The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of COVID- 19 on cooperatives supported by the USAID-funded
Cooperative Development Program (CDP). Four CDP partners—Equal Exchange, Global Communities, National
Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), and Venture37—partnered with TANGO
International to gather and analyze data in six countries. This study was conducted through phone surveys with
cooperatives in Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Rwanda in four survey rounds from May 2020 through
February 2021 (see summary in Box 1). The sections below present the study findings by country. Global findings are
summarized in Figure 1.
Across all four rounds of data collection, the most severe impacts reported by cooperatives are reduced income, government restrictions on activities, and reduced deliveries of products by members (Figure 1). On average, across the study sample, 18.6% of contract agreements were broken by buyers, and cooperatives’ revenue dropped 34.8%. Impact to members include delays in payments from the coop to members for products/services and reduced income. Cooperatives perceive that COVID-19 has contributed to increased gender-based violence (GBV), with reported GBV increases highest in Kenya, Malawi, and Peru.
Cooperatives have responded in numerous ways to COVID-19, the most common of which are providing COVID-19 information to members, changing operations to address mobility/social distancing requirements, and developing new operating procedures to ensure the safety of cooperative staff and members. In the final survey round, cooperatives identified the types of external support they need to aid their recovery and ongoing response to COVID-19 impacts. The most urgently needed types of support are access to finance/loans to cover revenue losses, coaching to shift business strategies and/or revise operations to manage burdens and access to technology to maintain business operations.
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