Examining Success Factors for Sustainable Rural Development Through the Integrated Co-operative Model
This collaborative project will examine the role the Integrated Co-operative Model can play in reducing poverty and promoting development in rural African communities. Specifically, it aims to add to the knowledge of how to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty in a sustainable way in rural communities. It will strive to: - improve programming in rural development in Africa and Canada by obtaining new knowledge about integrated co-operative models in practice; - explore the added value of an integrated approach to co-operative development as a tool for rural development; and, - assess whether rural development through co-operatives works better when the co-operatives are integrated, and if so, under what conditions this integration works best. The lead institution, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), will partner with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, Moshi University College of Co-operative and Business Studies (Tanzania), and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Makerere University (Uganda). CCA has supported the development of the Integrated Co-operative model. In this model, "production, marketing support, and financial services are integrated, yet separate." CCA is planning to scale up the model and support its application in new contexts. Working together within this model, co-operative members attain both individual and collective goals that increase food production, create linkages to larger markets and better prices, and provide access to affordable financial services. The research will help to assess the value of the integrated model, by comparing communities where it is in place to those where other models are used. It will examine comparable situations in Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Researchers will assess the nature of the enabling environment for the integrated model, and how the policy context can be influenced to support this approach. An enabling environment is a set of interrelated conditions, such as legal, economic, political, and cultural, that have an impact on the ability of development actors to engage in sustained activities. The results will show whether the Integrated Co-operative Model brings added value to communities by helping them achieve development and poverty reduction goals (or in other, unanticipated ways). They will also lead to recommendations about the model's broader application. The results will be relevant to CCA, co-operative members, co-operatives, and other co-operative development practitioners. They will also inform understanding of co-operative integration both in Canada and in developing countries.