I am proud to be part of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) Board, particularly as we celebrate 75 years of building a better world.
Through co-operative principles and working with overseas partners, communities become sustainable through projects that enhance individual well-being and develop community-owned assets, such as co-operatives and credit unions.
Over the past 75 years, CDF Canada, collaborating with local partners and striving for positive outcomes, has empowered countless women and children in many areas, leading to long-term economic progress and lasting infrastructure in countries like Ukraine, Malawi, Ethiopia, Senegal and Ghana. Over the past few years, we have also completed projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, Columbia, Peru and more.
Although CDF Canada traditionally focussed on food security, finance and education, and gender equality, many projects have also positively impacted environmental sustainability, climate change and biodiversity.
One amazingly successful project that I had an opportunity to visit in 2019 was the Co-op Norandino. Founded in 1995, this co-op has grown from 200 to 6000 members, and today it is a second-level non-profit organization representing coffee and sugar cane producers in northeastern Peru.
Another example of wonderful, lasting work is the Woman’s Mentorship Program run by CDF Canada. This program brings women from around the world to Canada to enhance their skills in developing, running and expanding credit unions in their countries. This amazing program has seen more than 250 women graduate over the past 20 years.
I am excited for CDF to continue its legacy of making a difference worldwide.