Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Canadian Cooperative Association

This is what Bruno is doing in Mongolia...a three-week stint mentoring/advising rural credit unions. I promised him I'd include a blurb about what the CCA is about so here it is:

· The mandate of the Canadian Cooperative Association has both a domestic and international theme.
· Canadians have 18 million memberships in co-ops, and co-ops today promote and develop more jobs than any other organization.
· There are over 9000 co-ops in Canada representing 330 billion in assets
· The purpose of CCA's international work is to promote the reduction of poverty.
· Poverty can only be dealt with by dealing with conflict.
· Cooperative development is considered a way to help conflict in developing nations, as cooperatives are not seen as bringing competition into an area
· Sustainability livelihood can be expressed in 5 points of view. Human assets, financial assets, natural assets, physical assets and social assets. The cooperative structure attempts to provide support in the development of each of these required assets. If anyone of these becomes vulnerable, poverty can become a reality.
· Areas that CCA is doing work: Africa- Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Asia- Vietnam, Cambodia, Americas- Columbia and Peru.
· 2012 has been declared the year of the cooperative by the UN, and Mongolia brought the motion forward to the UN.

Here's the CCA's blog for more info:

B enjoys a glass of wine with his team in Ulaanbaator. Hmmm...looks suspiciously like France to me.

Today Bruno meets the interpreters and is given a briefing on the Cooperative Credit Union system challenges and successes. Here he is working hard… They learn what they might expect on their travels. Some will leave by plane, others by train and B by car. When he asks how long it will take, he is politely corrected that he is now on Mongolian time and advised to relax and enjoy the journey. The actual time of the drive depends on how many 'horses they stop to see'... a polite way to say 'bathroom breaks'.

These instructions look pretty clear

B meets some credit union members. One - a pharmacist who went from a one room shop and no employees, to owning the entire building, expanding into groceries, and renting out the extra spaces. She now employs 15 people. She has very low employee turnover and guarantees the employees loans when they want to borrow to achieve personal goals.

Another member who produces mayonnaise and ketchup in a very small industrial kitchen and sells about $14,000 to $16,000 US worth a month to food markets. That’s a lot condiments!

After a concert and show -the Grand Orchestra of the Mongolian National Song and Dance - which includes 30 or so singers, 70 musicians (playing ancient traditional instruments), 40 dancers, unbelievable contortionists, and throat singers that leave him speechless, Bruno digs into a memorable meal of beef, lamb and vegetables cooked at the table (that Mongolian beer looks pretty good too!). He is advised - for medicinal purposes- to have vodka after every dinner while in the countryside to ensure against stomach ailments. Hmmm... B may have to check into detox when he's finished there...

B does not know when he will have internet access next so the next week or so may be a bit lean on posts.

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