U.S. Ambassador to Senegal visits NCBA CLUSA’s USAID | Yaajeende project at the beginning of its two-year extension

yaajeende eatorange 9a09cyaajeende eatorange 9a09c[Orange-flesh sweet potatoes were introduced to Senegal as part of Yaajeende's focus on Nutrition-led Agriculture. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, a common nutrient deficiency in Senegal. Yaajeende's community based nutrition classes educated community members on the benefits of eating sweet potatoes and how to cook them.]

USAID|Yaajeende, NCBA CLUSA’s second largest project in West Africa and the very first USAID Feed the Future project, has been extended for an additional two years, through September 2017, in a show of confidence in the holistic, nutrition-led agriculture approach developed under the project.

Confirmed by an independent study at the University Gaston-Berger in Dakar, in its first five years, Yaajeende, which means “abundance or prosperity” in the local Pulaar language, decreased child stunting by over one third, and households achieving a “minimum acceptable diet” tripled. Households receiving a “high” dietary score jumped to 73 percent in the zone of intervention.

These results come from an integrated “food system” approach to nutrition, agriculture and distribution, known as Nutrition-Led Agriculture. While increasing yields through improved agriculture techniques might increase incomes, if there are no nutritious foods available in the local villages, increased incomes will not lead to better nutrition. Food security and nutrition depend on a variety of factors, and focuses on addressing the Four Pillars of Food Security: Availability, Access, Utilization and Governance.

Similar to a sales value chain, a food system approach looks at each part of the food security chain from seeds to farms to plates. Various interventions across the food system from improved seed available through Community-Based Service Providers (CBSPs), to creating a market for nutritious food through community education have contributed to improved dietary status across the project regions.

Now, with funding for another two years from USAID, the Yaajeende project can fully transfer the management of these innovations to local governments, private businesses and community-based organizations, ultimately expanding its reach to more regions.

“With these additional resources, we will be able to transfer our work to community based organizations and local governments to assure that it carries on well past the end of the project,” said Karl Rosenberg, Chief of Party for the Yaajeende project, and former West and Central Africa Regional Director for NCBA CLUSA. "We will be able to launch a social franchise called CultiVert that will standardize the quality of the goods, services and training provided by our Community-Based Service Providers who work in the agriculture, nutrition and hygiene sectors. In short, these two years will assure the sustainability of the positive impacts we have seen over the first five years of project implementation."

During a community meeting held on his visit to Yaajeende villages, Ambassador James Zumwalt said that Yaajeende is known as a success and provides a model that others should replicate. “When my colleagues at USAID discuss how to improve food security and nutrition around the world, they often talk about Yaajeende and the work that NCBA CLUSA does," he said.

yaajeende ambassador 3fddeyaajeende ambassador 3fdde[Ambassador Zumwalt speaks with Khassatou Coulibaly from Debbo Galle Women's Group about the benefits of fortified flour in Kafory Village, Senegal.]During his visit, Ambassdaor Zumwalt was able to meet with individuals and families whose lives have been positively impacted by the project. In Kafory village, the Debbo Galle (Good Mother) women’s group gave a demonstration of how they make fortified flour using locally produced foods such as high-protein maize, beans and orange-flesh sweet potatoes. The orange-flesh potato was introduced through the project when it was determined that intervention communities had high deficiencies of Vitamin A. Khassatou Coulibaly, a member of the women’s group, said she makes 10-12 kg of fortified flour per month for her three children, in addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables she is able to feed them from her home garden, which she planted after training from the project.

The head nurse of this region noted that thanks to the enriched flour made by the women, there has been an elimination of severe malnutrition cases and a drastic reduction of moderate malnutrition in the Dimboli municipality.

Another aspect of the project, in partnership with Heifer International, involves “Pass on the Gift” programs where mostly women-led targeted households receive livestock to raise, breed and pass on to another family. Aissatou Lamarana Diallo, also from Dimboli region, received six hens in 2013. After breeding and passing on the chicks to another family, by the end of 2015 she had 20 hens and three ewes. Learning to raise the hens, she had exchanged nine for an ewe in her second year, both improving her family’s nutrition and also providing income and a sustainable livelihood. In the first five years of the project, animals were placed in 9,000 households.

“Thanks to the hens, I managed to pay for the school supplies for my son who just received his high school diploma,” Aissatou said. Her son was recently admitted to a local university.

Over its first five years, Yaajeende has increased sustainability by linking CBSPs, or local entrepreneurs, to private suppliers for sales of nutrition and hygiene improvement products, including improved seeds and fortified flour to hard-to-reach communities. CBSPs, like Alassane in Matam region, sell inputs such as seeds and fertilizer for horticulture and grain production. He currently brings in 2.7 million CFA, or $4,620 USD annually—more than four times the average national income. By increasing the market demand for these products, and by assuring consistency through the CultiVert social franchise, this private sector network will grow in capacity and reach. In 2015, 354 CBSPs generated approximately $1 million in sales on behalf of almost 30 wholesalers bringing needed products to communities and creating income for themselves.

Yaajeende is funded by USAID and implemented in partnership with Counterpart International, Sheladia Associates and Heifer International.

New home health care worker co-op in Washington already has client waiting list

home healthcare pond5 web 16dffhome healthcare pond5 web 16dffA home health care worker cooperative in Port Townsend, Washington, opened its doors this month with 13 caregivers and a waiting list of clients. The launch of Peninsula Homecare Cooperative came 10 months after several experienced health care providers decided the best way to provide exceptional care for the elderly and dignified, sustainable careers for caregivers was to create a worker cooperative.  

The project was assisted along the way with experienced technical assistance, support from a neighboring cooperative and grant funding.

