sell them to our members, and to enter into business arrangements with other co-operatives, something we could not legally do as an association.” The co-op is gradually recovering income it formerly lost to middlemen. This translates into greater return for co-op members. The increasing role and importance of women in this chain of events is being recognized my more and more men. Sandra says her husband is very supportive with the chores at home. “If I have to go out for two days to receive training from the co-operative I try to leave everything tidy

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at home. He says ‘Okay, I’ll take care of the child while you’re there.’ When the day of departure comes, he takes me in the van to the village to take the bus.” Sandra’s pride shows as she explains how she and her husband share equally in the one task that spells conflict for couples the world over—family finances. “We share equally in making financial decisions,” says Sandra. “When we budget we set aside the costs of inputs, hired workers and berry collection. What is left is for our savings. We have some savings and I know what he has and what I have, so we divide them like that.” “We don’t like machismo,” Sandra adds. “It’s 50-50 with us. We work together.”

Dorothy Chapola (left) feeds chickens in her farmyard. Loans from her Pamtondo group have allowed her to get into chicken and pig rearing. (photo: John Julian)

M a l a w i

Friends in Hard times


ver the past few years, the country known as the “warm heart of Africa” has experienced a distinct cooling in its fortunes. Malawi’s currency, the Kwacha is worth one third of its 2009 value. Foreign exchange has been scarce, along with motor fuel. When gas or diesel has been available the lineups at the pumps have often stretched for more than a kilometre. Food prices have gone up dramatically. According to recent reports, as many as two million people in a population of less than 14 million are so short of food that a bad crop could mean starvation. In July of 2011, protests over fuel shortages, unemployment, and the high cost of food turned violent and 18 people were killed in the riots that followed. Add to that the sudden death of the ruling president, a messy succession struggle, and treason charges against 11 members of the former cabinet, and the result is a country that is truly living through hard times. Not surprisingly, these volatile conditions have taken a toll on Malawi’s savings and credit co-operatives (SACCOs). The biggest blow landed early in 2012 when Fincoop, the largest SACCO in the country, was placed under supervision by the Registrar of Co-operatives. That has created a tense situation for all credit unions in the country. In late January, The Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) was assigned to manage the troubled SACCO. MUSCCO has been a valued partner of the Canadian Co-operative Association for more than a decade, so when MUSCCO assumed this extra challenge and burden, the question was not if CCA would help in that effort, but how. MUSCCO has a reputation for being well managed and innovative. For example, with CCA’s support it was the first Africa partner to develop mobile branch services, the first to issue bank cards and is currently working to roll out cell phone banking for members.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. On the UN’s Human Development Index in 2011 it placed 171st out of 187 countries evaluated. More than 60 per cent of the population lives on less than $1 per day and HIV/AIDS has reduced life expectancy to a shocking 37 years. A scant 10 per cent of the population has access to financial services, with the majority of those living in urban areas. All of that makes the efforts of MUSCCO and its member SACCOs that much more important in attempting to bring savings and credit services to the poor, both rural and urban.

The strategy that CCA and MUSCCO have devised is to reach into the Canadian Financial Services industry for the specialized skills to help the system weather the storm. The first in was Paul Duncan who has served as CEO of three Canadian credit unions, and has twice been a credit union chief financial officer. He has earned a reputation for his skills stabilizing credit unions in difficulty. Working with his wife Noella, over a three-month period he took a hard look at audit reports and Fincoop’s business plan, and developed a restructing plan for the SACCO. He was followed by Allan Esser, a credit risk specialist who teaches at Centenial College in Toronto. His two-month assignment focused on loan recovery at Fincoop. The most recent volunteer to take up the torch is Karen McBride, recently retired Executive Vice President and Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at Concentra Financial. Ms. McBride has twice volunteered for CCA coaching programs, including one mission to Malawi, and is an acknowleged leader in risk management within the Canadian credit union system. She and her husband Blair signed on for a six month stint in Malawi. While she is immersed in the work of creating risk management tools for the credit union system, she is also acutely conscious that times are hard for the people she works with. In her blog she talks about how the cleaner in the compound where she lives makes the equivalent of $35 per month. Meanwhile a small bag of groceries at the local store cost roughly $15, more than the cleaner would have to feed himself and his family for a month. “We know from our experience during the financial crisis in Asia that credit unions can help poor people weather difficult economic times,” says CCA Africa Region Director Ingrid Fischer. “In spite of the difficulties they are facing, SACCOs are one of the bright spots in Malawi right now, and we are confident that the strength of the MUSCCO staff combined

with the expertise of these exceptional Canadian volunteers, will see the system through. “Difficult times are a test of true partnerships,” adds Ms. Fischer. “At CCA we are committed to helping MUSCCO and its members find their way through these challenges.”

