IFAD delegation visits cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna: “Your model helps developing countries”.

The cooperative model represents an opportunity to boost the economies of developing countries. This became clear thanks to yesterday’s visit to some cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna by a delegation of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), the specialized agency of the UN in charge of fighting poverty in rural areas of developing countries, with the participation of Adriana Apollonio, Deputy Head of Representation of the Italian Embassy at the Roman pole of UN Agencies. The initiative was organized by Confcooperative and Coopermondo to promote international cooperation projects in favour of disadvantaged populations.
“I was very impressed by the wide range of cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna that are part of Confcooperative – said Donal Brown, associate vice-president IFAD, who led the delegation – The International Fund for Agricultural Development, based in Rome, works to help poor farmers in developing countries and does so in conjunction with cooperatives, among others. Starting with this visit, I see many opportunities for a joint effort by IFAD and Confcooperative to support poor communities in developing countries”.
Starting from the Corte d’Aibo cooperative in Monteveglio, on the hills of Bologna, one of the first in the area to embrace organic farming thirty years ago and which now manages a wine farm and a holiday farm, the delegation moved to the Modena area, where they had the chance to get to know the production of some of the best products from Emilia-Romagna known throughout the world. In particular, the Parmigiano Reggiano produced by the 4 Madonne dairy cooperative of Lesignana and the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena made by a member of the cooperative La Tradizione in their garret in Nonantola. After a lunch with typical products at the Locanda degli Smeraldi in Bentivoglio (Bo) run by the social cooperative Anima, which employs disabled children, the delegation moved to the Serre dei Giardini Margherita in Bologna to meet the Kilowatt cooperative (an innovative start-up that regenerated a public space by opening a restaurant, educational services, co-working and promoting events) and Local to You, an online platform for buying fruit and vegetables that promotes organic and local agriculture in partnership with other social cooperatives.
“It was a very interesting visit – said the president of Confcooperative Fedagripesca Giorgio Mercuri – because it allowed us to show IFAD our cooperative system, made of small producers who, by joining together, are able to enhance their production at an international level and to restore dignity even to the weakest links in the agricultural chain”.
“Emilia-Romagna is the cradle of the cooperative movement that has developed here more than anywhere else – added Carlo Piccinini, president of Confcooperative Fedagripesca Emilia-Romagna – so we are very happy if our business model that focuses on producer members becomes a source of inspiration for developing countries”.
Coopermondo, the NGO of Confcooperative, promotes the cooperative model at an international level in the most vulnerable areas and in 2016 signed a letter of intent with IFAD. “Visits like the one carried out in Emilia-Romagna – noted Camilla Carabini, director of Coopermondo – are very important because they increase the awareness of international institutions about the effectiveness of the cooperative model, which can find fertile ground even in socio-economic contexts different from the Italian one, adapting to the peculiarities of individual states but without changing the essential values such as active and democratic participation of members, redistribution of wealth and prosperity generation for the entire community”.

