Patrick Clark, Volunteer; CDF Canada; Peru
“Co-operatives are the ideal model of economic and social development for me because they democratize the economy and give people more power over their own lives and work in practice, not just in-theory. Co-operatives are a holistic form of social and economic organization and in this sense co-operative development can contribute to achieving a whole range of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.”
Patrick got involved in volunteering with CDF Canada through a research project on Fairtrade certification from the Business and Society program at York University. The goal was to write a business history of the Norandino Co-op.
After studying the theories behind economic and rural development and the role of agricultural co-operatives from different social science perspectives, it was both challenging and very rewarding to work on the practitioner side and go from theory to practice.
Norandino and Peru are particularly interesting cases because of the history of land reform and agricultural co-operatives in Peru. The co-operatives that formed in the 1970s failed because they were imposed from above without sufficient capacity building at the local level. The more recent success of Norandino and many other agricultural co-operatives in Peru is interesting to consider in light of these failures and there is a lot that social scientists, co-op and development practitioners can learn from this history and the incredibly unique story of business and organizational development of Norandino.
Patrick has been so impressed by the knowledge and dedication of the Norandino staff, members and board members. It was clear that the staff truly cared about the organization that they work for and go above and beyond in their efforts. He believes there is a lot that other co-operatives and researchers can learn from Norandino in terms of its strategies and experiences managing the incredible growth they have gone through in the past two decades.
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