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NCBA CLUSA Supports Youth Cooperative Movement Before
Puerto Rican House of Representatives
(SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO)—In a meeting with the Commission on Cooperatives and Non-profit Organizations today in San Juan, NCBA CLUSA Chief Operating Officer, Amy Coughenour Betancourt, supported a newly formed youth cooperative—Coopare— focused on advancing youth development and leadership among Puerto Rican youth. The meeting with the Commission was intended to promote the mission of Coopare and seek resources and support.
“Puerto Rico has a rich and long history in the cooperative movement, and in many ways, has been a pioneer. However, it is important to continue to foster the next generation of leaders, and Coopare is a great vehicle for this,” explains Coughenour.
Coopare focuses on the development of the arts, recreation, and business among youth. It formed with the support of COSIANI, an early childhood education services cooperative that provides professional development, training, and services within the early childhood education field.
Coopare got its start by addressing two particular needs—first, the need for quality summer camps for children, and the need for Puerto Rican youth to develop job and leadership skills. They worked with COSIANI to support its network of summer camps by recruiting and vetting youth volunteers. These camps are carried out in collaboration with the housing cooperative sector.
As Coopare developed, it recognized the need for leadership training and the provision of services to organizations interested in reaching the youth segment. It began delivering workshops, training, and other outreach services to help young people develop their skills.
Now, the 42 youth member owners of Coopare have a bigger vision. “We want to bring together the youth cooperatives around Puerto Rico and create a network of cooperative development and leadership,” shared Coopare’s President, Jan Milton Bayón. DeMarie Valentin, Director of COSIANI added: "This vision includes learning from one another and connecting with other youth cooperatives in other parts of the world."
“The potential of this group is tremendous,” stated Michael Rivera de Jesus, technical officer of the Commission. “There is a big demand for the services that they provide.”
“NCBA CLUSA’s role today is to lend our organization’s voice in support of this youth-led effort, just like we do in many other parts of the world, such as Kenya, Mozambique, and 13 other countries,” stated Coughenour. With the support of the Commission and the rest of the cooperative community in Puerto Rico, I believe Coopare can have a very bright future.”
The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization working in areas such as food security, climate-smart agriculture, and cooperative development. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has the improved economic and social well-being of millions of farmers and their families in over 100 countries.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2013
Contact: John Torres
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Obama Tours Food Security Projects in Senegal Highlighting NCBA CLUSA’s Work in Feed the Future Initiative
(WASHINGTION, DC) – On Friday, June 28, President Barack Obama, along with the head of USAID, Rajiv Shah, toured a food security expo in Senegal highlighting projects from the Administration’s flagship Feed the Future initiative. NCBA CLUSA is the lead implementer in the USAID-funded Yaajeende project and was one of six booths that directly reported results to President Obama.
“I had a wonderful opportunity to visit this expo and meet some remarkable men and women who are helping us meet an urgent challenge that affects nearly 900 million people around the world… chronic hunger and the need for long-term food security,” said President Obama during a press conference following his tour.
Speaking with Obama, NCBA CLUSA’s Senior Technical Advisor, Pape Sene explained the various uses and nutritional power of the fruit from the Baobab tree that is being used in the project to boost nutrition and help with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
“I was a great opportunity to share the success of this program with President Obama. He was intently listening, and focused and understood the importance of the linkage between health and nutrition,” said Pape Sene. “President Obama was very impressed with the work that NCBA CLUSA is doing here in Senegal.”
NCBA CLUSA launched the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded “Yaajeende” (meaning “abundance”) food security project in November 2010. Since then the project has demonstrated a 22% increase in children aged 6-23 months consuming a Minimal Acceptable Diet, the World Health Organization’s measure of what is needed to ensure appropriate growth and development.
“That’s a fat and happy kid!” stated Obama when shown a picture of one of the children who benefitted from improved nutrition.
During the tour, Obama also meet Oumou Gadio (pictured on the right), a participant in the NCBA CLUSA Community-based Solution Provider (CBSP) innovation. CBSP’s are private entrepreneurs who are based in the target communities and who create linkages between the private sector and the producer organizations. Women account for 25% of the CBSP’s in Senegal and are critical in scaling up agriculture and nutrition activities and bringing products to the field.
“Here in Senegal and across Africa, most people are employed in agriculture. And we know compared to most other sectors, growth in agriculture is far more effective in reducing poverty, including among women,” continued Obama.
Women are a major component of the USAID|Yaajeende project, managing and farming more than 330 community gardens. Mother-to-Mother group training, community meals, and education on sanitation and hygiene are other important ways NCBA CLUSA is integrating ways the program is achieving improved nutritional outcomes.
USAID|Yaajeende is a five-year, $40 million initiative of USAID Senegal under the Feed the Future program implemented by NCBA CLUSA in partnership with Heifer International, Counterpart International, Sheladia Associates, Inc., the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA), Senegal’s National Malnutrition Prevention Unit (CLM), and hundreds of local governments, NGOs, and communities in 3 districts of Senegal.
The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has grown its international development portfolio to over $34 million of active programs in 15 countries.
Does your cooperative or cooperative organization…
- Strive to keep cooperative values a part of its business planning?
- Use the cooperative principles to promote itself to potential members and the general community?
- Want to enjoy international recognition from the cooperative and business communities for its focus on these values?
If your answer is yes, then your organization is eligible to the win the 2013 dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence!
Cooperatives from all sectors are encouraged to apply by July 31, 2013.