Mostra 10 anni Coopermondo

Coopermondo: 10 years of cooperation among cooperatives

“We do what we are good at: cooperating in the fields of agriculture, credit, welfare, responsible tourism and to help eliminating inequalities in the world. This is the most effective demonstration of the sixth co-operative principle “cooperation among co-operatives” that goes behind every boundary”. Maurizio Gardini, President of Confcooperative, opens the event dedicated to the celebration of the 10 years of international cooperative development done by Coopermondo, the NGO created by Confcooperative and Federcasse in 2007. “We are proud to be among the founders of this organization. Together we work with in Togo to promote the cooperative movement and strengthen financial inclusion”, says Augusto Dell’Erba, President of Federcasse (apex organization for credit cooperatives).
With 10 international cooperation projects, Coopermondo has contributed to the creation of 152 new cooperative enterprises in Africa and Latin America, training more than 1,143 technicians in agriculture, fisheries and sustainable tourism, benefiting directly and indirectly over 25,000 people. The countries where Coopermondo works – or worked – are: Togo, Colombia, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Benin, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal.
Many personalities wanted to accompany Coopermondo during its celebrations. Starting with Colombia’s ambassador to Italy, Juan Mesa Zuleta, who praised Coopermondo’s alliance with the SENA because “together, we are building peace”. The Minister of Plenipotentiary Gianluca Grandi, of the Directorate General for Development Cooperation – DGCS and Dr. Valentina Muiesan, the First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in the agencies of the Roman pole of the United Nations, were also present.
“In 10 years Coopermondo has grown a lot. It is now an NGO recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it plays an important role in the Italian cooperation system. The political position he has acquired is already a demonstration of the impact of his work”, says Coopermondo’s President, Francesco Carri.
“We promote the Italian cooperative model in the world as an excellency that many look with admiration,” explains Vice-President Claudia Fiaschi. “We bring our  co-operative experienced to the territories, we create empathy with people and only through an honest exchange of experiences and knowledge we can create a real change“.
The word has then been given to those who have been on the field: Alessandra Nasti, CIRSPE biologist who accompanied trout producers and fishermen in Colombia to improve their productions; Paola Vanzetti of Gestcooper, Confcooperative Piemonte, who accompanied the rice cooperatives in Cameroon and Giovanni Pausini, a cooperator from Emilia-Romagna, who has been following agricultural producers in Togo and Colombia for many years.
The exhibition “Horizons, Thoughts, Colors – Faces of Co-operation” has been launched during the event. It is composed by 9 photos that illustrates Coopermondo’s commitment in contributing to United Nations 2030 Agenda  and at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Each image is associated with an SDG that shows how Coopermondo contribute to alleviating poverty, defeating hunger in the world, promoting decent work and quality education, developing a gender approach, promoting the pacification of war-torn territories and strengthening Global partnerships.
“All this is possible thanks to the training and technical assistance that our cooperators always bring to our partner countries. According to the beneficiaries we work with, they are the ones making the difference. The key to Coopermondo’s success is to provide practical and concrete answers to territories’ needs and provide market access for thousands of producers in developing countries: we mix empathy and solidarity with professionalism and technical experience”, concludes Coopermondo’s Director Danilo Salerno.
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Happy holidays from Coopermondo

An intense year that has brought us huge satisfactions, is now getting to an end. We grew in terms of working team in order to be ready to the increasing demands coming from the NGO world and to give new opportunities to our members in terms of Italian, European and International grants. We grew in terms of projects and beneficiaries: in Colombia we started a long-term program that, within the framework of the Peace Accord signed between the Government and the FARC, will contribute in reconstructing the economic and social tissue in the country; in Cameroon we begun a collaboration with IFAD (the UN Fund for Rural Development) within the MoU framework we signed last year; we have renovated our agreement with the Government of Togo, signing our commitment to strengthen young cooperator in the country; and we have reinforced our partnership with the Italian NGO CEFA in Kenya and Mozambique. We also grew in terms of network within the organizations associated to Confcooperative that are dedicated to international cooperation and that we want to represent and accompany to strengthen their actions in the world.
In 2016 our efforts and work have been recognized at multiple level. The International Cooperative Alliance awarded our pledge as the most relevant within their members to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Colombia the SENA (National Service for Professional Education – Ministry of Labour), our local partner, have appreciated our work in many public and official occasions. People we work with in the latin america country – the beneficiaries, the instructors, the local producers – with their smiles, enthusiasm and their will to build a better world, are our greatest satisfaction. Same in Togo where, jointly with Federcasse and the pool of cooperative banks, we brought a group of young cooperators that had the chance to share with togoloean youth their experiences and show that it is easy to build bridges within cultures that seems so different but have many things in common.
An intense year is getting to an end but there are many premises that 2017 will be even brighter. We will also reach our first important goal: 10 years of international cooperation in March 2017! Coopermondo is now mature to celebrate.
People are at the centre of our way of working: this is our strength and this is what we will never renounce. And to YOU all, that have contributed to support us, we dedicate this 2016. Keep on being with us because without your cooperation our results would not have the same sweet taste.

Merry Christmas and a 2017 of peace and solidarity for all!


Francesco Carri (President)
Claudia Fiaschi (Vice President)