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Canadian Co-operative Association

Canadian Co-operative Association

Canadian Co-operative Association: International Development Through Co-operatives
The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit co-operative with a mission to establish and grow co-operatives internationally that build a better world. To achieve this mission, CCA works closely with Canadian co-operatives and credit unions to channel their knowledge and experience to partner organizations and co-operatives in Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Find out more at

The Challenges of Closing the Gender Gap in Co-Operatives

Economic empowerment of women is one popular approach to closing the gender inequality gap. Yet co-operative enterprises, which have been successful in improving the livelihoods of disadvantaged and rural women in developing countries, remain widely unknown and under-utilized.
01/20/2015 12:47 EST

Could Coffee in Myanmar Become a Social Enterprise?

As Director of Market Development, I have had many opportunities to travel the world and explore potential projects for the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA). Over the last few weeks I have been lucky enough to do just that in Shan State, Myanmar.
11/17/2014 03:41 EST

Make People Experts On Their Own Lives

So often in the world of international development evaluation, the voices of the people the project is targeting -- the people who are really the most important in terms of determining the impact of the project -- are absent.
07/25/2014 05:10 EDT

Energy Poverty -- The Global Picture of Energy Access

According to the International Energy Agency, nearly 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, and over 95 per cent of these live in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Though it's a few years old, the map below illustrates that statistic quite well.
07/07/2014 11:38 EDT
Getty Images

Why "Voluntourism" Matters

A young American named Pippa Biddle wrote a piece criticizing "voluntourism" that went viral. Though I agree with much of what she says, I think Biddle is missing one essential point. The mature and thoughtful attitude she has developed on this topic is a direct result of the experiences she has had through her volunteer work overseas. Without her fumbling efforts overseas, she would never have gained the wisdom to support development in the south in a way that does not reinforce the systemic imbalance of power and privilege that is so much a part of our well-intentioned efforts to help.
03/13/2014 08:26 EDT
Claudia Dewald via Getty Images

Where the Water Doesn't Flow

Witnessing the shortage of water in Malawi, and experiencing people's pure relief in turning on the taps after days without water, I realized how loose our relationship with water is in the West; we turn on the tap, and out comes crystal clear, drinkable water. Returning to Canada, I took - and continue to take - baby steps in conserving at home.
03/04/2014 12:42 EST

Bees Gave This Ethiopian Youth Co-Op a Chance to Thrive

Tezana Kassa was once afraid of bees. Strange, I thought, for someone whose livelihood is now so wrapped up in a co-operative honey bee apiary he and 25 other youth began just weeks ago here in the parched Amhara region of northern Ethiopia.
02/18/2014 05:56 EST

Why Rural to Urban Migration Is Problematic

This trend towards urbanization raises a number of challenges. As a development practitioner, I find myself agreeing with Lawrence Haddad, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, who suggests that most development professionals are trained in rural development and rural livelihoods.
01/22/2014 12:08 EST
Adam Gault via Getty Images

It's Time for Africa to Rise

There is a new optimism associated with Africa these days. The phrase "Africa Rising" is showing up with regular frequency in media reports within the continent and beyond, and instead of a steady diet of African despair and failure, we are finally hearing about African innovation and success. Perhaps it is finally Africa's turn, and we at the Canadian Co-operative Association will have front row seats for a long-overdue African renaissance.
01/10/2014 07:44 EST

Doing Good and Proving It

I am convinced that co-operatives offer a fair, equitable and ethical tool for generating employment and income -- both here in Canada and in communities throughout the developing world. That is probably not a very surprising statement, coming from someone who has worked for co-operatives for most of my adult life.
12/19/2013 12:11 EST

An African Internship -- Working Outside My Comfort Zone

Three years into my career I traveled to Uganda as a volunteer with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) to discover how agricultural and financial co-operatives are drastically improving the lives of hard working farmers. That mission, "Telling Our Story Uganda" affected me in a profound and personal way.
12/13/2013 03:46 EST

How Co-Ops Are Making a Difference in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a land of extremes: a deeply scarred paradise with placid lakes and active volcanoes; warm, welcoming people, divided by class and polarized by politics. Yet, in this divisive environment, Canadian-assisted co-ops are a unifying force, bringing people together to work for the common good.
12/03/2013 05:39 EST
Getty Images

Life in Malawi as a CCA Intern

This really is a special time in my life and my career. While after seven weeks I haven't made many friends here, found anywhere to go dancing or taken any solo adventures outside the capital city of Lilongwe, I'm enjoying Malawian culture. If you'd like to pretend you're living here as a CCA volunteer, try this routine:
11/19/2013 12:14 EST
Huffington Post

Co-operating for Peace

The Canadian Co-operative Association is not, and has never been, a humanitarian relief effort. You won't often find us in the middle of a major humanitarian crisis or a shooting war -- in Afghanistan...
11/05/2013 05:48 EST

Co-Operatives Supporting Ugandan Farmers Share the Wealth

Baina Omugisa means "the lucky ones," but the members of BOMIDO Co-operative Society in the Masindi district of Western Uganda are making their own luck by working hard and sharing the knowledge they have gained through IFAPI to grow their farms and increase the amount they earn from their produce.
10/22/2013 08:40 EDT

Global Citizenship: A Matter of Balance

In my experience, the people who are most involved with international development are also very much involved in their 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.
10/16/2013 04:29 EDT