Local NGOs continue development work as NCBA CLUSA builds organizational capacity

CARE postwar 500 4f68aCARE postwar 500 4f68aA photo of co-op members buying CARE packages for shipment to Europe in the late 1940s on display at the 1954 Chicago Cooperatives Congress. Building up local organizations is key to working yourself out of a job. While many international organizations tout this as their goal, only a few truly leave professional capacity behind. Supporting local organizations is part of NCBA CLUSA's legacy.

From funding CARE remittances to post-war Europe in 1945 and supporting ACDI/VOCA in the 1960s to helping build up domestic organizations like the National Cooperative Bank, NCBA CLUSA has consistently developed capacity. This hasn’t changed over the years. Many of the organization's international projects, when ended, leave behind local employees to sustain and build upon development progress not only within their own communities, but countrywide.

In El Salvador, CLUSA El Salvador, which began in 1998 with support from NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded CRECER project, continues to support co-ops and value chain development and is a current local partner for our projects. CLUSA El Salvador has become a technical partner, providing local co-op expertise and training for coffee farmers as part of NCBA CLUSA's USDA Coffee Rehabilitation project.

Another local organization now supporting continued development is Musika in Zambia. Stemming from NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded PROFIT project, Musika brings together six Zambia-based nonprofits including the Zambian National Farmers Union to continue to get quality seed into the hands of smallholder farmers.

ZambiaPROFIT 500 53d13ZambiaPROFIT 500 53d13Village-based agents bring quality products to their local communities.The village-based agent model that was developed under the Zambia PROFIT project linked 600 local agents to 14 private-sector firms. Five years beyond the end of that project, Musika has expanded that support to 4,000 village agents connected to 64 firms. What that means on the ground is that over 300,000 smallholder farmers across the country can access the quality seeds and fertilizer at lower costs and with the right training.

For Musika founders, continuing the work was an easy choice.

“We sat down as employees, having tried all these models, and we knew what to do. NCBA CLUSA is all about building capacity, and here the capacity is built,” said Reuben Banda, Musika’s Managing Director.

The PROFIT project and its supported organizations continue to impact the country. Today, the federal agriculture policy in Zambia leans toward a private-sector approach rather than fully subsidized. That shift in policy culture has meant that smallholder farmers are now a substantial target market for private firms.

“This has transformed agriculture in Zambia,” said Todd Crosby, NCBA CLUSA’s Senior Technical Director.

NCBA CLUSA projects never truly end. Local communities, who lead the development and manage projects from the beginning, are able to develop capacity and skills long after a project has ended. NCBA CLUSA believes that the core of sustainable development is providing people access to skills and tools that empower them to articulate, promote and manage sustainable, locally-generated solutions. With professional local partners, our impact is that much greater.


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