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Congress increases funds for international co-op development.

President Barack Obama in December 2014 signed legislation that increases annual funding for the Cooperative Development Program (CDP) to $10.5 million, up 5 percent from the last spending bill. Through CDP, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports cooperative development programs and projects overseas implemented by U.S. cooperative organizations.

The CDP is a competitive-grants program that responds to the needs of local cooperatives and other group-based businesses by drawing on the expertise and resources of long established U.S. cooperative organizations, their members and volunteers. In 10 current grants, the program focuses on developing, implementing and extending workable, sustainable solutions to key development challenges and opportunities in 19 countries.

The CDP impacts 5.7 million people in more than 30,000 cooperatives, according to a survey conducted earlier this year at the request of the Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations Sub-Committee. "The survey confirms the impact CDP has on the lives of millions of people. CDP demonstrates that cooperatives can reach the size and scale to lift millions of people out of poverty," says Paul Hazen, OCDC executive director.

"The CDP is the only federal program that is exclusively focused on cooperatives in the developing world," says Paul Clark, Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) board chair. OCDC's member organizations, he adds, are helping to "give millions of otherwise marginalized people the opportunity to own a piece of economic prosperity and join the mainstream of economic and social development."

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Title Annotation:Newsline: Co-op developments, coast to coast
Publication:Rural Cooperatives
Date:Mar 1, 2015
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