Seasoned cooperative developer Deborah Craig from the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NCDC) collaborated with the group as it moved through the development process from concept to operation.

Craig has worked with other home care cooperatives during her career, including Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative, a successful seven-year-old home care cooperative in Bellingham, Washington. In the true spirit of Principle 6: Cooperation among Cooperatives, Circle of Life provided advice, encouragement and inspiration to the members of Peninsula Homecare Cooperative.

The Cooperative Development Foundation’s MSC Fund provided a $9,000 grant to NCDC to support technical assistance and marketing, legal and licensing expenses associated with the development of PHC. CDF has a long relationship with home care cooperatives, supporting their development and expansion through research, grant making and collaborations with local technical assistance providers. In September 2016, CDF will convene the inaugural Home Care Cooperative Conference.

USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant funds also assisted in the development of the Peninsula Homecare Cooperative. For more information about PHC visit www.peninsulahomecare.coop.

U.S. electric co-ops launch ‘Co-ops Vote’ campaign to boost voter turnout, awareness of rural issues

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The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) this week launched a major initiative to enhance voter engagement and awareness of rural issues. The goal of the “Co-ops Vote” campaign is to boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer members to exercise one of their most basic rights—the right to vote.

“America’s electric cooperatives are leaders in the communities they serve throughout the country with a powerful sense of their civic duty,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Co-ops Vote focuses elected leaders on the people who are most invested in the success of their own communities. With 42 million members across the nation, electric co-ops are a powerful voice on national issues that have a local impact. We want to be sure that voice is always heard, especially on Election Day.”

Working in collaboration with states and local co-ops, this non-partisan campaign will educate and engage all voters on important issues, such as ensuring continued access to reliable electricity, promoting co-ops’ development of innovative renewable energy solutions, and expanding broadband coverage throughout rural America.

Co-ops Vote will provide a wide variety of tools to its more than 900, not-for-profit members to help educate and engage employees and communities, including voter registration information, candidate information and a campaign video. Co-ops are urged to take simple steps, such as encouraging their employees to register to vote, hosting voter registration drives at co-op offices, and partnering with local civic groups to plan voter registration efforts.

For more information, visit www.vote.coop and follow #CoopsVote.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

Registration now open for NCBA CLUSA’s 2016 Annual Cooperatives Conference!

impact 2016 500 88a8fimpact 2016 500 88a8fRegistration is now open for NCBA CLUSA’s 2016 Annual Cooperatives Conference, the only cross-sector event in Washington, D.C. that speaks with a united voice to our elected officials and policymakers about issues critical to U.S. cooperatives. Click here to explore registration options.

You can play an integral role in educating policymakers in Washington, D.C. Plan now to join NCBA CLUSA in our nation’s capital from May 2 – 4 as we hike Capitol Hill to communicate the impact cooperatives have on our communities. Attendees who register by March 18 are eligible to receive the early-bird registration discount!

NCBA CLUSA is actively engaged in educating leaders in Congress and the Administration about the positive impact cooperatives businesses have on the U.S. economy. The recent launches of the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and the USDA Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development demonstrate the increasing traction the cooperative business model is gaining in Washington. During this election year, it’s more important than ever that cooperatives engage regularly with their local and national legislators to capitalize on this momentum and call for continued action to advance the movement.

Our federal officials need to know who co-ops are, what co-ops look like, where co-ops are found within the economy and why consumers consistently choose the goods and services co-ops provide. Educating our nation’s leaders about co-ops benefits each and every cooperative sector.

The 2016 Annual Cooperatives Conference falls during Co-op Week, observed annual during the first week of May. This week features a host of coordinated events, providing participants access to a wide variety of opportunities to celebrate and advance the cooperative business movement, including the Cooperative Development Foundation’s Cooperative Issues Forum and Cooperative Hall of Fame Reception, Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Click here for other Co-op Week events.

Judy Ziewacz named new NCBA CLUSA President and CEO

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The Board of Directors of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Judy Ziewacz as NCBA CLUSA’s new president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Ziewacz took on the role of interim president and CEO in October of 2015 and has provided outstanding leadership at an important time in the organization’s history as it celebrates 100 years of supporting cooperatives that build a better world.

“Judy’s leadership over the past four months has been collaborative, focused and reenergizing to the organization and its mission,” said Andrew Jacob, Chairman of NCBA CLUSA’s Board of Directors. “On behalf of the entire board of directors, we welcome Judy and share in her vision to continue to expand and grow the organization’s support of cooperative business both domestically and internationally.”A lifelong cooperator, Ziewacz brings a unique perspective to the organization and is able to draw on a lifetime of cooperative history to effectively lead the organization.

“It is a privilege to once again serve NCBA CLUSA and the broader cooperative community, pivoting its purpose into the next 100 years,” said Judy Ziewacz, NCBA CLUSA’s president and CEO. “NCBA CLUSA has a long history of effectively promoting the cooperative business model both domestically and around the world and I look forward to working with our board, leadership team and staff to continue to elevate the cooperative voice and contribute to the ongoing success of the cooperative movement.”

For more than 35 years, Ziewacz has championed cooperative development. In 1985, she was instrumental in launching the nation's first statewide co-op development center: the Wisconsin Cooperative Development Council, now known as Cooperative Development Services.

She was a driving force behind the establishment and funding of the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program in the 1990 Farm Bill. In 1996, she became the executive director of the Cooperative Development Foundation and later led the application process to secure .coop as a new Top Level Domain (TLD) for use by the international cooperative community. 

She currently serves on the boards of the National Cooperative BankCapital Impact Partners and Group Heath Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin.


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