Cooperatives, businesses that are democratically owned and governed by those they serve, are powerful tools for local development. NCBA/CLUSA’s approach to cooperative development is premised on the belief that local ownership and broad participation empowers communities to address their most pressing economic and social needs in a sustainable fashion. NCBA/CLUSA’s activities range from helping groups establish new cooperatives and other group enterprises, to building institutional capacity of these businesses and to enhancing the scale and visibility of cooperatives and other member owned businesses.
An enabling environment is crucial to allow cooperative enterprises to flourish. In many countries, NCBA works with local people to eliminate legal and regulatory constraints that hinder cooperative and other member-owned businesses from competing effectively within the private sector. NCBA teaches cooperators how to conduct constructive advocacy campaigns to lobby for alternative laws and regulations that benefit cooperatives. NCBA facilitates and encourages cross-sector coalitions to increase cooperative leveraging power and defines and promotes best practices and international standards for effective cooperative legislation and for the measurement of cooperative business success.
NCBA enhances the scale and salience of cooperatives by building the organizational capacity of cooperative businesses and associations so that their members can achieve their economic and social goals. Cooperative enterprises, their managers and members obtain business and governance skills that help ensure their cooperatives are profitable and self-sustaining. Regional programs also assist cooperative businesses to expand their market access to local markets and export markets.