Putting Partnership to the Test F

rom its first forays into international development, the Canadian Co-operative Association has placed great emphasis on the importance of fostering strong, transparent partnerships with co-operative or development organizations in the countries where we work. In 2011, as one of the special activities for the International Year of Co-operatives, CCA decided to put its assumptions about the nature and strength of its development partnerships to the test. CCA hired a team of consultants to do an independent examination of eight well-established partnerships in Asia, Africa and the Americas. For CCA, the results were encouraging. The findings confirmed that CCA’s commitment to partnership is much more than rhetoric and in fact goes well beyond the requirements of a project or series of projects. Several partners commented on CCA’s willingness to stand by them during difficult times, and most commended CCA for fostering a culture of active listening and shared decision-making. In the words of one partner interviewed for the study, “CCA’s idea of support is to focus on capacity building and sustainability whereas other donors are just spending money. Ninety percent of our achievements come from CCA.”

International Development Digest


Connecting the Dots…

Long road to recovery leaves credit unions and communities stronger SRI LANKA photos: David Shanks


he Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is in the final stage of assisting tsunami-affected communities in Sri Lanka. The eight-year long project was triggered by the deadly 2004 Asian tsunami. Members of SANASA credit unions (known as primary thrift and savings societies) were among the dead, injured and homeless in tsunamiaffected cities and towns along much of Sri Lanka’s coastline. Society buildings were also damaged and in some instances washed out to sea along with teller wickets, safes and records. SANASA—with its deep networks in tsunami-affected areas—was in a position to put in place programs that would have immediate and long-term impacts. SANASA responded quickly with emergency aid and loans and put out a call to its co-operative partners abroad for assistance.

A Wave of Support CCA and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) responded quickly. A team met with SANASA founder Dr. Kiriwandeniya in Colombo that January to assess the needs and consider ways Canadians could help. They established ground rules to ensure recovery efforts did not diminish SANASA values of mutual self-reliance and were co-ordinated with other contributing co-operative movements. In the days and weeks that followed, past CDF president Jim Barr captained the charity’s most successful fundraising campaign to that date, raising $750,000 from Canadian co-operatives, credit unions and their members for tsunami relief. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) contributed $9.3 million and the Canadian Red Cross stepped in with over $6 million to ensure much greater reach. What began as an effort to help tsunami affected Sri Lankans cope and recover has also helped SANASA members affected by that nation’s long civil war re-establish their livelihoods, homes and savings.

The Project The CCA-SANASA project Rebuilding and Strengthening Livelihoods in Post Tsunami Sri Lanka was designed to be a multi-faceted development response to the tsunami disaster. At the outset, CCA and SANASA recognized that those affected by the tsunami resided on both sides of the


SANASA Federation General Manager L.B. Dissanayake (L) and Rosamma (R), a member of the Al Hutha Women’s Primary Society, brief past CDF Chairperson Jim Barr soon after the tsunami. They are standing on the remains of Rosamma’s primary society in Sainthamaruthu, on Sri Lanka’s eastern shore.

high water mark left that day. SANASA contributed its reach, reputation and institutional capacity. The Canadian International Development Agency’s involvement enabled the reconstruction of SANASA primary societies and records, the formation of development centres to assess local needs for services, the installation of wells and toilets and the delivery of needed livelihood training.” When CIDA tsunami funding ended on June 30, 2009, the project continued and construction of new houses began with the support of the Canadian Red Cross. The project focussed on replacing housing, rebuilding capacity and livelihoods, and managing risk (insurance).

And while they will be the focus of much discussion at a closing forum planned for early next year, a number of themes have emerged which suggest that recovery is a slow and highly complex process that works best when affected communities are in the driver seat, deciding needs and directions right from the start. Recovery efforts must take into account the impact on communities of what some have dubbed a second tsunami of free, often duplicated and uncoordinated aid from around the world. Also, recovery efforts need to pay special attention to vulnerable groups who are disproportionately affected by such disasters—women, children, the elderly and the disabled.

In seven years the project has built 320 new houses and 490 water and sanitation units, trained over 78,000 people in livelihoods and leadership, issued 14,740 microfinance loans, and insured more than 35,000 people in tsunami and conflict affected regions. Beyond the numbers, this contribution of financial and human resources is a testament to the power of partnerships, successfully bringing government, donor and private sector expertise to bear at a time of unprecedented need. The project has left the SANASA movement stronger and influenced the co-operative recovery strategies of every participant.

The CCA-SANASA partnership:

The lessons learned from this historic rebuilding and recovery effort are many.

The Canadian Co-operative Association began its longstanding partnership with the SANASA Federation in 1986 after recognizing the dynamism that a new leadership was bringing to the revitalization and expansion of the credit union movement in Sri Lanka. Since then, CCA has undertaken nearly a dozen different projects with SANASA, covering a wide range of activity that has included capacity building of the Federation, member education and leadership development, vocational training and enterprise development,

gender issues in credit unions, action research on credit union development, and consolidation of the SANASA system.

