An IDEA to help dairy co-operatives

30 Apr 2012

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Dairy co-operatives in developing countries have been given access to a learning network to strengthen competition.

Launched in Nairobi, Kenya, the International Dairy Enterprise Alliance (IDEA), which has been established to deliver the initiative, started the first 'Co-operative-to-Co-operative Learning Series' last month. The Cooperative Development Program (CDP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by Land O'Lakes International Development to provide information, resources and technology to help dairy co-operatives thrive in national and regional markets. The learning series brings together industry thought leaders, co-operative managers and board members to share experiences. Over 40 participants attended the first session from a variety of co-operatives afar afield as Nicaragua, India and the United States; and despite the differing sizes they found similar problems existed around the world. Rebecca Savoie, Practice Manager for the CDP, said: "The informal nature of the event created a space for connection. The stories that these high-level executives were telling about their business problems resonated profoundly with all participants. "The event was magical. Participants walked away with actionable items and took back ideas to their cooperatives to help transform their businesses." Taking part in the event were co-operatives, development organisations, research organisations, input suppliers, government bodies and nongovernmental organisations and other private sector partners. "The social environment was open and honest. There was a community of conversation. There was nothing groundbreaking about the content presented at the workshop, but it was transformational," said Ms Savoie. In addition to the events, the IDEA network will develop a knowledge management portal to allow members to collaborate and share strategies and tools. Plans are already in the works for the next IDEA series, which will be held in 2013 in India. For further information about taking part in the event, please email the Cooperative Development Program: IDDCommunications@landolakes.com. To find out more about the project visit Land O'Lakes International DevelopmentPicture: Rebecca Savoie networks with IDEA participants

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