Who we are
CDF Canada is an international development organization building prosperity in communities around the world. We work with local partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America to establish and grow community-owned co-operatives to help people achieve more prosperous, self-reliant lives. In 2017 alone we impacted 213,000 women, men and children by focusing on food security, community and economic development, financial inclusion, local leadership capacity building, climate change adaptation and resilience, peace and development and gender equality.
As new nations emerged from the old Colonial world order after WWII, Canadian co-operative leaders felt a renewed commitment to use the co-operative model to help communities around the globe move out of poverty. It was a radical notion at a time when missionary and charity work dominated such outreach. Formed in 1947, the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada soon became the focus for Canadian efforts to foster self-reliant, member-owned co-operative movements in the far-flung corners of the world. This included Northern Canada, where CDF Canada helped Inuit communities establish their own co-operative stores.
Since those early days, CDF Canada has held steadfast to the seven co-operative principles, mobilizing the abundant talents and resources of Canadians and their co-operatives to help partners in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Eastern Europe build lasting pathways to prosperity. Co-operation and the simple notion of people pooling their time and resources to achieve together what they cannot achieve in isolation remains at the heart of everything we do at CDF Canada.
Our Expertise: Strengthening families and communities through co-operatives
Co-operatives and credit unions are powerful tools that create long-term growth and prosperity in communities around the globe. With over 70 years of on-the-ground experience in international development, CDF Canada has helped local partners in over 40 developing countries create and strengthen co-operative enterprises and networks. Each creates jobs and opportunities, mobilizes savings and loans, reduces vulnerability, improves nutrition and livelihoods, helps women and men govern their co-operatives democratically, and access the opportunities and resources they need. We support co-op federations in providing services to member co-operatives and work with governments to enact co-op friendly laws and regulations.
Our expertise resides in the lessons we carry forward from each project we undertake and in the individuals we mobilize from the Canadian co-operative sector and beyond. Our philosophy and approach integrate careful consideration of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the promotion of financial inclusion, and resilience and environmental sustainability.
Each year, CDF Canada works with donors, partners and its team members to build a global co-operative community. Download our Annual Report for more insights on our progress and impact.