Study Tour participant Nancy Cooper of Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union in BC had these thoughts during the mission:

that the study tour to Sri Lanka “instilled a deeper appreciation of the co-op principle: co-operation among co-operatives.”

Throughout this long relationship, the goal of CCA’s development program in Sri Lanka has been to strengthen the capacity of the SANASA credit union system to effectively deliver financial and development services to members on a sustainable basis, and in so doing contribute to poverty reduction and a strengthened civil society. Today, the SANASA movement comprises several business arms providing services as wideranging as construction, banking, insurance, education, marketing, printing, engineering, security and travel. The SANASA Federation includes over 5,000 active primary societies across the country.

“It is 2:30 am and I’m awake because my mind is full of everything we have seen here in Sri Lanka. I am so impressed by what has been accomplished by CCA and their partners, the SANASA Federation and Development Bank. In the last two days we visited two SANASA primary societies and one district union.”

A Stronger Future

“The societies greeted us with warmth and appreciation for the Canadian contribution to SANASA and their communities. We saw that loans provided by the societies make a real difference to the standard of living of the members. In addition to offering savings and loans, they obviously put their members first by providing insurance schemes to cover funeral costs, a loan interest-free for 10 months, and an annual get-together for members. They have a pre-school and have recently opened a library as well. They don’t just fill the needs of their members, but of their communities, too.”

In its final year the project will continue to provide livelihood training to families in the Eastern and Southern districts of Sri Lanka. Work to rehabilitate primary societies in the war-affected north will intensify. A business development unit at the SANASA campus will continue to co-ordinate livelihood training and business development, and youth will be trained as co-op development officers, leaders and entrepreneurs. CCA will provide technical assistance to foster gender equality and women’s entrepreneurship, to support the long-term capitalization of the SANASA Development Bank, and to strengthen the business development unit.

Journey out of Poverty In February 2011, CDF supporters were able to witness this successful model of development and emergency aid during CDF’s first Journey out of Poverty study tour. Ten Canadian co-operators embarked on a journey of discovery throughout Sri Lanka to see first-hand how SANASA has strengthened communities and transformed lives for over two decades through its partnership with CCA.

Study tour participants raised over $65,000 in funds for CDF after their trip to Sri Lanka and conducted countless public engagement activities across Canada that year to raise awareness. Mark Sparrow, from Co-op Atlantic, said in the Atlantic Co-operator

When the tsunami struck Sri Lanka’s coastal communities, SANASA was able to respond immediately and to effectively co-ordinate aid from organizations such as CCA because of its high capacity and presence in affected communities.

Snapshots of success The doll maker of Trincomalee SANASA trained doll maker Anusha Niroshini has high hopes for Rosy, her top selling doll (centre). She hopes to grow her business selling Rosy and other dolls to a department store buyer in Colombo. If successful, she’ll need to hire the SANASA members she is training to make dolls.

An elephant in the field Sugar cane farmers Sunil (right) and Kamalawatha are now true believers. Protected by a policy with the SANASA Insurance Company, they avoided financial ruin after an elephant trampled nearly half their two-acre field near Kalmunai. The claim they received cushioned the blow as they prepare to pay for their daughter’s wedding.

International Development Digest


Loans to expand Dhana Arunalandham’s textile shops in Kilinochchi are busy with customers eager to acquire material for their growing wardrobes. Though Dhana (left) lost many friends and family members to the war, she is taking full advantage of Sri Lanka’s new peace to grow her business. Dhana’s local SANASA Development Bank branch has supported her every step of the way.

Laying a firm foundation Past Canadian Red Cross Country Director Simon Jones lays the foundation stone for the Trincomalee SANASA Training Campus in 2006. It, along with campuses in Batticaloa, Galle and Kegalle co-ordinate and deliver livelihoods training programs to SANASA members throughout Sri Lanka. (photo: Rajeewa Adikaram)

Home at last Widowed by war, made homeless by the 2004 tsunami, Iyathurai Theivanni (right) is home at last. In 2009, she was chosen by the Barathy Primary Society to receive one of twenty-six houses allotted to its members by the CCA-CRC project. Theivanni shares her address at 18 Blackberry Tree Road near Batticaloa with her daughter Pavari (left) and her son-in-law.

A growing concern Traders visit Nelka Samanthi’s home-based sewing shop near Dickwella these days with ever-larger orders for bed sheets, pillow cases, mosquito nets, macintoshes and marine flags. In 2008 Nelka joined the Kalluketiyawatte SANASA Primary Society and, with loans worth $375, bought her first high speed sewing machine. Nelka promptly repaid this and successive loans she borrowed to purchase material and pay down business debts. Her savings are growing as well. Nelka foresees the day when she will hire employees to keep up with demand.


