Nairobi, 26 March 2019 – Global Communities, an international non-governmental organization working in Kenya, today at the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK), unveiled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cooperatives Leadership Engagement Advocacy & Research (CLEAR) program. Global Communities, an organization that has been supporting cooperatives worldwide to achieve their social and economic objectives for over 60 years, has co-created this program alongside USAID’s Local Sustainability Unit, to focus on broadening the use of the cooperative business model in Kenya and creating a more supportive legislative environment.
USAID CLEAR has three key objectives built on the foundation of a stronger, more connected Kenyan cooperative sector:
(1) Improving cooperative business enabling environments through policy legislative and regulatory reforms and their roll outs in the counties;
(2) Improving cooperative business performance through tailored capacity building in governance, management, financial oversight, product/service marketing; and
(3) Testing and analyzing positive behaviors among cooperative members that emerge as a result of participating in cooperatives and understanding how they contribute to stronger, more resilient communities.
Speaking during the launch, CLEAR Chief of Party (COP) Kristin Wilcox stated: “USAID CLEAR’s mission is to support Kenya’s cooperative sector in a way that enhances the utilization of the cooperative business model among all Kenyan citizens and across all sectors. We have a team that is dedicated to bringing about the legislative changes necessary so all Kenyan citizens can take advantage of its transformative power to build democratically run businesses. We are simultaneously launching and partnering with programs that help youth create their own dynamic, jointly owned enterprises so Kenyan youth are building their own cooperative movement. We are thrilled to learn and work in Kenya’s vibrant economy for the next five years.”
The keynote speaker, Makueni County Governor and Professor Kivutha Kibwana said: “The co-operative movement has been an effective engine for development in Kenya. It cuts across almost all sectors of the Kenyan economy-both formal and informal. It is estimated that 63% of Kenya’s population participates directly or indirectly in co-operative based enterprises. It is also estimated that co-operatives contribute 31% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya. I am convinced that the CLEAR program will strengthen the cooperative movement by creating an enabling environment that will generate different economic opportunities that improves lives and livelihoods of the Kenyan people.”
CLEAR Kenya Country Lead, Moses Kanene added: “Cooperatives are effective model of enhancing market systems and addressing economic empowerment for youth and women through employment creation and service/product development.”
Global Communities CLEAR team will work through tested capacity building models, policy and close partnerships to achieve the tri-fold objectives. The foundation of success with be the collaboration with counties governments, cooperative business enterprises (CBEs), State Department of Cooperatives, Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK), the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) and other state and non-state cooperative development organizations (CDOs).
CLEAR will seek to support twenty-five counties to develop county cooperative policies and legislation as well as domesticate the model county cooperative bill that was adopted by the Council of Governors (COG) on 5 September 2016.This legal framework will help steer the smooth operations of the cooperative sector and enhance performance of cooperatives at the county level.
CLEAR will also continue to work closely with youth and women to empower them to create their own business and step into the formal economy by seizing new service oriented cooperative opportunities.