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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

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! I am a new member of the CDF team and this is my first visit to an International Co-operative Project. I joined the Foundation this past May and have spent months reading about co-operative development around the world that is being supported by the Canadian Co-operative Association’s International Development (CCA-ID) program and funded by CDF. I am really looking forward to experiencing a project in person. I’ve loaded my digital camera with an 8 GB memory card that will allow me to take up to 8000 photos and/or a few hours of video. I have a laptop, several note pads and about a dozen pens, just in case. I don’t want to miss a thing.

I’ve been showing my four year old son Milo a map of the world. I’m showing him where we live and where I am going on this trip. I will be away from him less than a week so he doesn’t seem too concerned by the distance that I am travelling. His main concern is whether I will return to him with a Peruvian Spiderman as a souvenir.

In preparation for this trip I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Peru and the co-operative projects that we will be visiting.

Making a difference in Peru:

Peru is a fast growing country, with good climates and good potential to export different crops. The CCA-ID is currently working with a co-operative called Norandino, which is a coalition of three secondary co-operatives; CEPICAFE, CENFROCAFE and SOL y CAFÉ. The main objective of Co-op Norandino who is our main host on this tour is to strengthen the business aspects of the three organization partners, and therefore to contribute to the improvement of its members’ living conditions. CEPICAFE, who we will also be visiting, represents, directs and offers diverse services to farmer producers of cocoa, coffee, sugarcane and fruit in the mountainous region of Montero in order to improve the quality of life and eradicate poverty in this region.

The goals of the CCA-ID project are to improve the productive capacity of the processing plants, develop economical initiatives for new products and new local markets, and empower women and youth members of the co-op.

This CCA-ID project in Peru directly benefits 800 producer farmers associated with Norandino and also has indirect repercussions for the 7000 members of the 3 secondary co-ops.

The average income in this region of Peru is approximately 300 nuevo soles, or US$ 107 per month and the average number of children in these families is 3 to 5 but some families have as many as 10.

It’s hard for me sitting under the snow in my home with my son on a Sunday night to even begin to imagine what this experience is going to be like…

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