Starting over on Recover the heels of war and rebuild These youngsters’ mother purchased breeding goats with a loan from her newly re-instated Madukulam Women’s Primary Society near Vavunyia. The credit union is bringing jobs and confidence back to families who are re-establishing their lives in a town they found too dangerous to call home during the war. Madukulam is one of hundreds of abandoned primary societies being re-constituted by the Vavunyia SANASA District Union to help shorten the road to recovery.

Managing success

Waves took away all but the floor of the Al Hutha Women’s Primary Society near Kalmunai, and killed one-third of its members. Those remaining, including school teacher Sithy Jameela (pictured with her daughter) did not give in to despair. They worked with SANASA to rebuild their credit union, restore records and arrange training to help women restart their small businesses.

Trincomalee branch manager Janarthani Sathiskandarajah joined SDBL out of high school helping SANASA piece together details about tsunami affected primary societies in the months following the disaster. The information she gathered was vital to re-establishing needed financial services to help members get back on their feet. As a manager, Janarthani continues to help members start business and learn new skills to improve their livelihoods.

Engaging tomorrow today

This group of young people are saving an endangered mountain, stemming an invasion of hungry monkeys and preserving a local fresh-water spring near their village in Sri Lanka’s rural interior. Their project will get a one-million rupee boost if they win top prize in SANASA’s Social Stars competition. Seventy teams have entered the contest designed to encourage youth involvement in social issues and in SANASA.

International Development Digest



International Co-operative Development

Our Projects Africa Ghana


SEND-Ghana Farmer Sustainability Project

Meru and Arusha Livelihood and SACCO’s Initiative (MALI)

Partner: Social Enterprise Development Foundation (SEND)

Partner: Moshi University College of Co-operative and Business Studies (MUCCoBS)

Sector: Agriculture and Finance With food security a serious issue in the eastern corridor of Northern Ghana, there is a strong need for independent, sustainable family-based farmer co-operatives in order to improve returns to farmers, increase production and distribution, and reduce the amount of food lost to spoilage. CCA is supporting SEND to provide training, mentoring and coaching in the areas of agriculture, finance and community wellbeing to enable these co-ops to move towards meeting the needs of their members and communities. Gains such as increases in household income and savings, access to credit (especially for women), conflict reduction and improved family nutrition have all been reported so far. Strengthening CUA in Reaching the Rural Poor II Partner: Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association Limited (CUA) Sector: Finance A great need has created a great solution. The lack of basic financial services has left many rural Ghanaians, particularly in the Northern area, vulnerable to economic hardships. CCA is working on a project with CUA to extend credit union services to rural communities by building and supporting board, management and staff capacity. This project ensures Ghanaian credit unions are financially sound, competitive and provide affordable financial services to people, particularly youth and women, and in turn create social and financial empowerment.

Ontario Co-operative Association Executive Director Mark Ventry with youth savings club members at Dormaa SHS, Ghana. (photo: Margaret Pomaa Okyere)


Sector: Agriculture and Finance In the Arusha region of Tanzania, 70% of the population lives on less than $1 a day. This project aims to address the livelihoods of the co-operative members in this region, especially poor women and their families. Part of the problem has been weak leadership and member commitment within the co-operatives, poor agriculture productivity and limited income generating alternatives. Moshi University, in partnership with CCA, is changing this through building capacities of members of the SACCO so that they can participate more, improve their financial strength and enhance their productive skills, thereby increasing revenue potential that will be deposited into the SACCO as savings.

Malawi Sustainable Livelihoods through SACCO’s Partner: Malawi Union of Savings Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) Sector: Finance An inclusive financial system is critical to the development of a country’s economy. With this understanding, the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO), through its nationwide network of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs), is helping to mobilize savings to create sustainable and affordable credit and other financial services. The aim is to reduce poverty by improving access to services for those financially excluded,

including the rural poor, women and youth. CCA has supported MUSCCO’s work since 2002 through financial management and leadership training, development of special services and products for women and youth, programmes to mainstream HIV/AIDS and gender equality and assistance in the computerization of SACCO’s. CCA has also provided specialized technical assistance to help the credit union system weather an economic crisis in Malawi.

Uganda Examining Success Factors for Sustainable Rural Development through the Integrated Co-operative Model Partner: International Development Research Council (IDRC) Sector: Agriculture and Finance This collaborative research project is looking into the role the Integrated Co-op Model plays in rural development and poverty reduction in rural Africa and Canada. Financed by the IDRC and involving research institutions in Canada and Africa, this research will assess whether rural development through co-operatives works better when the co-ops are integrated and if so, what conditions work best. Data will be gathered in four countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Canada) and the results will apply directly to future CCA programming in these four countries. Integrated Finance and Agriculture Production Initiative (IFAPI) Partner: Uganda Co-operative Alliance (UCA) Sector: Agriculture and Finance When Northern Uganda emerged from years of conflict, CCA and CUA (Ghana) introduced the IFAPI project with one simple goal; to contribute to improved livelihoods of small holder farmers in Uganda. The success of this project involves an innovative and integrated approach of supporting and linking three types of co-operatives (production, marketing and financial). These three areas of co-operation are essential ingredients in improving peoples’ well being and the project has been running successfully now for 10 years. Focus is placed on production and productivity, greater access to financial resources and an improvement in the capacity of co-ops to meet their members’ needs.

