The Land O’Lakes International Development (Land O’Lakes ID) Cooperative Development Program (CDP) has pursued the goal of increasing the performance of cooperative enterprises to improve the livelihoods of their members and contribute to building more inclusive and resilient communities. With funding from USAID, Land O’Lakes ID has implemented CDP for nearly eight years, partnering with cooperatives in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda to improve cooperative performance in response to evolving market conditions. From 2010 to 2016 our work in the dairy sector focused on partnering with cooperatives that have leveraged economies of scale through horizontal or vertical integration — working with each partner to improve operational management, organizational governance and business decision-making. I
With additional funding between November 2016 and September 2018, we are applying a modular approach to implementation, building on lessons learned with a refined focus on two countries—Kenya and Rwanda. We continue to partner with a small number of individual cooperatives, both dairy and maize, that can serve as important learning grounds for other cooperatives, and that can simultaneously positively influence government policies and the broader enabling environment. We also expanded the focus of our partnership efforts to apex bodies, academic institutions, service providers and resource organizations that support cooperatives. Furthermore, we are conducting assessments of cooperatives and apex bodies and focusing capacity building on financial management and recordkeeping. We are incorporating a study on social capital in Rwanda to understand relationships internally and externally in cooperative entities. Finally, Land O’Lakes ID continues to collaborate with other cooperative development organizations and support the activities and research agenda of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC).
More information on our second CDP project, the Seed Cooperative Alliance, can be found here.