Thinking Cooperatively


In class this week we talked a lot about poverty which lead to discussing the causing factors and repercussions, such as the type of political party to food insecurity. While addressing these issues we were asked what would be some ways in which we believe could help alleviate some of these problems and I think that cooperatives can provide the progressing opportunity.

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A cooperative, or a co-op, is a collective farm, business, or other organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, who then also share the profits or benefits.  Co-ops always have some of mission statement that explains a little bit about how and why they work collectively.  All co-ops may have different mission statements because they’re based on locality, and also the organization depending on the work, but overall they all really center the idea to demonstrate cooperative alternatives for economic and social issues and to teach cooperation as a way of life.

Personally, I’ve taken in a lot of interest in cooperatives because I’ve been a part of two, one nonprofit and one profit based, and so I have experienced how the benefits of using cooperative ideas when working than working on your own. One of the biggest factors of working in co-ops happens to be agricultural work, and this types of work gets done so much more efficiently when working collectivity. Co-ops within the agricultural business have actually been emerging more and they are more opportunities for assistance to begin one. One organizations I found called, ACDI VOCA which also receives much support from the The Agency For International Development, , has a main goal of boosting food security and economic growth by institutional strengthening and capacity building of cooperatives to increase the member income, expand trade and investment opportunities and improve the associated legal and regulatory environment.

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ACDI VOCA, has been expanding opportunities worldwide, and have had particular focus in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan. With help from the USAID, Farmer to Farmer regulations, and many volunteers this organizations seeks out to specifically  improve smallholder implementation of Good Agricultural Practices—a formal system that codifies improved farm-level agricultural practices for a range of commodities, strengthen cooperative participation and governance,  increase gender sensitivity among cooperative leaders and membership, and provide cooperatives with technical assistance to improve planning finance and information systems. In the case of Egypt, the organization has already addressed value chain constraints to increase agricultural productivity and profitability, which has helped provided technical assistance to over 3,780 people directly and 27,040 people indirectly. SO personally I see this as a better result than the alternative of people not working together collectively to address and find solutions. Co-ops have been existence since early human societies, agriculture would not have been possible without the cooperation of the whole societies. I believe if there is a switch back to the original ways of agriculture then, in turn the results could definitely help alleviate the poverty in the Middle East.

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2 thoughts on “Thinking Cooperatively

  1. Love this topic! “Thinking Cooperatively” should be a motto for all global health issues. I would be curious to see if there are any nonprofits based out of the Middle East, not just ones that focus on helping the Middle East (especially in humanitarian efforts). I recently volunteered at the Good Works Center here in Athens, but it’s a major difference to be working on a local scale versus a global scale. The main question that I always have when I think of nonprofits and start investigating new ones is: What is the primary challenge of the nonprofits environment versus their social structure? What can we learn about adaptation from them?

  2. Different take on a peace proposal and food security effort. I really enjoyed your blog. To be honest, when I read co-op the first thing that came to my mind was a hippy community in 60’s. Just a stereotype but as you’ve shown these co-ops can be very productive and inclusive to different cultures. I think agriculture and food production could be a great way to economically tie countries in the region.

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