Rwanda Co-operative Agricultural Growth Partner: UGAMA and IWACU Sector: Agriculture and Finance Rwanda has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade and continues to place co-operatives at the forefront of the move towards self-sufficiency and poverty reduction. In support of efforts to improve household food security and income levels, CCA is partnering with two local NGOs, UGAMA, a co-operative training and development institute and The Rwandan Centre for Co-operative Research and Training (IWACU), on a five-year project aimed to improve the productivity, marketing, infrastructure and management capacity of 15 agricultural co-operatives and their members. Building on the successes of a three-year pilot, this project will directly benefit more than 22,000 households and indirectly benefit 132,000 individuals.

Ethiopia Climate resilience and co-operatives in Ethiopia Partner: Ethio-Wetlands Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) and Self Help Africa (SHA) Sector: Agriculture The Amhara region of northern Ethiopia provides much of the nation’s food needs. Deforestation, declining rainfall and unsustainable farming practices are contributing to environmental degradation in the region. Working with two local natural resource associations, Ethio-Wetlands Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) and Self Help Africa (SHA), the project aims to help 12,000 farmers learn environmentally friendly techniques to increase their economic, social and ecological resilience to climate change.

The fifteen-month project will also strengthen the capacity of farmer-owned co-operative enterprises by improving the production, storage and marketing of vegetables, ground nut, linseed, and garlic and by linking farmers to sources of needed credit.

Strengthening the Regional Voice of Co-operatives in Africa

has taken over delivery of the bi-annual regulators roundtables to increase the capacity of African Governments to regulate the credit union sector. These roundtables were previously hosted by CCA, the World Council of Credit Unions and the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation which each sponsored their own participants. Participants are now self-funded and CCA continues to support by providing Canadian experts to provide technical assistance and deepen the dialogue.

Partner: International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Africa

Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP)

Sector: Finance

Partner: Various

ICA, with the support of CCA, is working towards the development of co-operatives in Africa and also looking to influence change and innovation through its member organizations in the Africa region. This three-year project builds on a long term working relationship between CCA and ICA and works to improve ICA’s sustainability in Africa. The project will increase visibility for members of the ICA Africa office, improve delivery of ICA’s services and enhance their capacity. Key to this success is promoting the effective use of funds, providing membership support and information dissemination.

Sector: Finance

Africa Regional

Strengthening Regulatory, Leadership and Management Capacity of Financial Co-op Sector in Africa Partner: African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA)

Access to appropriate financial services can have a huge impact on poverty in the developing world. This is particularly true for women. CCA’s Women’s Mentorship Program contributes to this by helping to ensure that savings and credit co-operatives— often the only institutions providing financial services to the poor—are sustainable and able to continue to provide those services. Each year women managers are chosen from credit unions around the world to participate in this program which provides professional development and training. The goal of this project is to help enhance selected overseas female credit union managers’ capacity to improve their skills in managing their loan portfolios and general management issues at their financial co-operatives in their communities. Volunteer Internship Program

Sector: Finance

Partner: Various

ACCOSCA is a forum for African Credit Union managers and leaders to network and access professional development opportunities. Networking forums have proved an effective tool in developing “made in Africa solutions” to “made in Africa challenges”.

Sector: Various

CCA will support professional development for these leaders and managers by funding guest speakers for ACCOSCA’s annual congress. With CCA’s support, ACCOSCA

CCA will be focusing its internships on the Americas and Africa—but has also included two new placements in Cambodia and Mongolia. In Africa, more than half the placements focus on the credit union sector, though mainly using it as a platform to tackle issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender, and youth issues. Based on the success of last year’s placements in the Americas. CCA

CCA’s 2012-2013 youth interns excitedly await their placements after finishing training in Ottawa. (photo: John Julian)

International Development Digest


Africa (continued) will continue to use its interns to build capacity of staff and board of second-tier agricultural co-operatives. In Asia, interns will be placed in the credit union system as well. The IYIP program has returned to a strong focus on the goal of youth employability, therefore interns will be given a thorough pre-departure briefing, which includes career related workshop planning, as well as workshops on gender, environment and co-operative development.

CCA credit union coach Bev Maxim and three past Women’s Mentorship participants reconnect in Malawi. (photo: John Julian)

Asia Philippines

business lines, and providing management and life skills training to members.


Persons with Disability Pursuing Empowerment and Employment through Co-operatives.

