It has been said that the cooperative movement is an economic giant, but a political mouse. On behalf of a group of US cooperative development organizations jointly working within Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC), I would like to offer some ideas how to change that situation thru advocacy education – how to help cooperatives become political giants (they already are econ giants).To start this presentation I would like to offer a couple words of context in which our ideas and actions evolved.
For a number of years US cooperative development organizations (members of OCDC) while working with cooperatives around the world under funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have been focusing on issues relating to “enabling environment” for cooperatives – in other words, how to make legal and regulatory environment in a given country more helpful to cooperatives, help them grow, provide better services to members and the communities in which they are located, how to evolve their organizations in view of their economic and social purposes, the latter being one of the core values of a cooperative. Working collaboratively since 2005, OCDC members developed CLARITY, or the Cooperative Law and Regulation Initiative.
CLARITY challenge was thus two-fold: to find ways to help elected cooperative leaders assure their organizations have an enabling legislative and regulatory environment in which to grow and thrive, and assist them in advocating for their interests given very real limitations they face, including: - lack of, or limited knowledge and experience of legal/regulatory matters, -similarly limited knowledge and experience of advocacy - limited resources at their disposal (incl. human, financial, time) - voluntary and transitory nature of cooperative leadership.
Working together since 2005, CLARITY project developed various materials, tools, exercises to help cooperative organizations and their leaders better understand their legal environments, and ways to analyze, look for appropriate solutions. We formulated broader principles based in and relating to generally recognized legal principles (CLARITY principles), to help protects their rights and interests and bring about change. In another words – bring about cooperative legal reform.
The result included various types of materials -- rubrics, matrices, comparative examples, Scorecard with questions helping non-lawyers to contribute. BUT THERE IS STILL NEED FOR LAWYERS – they have to be involved and can help!We have applied CLARITY activities in a number of countries around the world, including: Nicaragua, Mongolia, Yemen, Mozambique, Bosnia Herzegovinaand published several publications in 8 different languages including:Vol. 1 Enabling Cooperative Development: Principles for Legal Reform - 2006Vol. 2 Creating CLARITY: Assessment, Analysis and Outreach for Coop Legal Reform- 2009Vol. 3 Applying the CLARITY Principles to Cooperative Law (2009)
And that is how we got to Advocacy and Outreach phase on which we want to concentrate today. Because even the best ideas and proposals, if not followed by action, remain just that: ideas, proposals. The key is to find effective ways of reaching out to individuals, informal-formal groups, organizations that can help transform ideas into reality.NO REINVENTING THE WHEEL –AMALGAMATION OF RESOURCES, BUILDING ON PREVIOUS SUCCESSES Incl. ICA Americas.What we learned through the work of our 9 organizations – members of OCDC – and through studying various materials reflecting on methodologies used so far, we gathered in this volume. In addition, to ground our ideas, in early 2011 we conducted a survey of national cooperative organizations and their leaders - very informative, useful to briefly share some results.
Sent out over 200 surveys – receive 50 responses
56% of national cooperative organizations said they were extremely or very active in advocacy, 36% described their level of advocacy activity as moderate and 8 % described it as slightly” active.
Preponderance of advocacy efforts is directed an cooperative laws and regulation – there is interest in changing/improving existing laws and regulation.So a lot is currently being done but how effective are these actions? Can they be improved?
And yet when asked about the Main challenges facing cooperative organizations engaging in advocacy respondents identified awareness for need for advocacy among coop leaders,communicating issues – MEDIA IS A REAL WEAKNESS; we are not understood, we do not carry our message welllack of funding[TIME PERMITTING:We asked other questions – too little time/space here to speak of all the information we gathered but a number of other information is important: Education-orientedStrategies mostly used were: workshops (68%), Round table discussions (60%), and Networking (58%)Least used: one-on-one meetings, social networkingAmong Media-oriented strategies: internet (74%) least used - radio (30%)Organizational strategies: informal information sharing (84%)Forming alliances (62%0Least used – permanent advocacy organizations (12%)]
So, armed with all this information, we proceeded to gather and organize our own thoughts around more general and more detailed issues: what is Cooperative advocacy and why do it? Define what are different terms used – depending on who is advocacy action directed to, or who is involved in carrying advocacy messageRemind basic principles of advocacyProvide examples for successful – and unsuccessful advocacy actionsWHY DO IT? DEEPEN DEMOCRACY thru engagement and participation; IMPROVE IMAGE; Strengthen the movementAnd define major phases/stages or steps that will be most helpful in making cooperative advocacy a success.
