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CDF Study Tour - Peru

On Monday, January 16th, 2012, the Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) will embark on a 5 day Study Tour to Peru. Along with a volunteer team made up of Canadian Co-operative and Credit Union leaders, we will be visiting co-operative projects in the regions of Piura and Montero that have supported and empowered small communities of producer farmers to work their way out of poverty towards prosperity.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This morning we meet up with the remaining 2 volunteers from our group. Leo Leblanc has worked with Co-op Atlantic since 1978. He is currently the Vice President of Human Resources, Corporate Affairs, Corporate Marketing and Corporate Secretary. He has worked with the CCA ID program in the past on a project in Africa. John Harvie is the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of Co-op Atlantic. John grew up on a small family farm on the East Coast of Canada and earlier in his career held a key position in Scotsburn Dairies, the largest Atlantic Canadian owned dairy processor and distributor in the Atlantic region. John has agreed to give a presentation to our host co-operatives on behalf of CCA on the co-operative value chain. We will be learning so much from our partners over the next few days, we want them to benefit from the co-operative knowledge that our group brings to them as well.

After breakfast we sit down for a group orientation session. After weeks of emailing back and forth it is really great to meet these Canadian Co-operative and Credit Union leaders in person. You wouldn’t believe the combined years of experience around the table and the dedication and enthusiasm for the co-operative model. The International Year of Co-operatives (dedicated by the United Nations for 2012) is what has brought this group together and is mentioned around the table several times. This group of volunteers (along with others who were unable to join on the Study Tour) have committed to celebrating and promoting the international year by becoming champions of CDF and co-operative development around the world. We talk about the projects that we are about to visit and about CDF’s goals for 2012 and how we can all work together to build a better world.

Before heading to the airport for the flight to Piura we have a few hours to explore Miraflores. We walk to a beautifully decorated public park called Parque del Amor. The park has a breath-taking view of Playa Costa Verde which is lined with sun-bathers, surfers and the odd parasailer, including one who is strumming a guitar as he/she flies above the cliffs! We have a quick lunch before heading back to the airport.

The airplane taking us from Lima to Piura is much larger than I expected and very full. At the airport we get a craving for snack food. We try dry roasted corn kernels, artisan potato chips and dark chocolate covered freeze dried banana. And I can’t forget to mention Inka Cola, which tastes much like cream soda but is so popular with the locals in Peru that it continues to out-sell Coke and Pepsi!

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