Expanding the reach of MicroInsurance in Southeast Asia III (ERMISEA III)

Transforming Rural Finance in Cambodia

Partner: National Federation of Co-operatives for Persons with Disability (NFCPWD) Sector: Small, micro and medium enterprise Being employed provides not only an income but also dignity. NFCPWD Member Co-ops provide jobs for their members, all of whom live with a physical disability, making them one of the most marginalized groups in the Philippines. CCA channels our support towards improving co-op management and governance functions, better business planning, and helping to diversify revenue streams. Focus is placed on assisting with contract negotiations, job creation, new co-operative development, identifying new

Partner: RIMANSI Organization for the Asia and the Pacific, Inc. Sector: Finance “The poor need insurance more than the wealthy,” says Ernesto Galenzoga, a director of RIMANSI. Providing for funeral or medical expenses should catastrophe strike can wipe out hard-won gains and leave families in debt for years. This four-year project provides low income households with access to affordable micro-insurance against catastrophe. CCA is supporting RIMANSI to create new services and products, create more micro-insurance providers and improve the risk protection capacity of over two million poor and low-income households in the Philippines and several other countries in Southeast Asia.

Members of the National Federation of Co-operatives for Persons with Disability (in yellow t-shirts) pose with CCA staff outside their office in the Philippines. (photo: Denyse Guy)


Partner: Cambodian Community Foundation Network (CCFiN) Sector: Finance During the Khmer Rouge years, the co-op model was discredited in Cambodia. CCA is helping CCFiN (the Cambodian Community Foundation Network) establish credit unions in the country by bringing together small informal savings and loans groups or community finance institutions (CFIs). To date, seven credit unions and over 2,200 members (70% women) have been mobilized and CCFiN is aiming to triple the number of credit unions and increase rural outreach significantly. To achieve this, CCA is assisting with training to CFI leaders, with an emphasis on financial literacy and sound management.

A farmer member of the Sragne Commune Credit Union waters lettuce in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (photo: Julie Beckett)

Vietnam SuStaiNablE livElihooDS For womEN iN North viEtNam PartNEr: TYM Fund SEctor: Finance

Chairperson Ms. Tirtha Maya Pradhan (centre) stands outside the Laxmi Mahila Savings and Credit Co-operative Ltd. located in the mountains near Kathmandu. (photo: Anna Brown)

Nepal NEFScuN caPacity builDiNG For SuStaiNablE crEDit uNioN movEmENt iN NEPal PartNEr: Nepal Federation of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (NEFSCUN) SEctor: Finance As the gap between rich and poor grows, co-operatives have been recognized by the Government of Nepal as a key player in reducing this disparity. CCA has been working with the Nepal Federation of Savings and Credit Co-operative Unions (NEFSCUN) since 1994 to build the credit union movement. Today there are more than 800 credit unions in operation providing one of the few financial services options for poor rural people—particularly women. CCA is supporting NEFSCUN to continue building their institutional capacity in order to create sustainability and growth. SuStaiNablE microFiNaNcE SErvicES aND micro ENtErPriSE PromotioN throuGh womEN maNaGED co-oPErativE SociEtiES PartNEr: Centre for Microfinance (CMF) SEctor: Finance For many women in Nepal, Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) provide not only a safe, constant and reliable way to access financial services, but they also act as a valuable space for learning, sharing and

personal development. For 10 years, CCA has worked with Nepal’s Centre for Microfinance (CMF) to successfully strengthen Women’s Savings and Credit Co-operatives through training, technical assistance and encouraging networking between SACCOs and non-financial organizations. This project continues to support the ongoing work of CMF to capitalize on previous achievements and enable sustainability.

Indonesia ProDuctioN oF PaSSioN Fruit co-oP DEvEloPmENt iN South SulawESi PartNEr: Lembaga Pengakajian Pedesaan, Pantai dan Masyarakat (LP3M)

By empowering socio-economically disadvantaged women and men to become business owners and entrepreneurs, you give them the tools necessary to improve their quality of life. Partnering with three microfinance institutions, all of whom were part of previous CCA projects, this project aims to provide these tools by strengthening the institutions in-house capabilities to provide entrepreneurship training and business development support services that link enterprising women to markets, technology, financing and business information. The convergence of microfinance, microinsurance and business development support provided by CCA’s Vietnam partners strengthen the prospects for sustainable livelihoods for more than 100,000 women, many of whom are from ethnic minorities who have been left out of the country’s economic growth.

Asia Regional ENtrENchiNG crEDit uNioN SolutioNS iN thE PhiliPPiNES aND aSia PartNEr: Associations of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU)

SEctor: Agriculture Passion fruit may be small fruit but for the 800 plus farmers of this co-op on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, it is a big deal. Indonesia produces 18% of the world’s passion fruit and thanks to sustainable farming techniques learned through their co-operative, members have seen their yields improve from an average of two kgs per tree pre project to approx 6 kgs per tree after two years of support. Higher yields and better prices achieved through co-op marketing have contributed to a doubling of family incomes among project beneficiaries. CCA is working with local NGO LP3M to assist farmers in crop diversification and to gain access to value chains and better prices which result in strengthening local economies.