We defined the main stages leading toward a cooperative advocacy strategy -- Each has its own challenges but at the same time has to “stand on its own” because even though in the best circumstances following each stage systematically would be most effective, life usually “takes over” and may not allow the “luxury” of time, resources, etc. I will briefly speak about each, concentrating on selected key ideas of each stage. For more go to Vol. 4WE ARE BUILDING ON WHAT IS OUT THERE, recognize others who developed methodologies, systemsMARIA will hit all these points in her presentation – the beauty of her case study…
Key message: to really understand the problems you need to research them, study the facts, need to be able to present them when you find solutions and start advocating for them;Must educate about coop community and its problems/solutions
Key message: legal and cooperative frameworks vary from country to country and cooperative leaders need to develop a good understanding of what these are in their country contexts so as to look for solutions that are their own, an applicable to their circumstances (not ‘One size fits all”)Must educate through continuous dialogue and reaching CONSENSUS on specific issues
Key message: you must understand them really well in order to define “pressure points” – where to take your message, how to frame your messages, how to argue for solutions that you deem appropriateCOOP NED TO FIGURE OUT HOW IT WORKSIan & Maria will comment
Key message: there are various ways to do it; first define your weaknesses (based on SWAT) and then find the most applicable one or the most effective ways to counter them. One of useful strategies is to form a coalition with other similarly-minded organizations but there are challenges…Continue to educate broadly about cooperative issues and solutions – focus on and carry your message to specific individuals (e.g. Parliamentarians), organizations (think tanks, supporting civil society organizations).INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE – ICA LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE and work of its chair, Hagen Henry
The idea behind all that is that making a well-though through plan of action = better chances to achieve success. There are many examples of actions which were ultimately successful, but also action that can help:Engage grass-roots coop members – they know best about coops!involve all parts of coop community and society! They can support youbringing in international perspectiveprepare thru simulationContinue to educate… educate.. Educate…
These are HANDS-ON and PRACTICAL Help APPLYINTERACTIVETools for action – these are things you can do in a group to learn and improve
I will in a moment hand over to Maria Jose Novoa to talk about Mozambique and how they did it – a fantastic case study of a successful cooperative community actions which resulted in major change affecting the whole country - much more than cooperative community. Other studies are also available.
Bringing this presentation to a conclusion, I would like to stress the following 3 points:1. Our CLARITY methods and ideas cannot guarantee a success. But we are convinced they can help in organizing the efforts so they benefit from the experience of others and maximize the chances of success.2. Advocacy, just as cooperative law and regulation, are not ends in themselves but a means to a stronger cooperative movement and to better cooperative enterprises. Cooperatives have too much at stake to leave the process of legal or regulatory reform to others, who may not fully understand the cooperative model nor the impact that poorly designed regulation may have.3. As democratic member-led organizations, cooperatives have one big advantage: members themselves who can become directly involved in advocacy work and lead to A MOUSE CHANGES INTO A GIANT (or at least disappears…)Thank you.
Dr Barbara Czachorska- Jones: Empowering the co-operative movement through advocacy education
Empowering the Cooperative
Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones
Director, Global Communities
U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC)
Cape Town, South Africa, November 3, 2013
1. What is CLARITY and how can it help?
2. Current status of cooperative advocacy and what
may help the community
3. What is cooperative advocacy and why do it?
4. Developing a cooperative advocacy strategy
5. Planning for success
AN ECONOMIC GIANT
A POLITICAL MOUSE?….
How can we change
Cooperative Law and Regulation Initiative (CLARITY)
• How does a group of ordinary elected
national cooperative leaders
– assure their organizations have an
enabling legislative and regulatory
environment in which to grow and thrive?
– advocate to protect and promote their
interests given limitations of:
legal/regulatory knowledge and experience
advocacy/lobbying knowledge and experience
limited time, human and financial resources
voluntary and transitory leadership?
• CLARITY is a series of activities designed to
help a national cooperative movement
organize themselves to:
– understand, analyze and evaluate their
– develop proposals and strategies for change, and
– put those proposals into action through advocacy
and outreach activities
to protect their rights and interests and bring about
cooperative legal reform.
The CLARITY Cycle
CLARITY Tools Developed
• Analytical Rubrics to evaluate legal
environments using the 9 CLARITY Core
• CLARITY Scorecard: set of rubrics which form a
map showing the degree to which the law and
regulation are in compliance with CLARITY
Principles (conducted by lawyers)
• Profiles of various countries describing efforts in
cooperative legal reform.
2011 Survey of
and their leaders
A total of 56% of
36% were moderately
8% were slightly
Major focus on
cooperative law and
cooperative law in
their country and
combined 77% in
- lack of awareness
- Lack of financial
So What Is Cooperative Advocacy and Why Do
• Legislative Advocacy – involving
legislation and/or legislative
branch of government
• Regulatory advocacy – involving
lead government official and staff
of regulatory agencies regarding
rules, regulations, policies
• Grassroots advocacy – involving
• To engage cooperative movement
in legal reforms
• Strengthen the movement
• Deepen democracy
• Improve public image and
• Attract resources
DEVELOPING A COOPERATIVE
ADVOCACY STRATEGY PLAN
• Define the problems and issues
• Define the proposed solution
• Analyze power and decision making structures
• Develop Advocacy Strategy
• Plan Advocacy Actions
• Evaluate to verify what worked or did not, and how to
DEFINING THE PROBLEMS AND ISSUES
• Study and research
to understand the
problems and issues
• Educate the co-op
beyond about the
problems, the “facts
DEFINING THE PROPOSED SOLUTION
• Discuss, involve in
dialogue and search for
• Adapt to country context
• Educate about the
advantages of proposed
• Reach consensus
ANALYZING POWER AND DECISIONMAKING STRUCTURES
• Find and understand
points where your
actions will be most
• Target the message
STRENGTHENING YOUR POSITION
• Consider various
types of coalitions
• Engage cooperative
• Bring in international
• Educate about your
TURNING STRATEGY INTO ACTION
• Plan and prepare
• Bring in cooperative
• Educate about your
• Engage and educate the
• Evaluate your actions to
Practical Tools, Advice, Exercises,
LEARN HOW OTHERS DID IT SUCCESSFULLY –
MOZAMBIQUE CASE STUDY
• CLARITY can help develop successful advocacy
actions - www.clarity.coop
• Advocacy is a means to a stronger cooperative
movement and better cooperative enterprises: Too
much is at stake to leave it to others!
• Turn a mouse into a Giant …
• Barbara Czachorska-Jones
Director, International Operations
Global Communities, www.globalcommunities.org
• 8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 800
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
United States of America
• email: email@example.com
• Telephone: +1 (301) 587-4700