U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council


History: In 1962, the U.S Agency for International Development undertook a study of cooperative development. From that study came a committee of U.S. cooperative organizations that focused on implementing a 1961 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which was designed “to encourage the development and use of cooperatives, credit unions and savings and loan associations” worldwide. A cooperative office was created to build on the pioneering work of the National Cooperative Business Association and the Global Office of the National Credit Union Administration.

Many of these early overseas efforts were carried out by U.S. cooperative employees who were asked to share their experiences overseas. Many of the cooperatives they created still exist, particularly in Latin America.

In 1982, this cooperative alliance was formally organized as a cooperative — the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council.

Services: The U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) brings together U.S.-based organizations committed to building a more prosperous world through cooperatives. OCDC’s mission is to champion, advocate and promote effective and sustainable international cooperative development. Together, U.S. cooperative development organizations promote sustainability and self-reliance through local ownership. With projects in more than 70 counties, OCDC members have implemented the largest portfolio of cooperative development programs in the world. Members include ACDI VOCA, Equal Exchange, Frontier Cooperative, GENEX, Global Communities, HealthPartners, Land O’Lakes Venture37, NCBA CLUSA International, NRECA International and the World Council of Credit Unions. Our members’ international activities are powered by grants from the Cooperative Development Program of USAID.

The International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG) is a division of OCDC which carries out an international cooperative research agenda focused on issues related to the impact and effectiveness of cooperatives in developing countries and emerging markets. The ICRG designs, directly undertakes and partners of academic and practitioner partners to carry out rigorous research that helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice. It also fosters a learning community within OCDC and provides resources and information related to cooperative development to OCDC members and to the broader international cooperative and development community.

Vision: OCDC envisions a world where people in all countries have the opportunity to work together through cooperatives to create a better life for themselves and their communities.

About Cooperatives and .coop

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