SEctor: Finance This project is a consolidation of 10 years of collaboration with the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions in the Philippines. The work of building a credit union is never over but the initiatives and approaches taken by CCA and ACCU will enable their 13 member organizations to grow and prosper. Initiatives such as using lessons learned in microfinance, federation benchmarking, diagnostic tools and stabilization funds are used to develop and preserve gains. This regional project addresses the sustainability of credit unions so that they can best perform their role in helping people improve lives and build communities.

International Development Digest


South America Peru Sustainable Product Diversification for Value Added Economic Development Partner: Multiple Services Co-operative NORANDINO Sector: Micro, small and medium enterprise While achieving success with its fair trade coffee, sugar and cocoa products, CCA’s partner NORANDINO was looking to expand and upgrade its existing facilities to increase product exports. With the ongoing support of CCA, this business expansion has resulted in higher incomes for the 800 farmers involved with NORANDINO and an improved quality of life. Gender mainstreaming has also been a result of CCA’s involvement, with more women participating in the co-op and more gender equal relationships in the community, an example being men participating in household chores traditionally viewed as “women’s” roles.

in employment, training and better infrastructure in the area. Improvements include upgrades to the existing thermal baths infrastructure, the training of 32 women by a top Peruvian chef with plans to open a restaurant, and an increase in tourists visiting the region. Through a previous project, CCA introduced the production processing of organic Canola through the co-operative. CCA is providing training with a focus on marketing the oil on national and international markets.

Colombia Increase Economic Growth and Food Security in Colombia

Sector: Micro, small and medium enterprise Illicit crop production in Colombia was once a major source of income for farmers. By promoting sustainable alternatives such as cocoa, and fruits and vegetables, CCA and its partner GESTANDO are promoting sustainable economic development and improving food security and livelihoods in rural areas in Colombia. The aim is to develop and strengthen co-op organizations by providing enterprise and organizational development training and on-going business and marketing technical assistance, therefore improving competiveness in the marketplace. This project takes place in three departments (areas) of the central region of Colombia.

Partner: Incubadora Empresarial GESTANDO

Economic Diversification in Huancahuasi Partner: Cooperativa Agraria de Produccion Atahualpa Sector: Agriculture Thermal baths built in the Fujimori era are providing the Athahualpa co-op in the small community of Huancahuasi with an innovative business enterprise. With the support of CCA, the co-op is maximizing the region’s tourism potential. Assistance is being provided to upgrade the facilities to entice more visitors and diversify the attractions available. The community is benefitting from an increase

A birds-eye view of Huancahuasi, home of the Athahualpa Co-operative in Peru. (photo: Gwen Temmell)

Caribbean Advisory to the CEO of the Financial Service Commission of Barbados

St.Vincent and the Grenadines

Partners: Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Special Projects Unit Government of Barbados; Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

Technical Assistance to Support the Co-operative Financial Sector Modernisation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Partner: Government of Barbados

Sector: Finance

Sector: Finance

CCA will be advising the Financial Services Commission of Barbados (FSCB) on the development of policy guidelines, systems and procedures to assist with creating an operational framework for the coming years.

Partner: St. Vincent and Grenadines Co-operative League Limited (SVG Coop League)

Barbados Technical assistance to support the Co-operatives Department, Barbados: Promoting Co-operatives in Barbados

The government of Barbados has invited CCA to help its co-operatives department retool its capacity to better serve and market the non-financial co-operative sector in Barbados. The 12-month project will see Canadian volunteers work with the co-operatives department. Counterpart departments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts, and the Bahamas plan to attend the trainings. For the first time, CCA is using webinars to orient and train participants from the four countries.


By utilising a team of senior experts that are well-placed to support the design of this operational framework and conducting workshops training staff in regulatory/ supervisory activities, CCA aims to help the FSCB to become a premier non-bank financial sector regulatory institution in the Caribbean region.

Sector: Finance CCA, in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Co-operative League is developing a training program for credit unions in that country. Using CCA’s Development Ladder Assessment tool, Canadian credit union experts will use assessed data to develop business plans to grow the sector. It is expected that by the end of the six month project, the SVG Co-operative League and some of its members will have training tools in place. These training tools will be included in membership education and leadership development programmes for the SVG Co-operative League and its members.

