CUNA supported increased funding for a cooperative funding program and procurement reform language in a letter to a House Appropriations Subcommittee sent this week. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations and Related Programs passed its bill late Monday night, and a full committee markup is scheduled for Thursday.
The bill contains $17 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP), $1.5 million than last year.
“The CDP is a global initiative that focuses on building capacity of cooperative businesses and cooperative systems for self-reliance, local ownership, and sustainability. This year, we respectfully urge you to increase the funding for these programs to $20 million,” the letter reads. “With their specialized expertise, CDP’s implementing partners have advanced cooperative businesses and systems in more than 18 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Activities are targeted to strengthen cooperative businesses in several ways including improved governance, capitalization, gender empowerment, youth engagement, financial management, market performance, and advocacy.”
The letter adds that, during the life of the program, activities have supported more than 500 cooperatives and credit unions with a combined savings of $495 million.
CUNA also called for the inclusion of procurement reform language in the bill to ensure fair access by smaller U.S. private voluntary and not-for-profit organizations.
The proposed language for inclusion is:
In order to enhance and maximize access to and use of the unique skills and experience of small and private voluntary organizations and cooperatives in implementing programs authorized under this part, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall ensure that a minimum of 12 percent of annual development assistance appropriations are directly awarded to small U.S. private and voluntary organization and cooperative development organizations.