International Development Digest



Global Citizenship— A Matter of Balance By John Julian Director, International

Communications and Policy


ver the years that I have worked in international development I have been asked many times how we, as Canadians, can devote resources to fighting poverty abroad when there is still poverty here at home. It is not an unreasonable question, but the first few times it was asked of me, I was genuinely confused. I think in part, that was because I have never thought of it as an either/or proposition. In my experience, the people who are most involved in international development are also very much involved in their own communities, working for social justice wherever they are needed. I suppose it also has to do with the fact that in my mind, the notion of global citizenship is inclusive. We are working against global poverty and that includes the country where we live, even if that happens to be a so-called developed country. I was reminded of this one afternoon a few weeks ago as I stood with hundreds of people in the bright spring sun on the snow-covered lawn in front of Parliament Hill. We were there to celebrate the accomplishment of a group of aboriginal young people who had completed an epic walk from the shores of James Bay to the steps of Parliament Hill. For the seven young Cree who completed the entire distance it was a walk of 1600 km, mostly in the dead of winter, partly on

snowshoes through the bush of northern Quebec where there are no roads, sleeping outdoors along the way. For all of the nearly 400 young people from many different first nations who walked into Ottawa it was a huge accomplishment—a triumphant celebration of unity among first nations. For some, it was a very personal journey of healing—a denunciation of the epidemic of suicide, substance abuse and despair that has taken such a heavy toll on aboriginal youth across Canada. And for all a powerful statement that young aboriginal people are joining the fight for a better life for themselves and their people. I was there, I suppose, because I am hungry for some good news where Canada’s First Nations are concerned. Even as we celebrate our successes in helping communities around the world develop solutions for their own poverty, there is a lingering sense of shame that so many of our First Nations people continue to live in poverty, that they are so disproportionately represented in Canadian prison populations and among our urban homeless. I am no expert, yet I have witnessed the struggles of First Nations people throughout my life—seeing the poverty on the Stoney Reserve west of Calgary as a very young child; growing up in Fort Macleod, Alberta—a small town between two large reserves; the simmering anger of the residential school survivors I met as an undergrad; covering the efforts of First Nations in North Eastern Alberta to protect their interests against oil development. So what has all of this got to do with international development? Everything or nothing, depending on your perspective. For me it is all about balance. Balance is at the heart of the co-operative movement—balance between social and economic benefits, balance between our own personal interests and the collective interests of the community, and balance between helping overseas and helping here at home. I am inspired by the efforts of the co-operative movement to expand the benefits of co-operation within Canada. For 10 years the Co-operative Development Initiative supported the efforts of people right across thisCCA country to generate the economic and social benefits of co-operation within their own communities. Sadly, the government money for that initiative is gone, but co-operatives and credit unions are pulling together to create another alternative—an investment fund to provide CCA capital for co-operative start-ups.

I have no doubt that some of those initiatives will be among low-income or marginalized people, and I sincerely hope that some of them will take root in First Nations communities. This year CCA has plans to survey people who have done international assignments to see how they have been affected by that experience. I think I can predict two of the responses. I believe that most of the volunteers will feel a renewed faith in the co-operative model after seeing how simple co-operatives can change lives in the developing world. And I also predict that most people will also have a new interest in, and awareness of, issues of poverty and inequality within their own communities. From my perspective, that is global citizenship. As I stood there on that snow-covered lawn, I couldn’t help but think that the qualities exhibited by the young people being celebrated that day are the same as those we look for among our development partners in the south. They had taken on an ambitious and difficult undertaking with benefits extending to the broader community. With some help, they had created a plan to manage the logistics necessary to complete their mission, but most of all they had used their own reserves of strength and resilience to overcome enormous challenges. That is a solid foundation for development, wherever it occurs. In my mind the “Journey of Nishiyuu” was a co-operative venture—a group of people sharing the burden to achieve a common goal. And while the initial objective was political—to attract more resources to provide education and employment for aboriginal youth—I was thinking how great it would be if the energy and co-operative spirit demonstrated by the walk couldn’t be translated into the sort of development initiatives that we support around the world—worker co-operatives to build the housing that is so badly needed on northern reserves, grocery co-operatives to provide nutritious food at the best prices possible— childcare, health, education. So what has this got to do with international development? Nothing if we choose to live our lives in carefully insulated silos—and everything if we choose to embrace the spirit of global citizenship.


International Development Digest is published by the Canadian Co-operative Association. Publications Mail Agreement #40006457. Correspondence should be addressed to David Shanks, Editor. 275 Bank Street, Suite 400, Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6 Toll Free: 1-866 266-7677 Tel: 613 238-6711, CCA: ext. 207 CDF: ext. 605 Websites: E-mail:


The Canadian Co-operative Association is a national organization for co-operatives and credit unions. We are a not-for-profit co-operative owned by our members. Our mission is to provide leadership to promote, develop and unite co-operatives.

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Canadian Co-operative Association programs are undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Les programmes de l‘Association des coopératives du Canada sont réalisés avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada accordé par l’entremise de l’Agence canadienne de développement international (ACDI).


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CCA International Development Digest 2013  
CCA International Development Digest 2013