Land O'Lakes Teams Up for 'Transformational' IDEA Launch
Last month, the Land O’Lakes Cooperative Development Program (CDP) launched the International Dairy Enterprise Alliance (IDEA) at the first Cooperative-to-Cooperative Learning Series event in Nairobi, Kenya, February 28 – March 1. Created as a core component of CDP, which is being funded by the American People through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), IDEA is a learning network designed to provide dairy cooperatives in developing countries with the information, resources and technology they need to thrive and be competitive in national and regional markets.
"The event was magical," said Rebecca Savoie, Practice Manager for Cooperative Development. "Participants walked away with actionable items and took back ideas to their cooperatives to help transform their businesses." The IDEA network is comprised of cooperatives, development organizations, research organizations, input suppliers, government bodies and nongovernmental organizations and other private sector partners.
Over 40 attendees came from various cooperatives, including multibillion dollar businesses similar to Land O'Lakes, Inc. Because the rules that govern cooperatives are universal and the cooperative structure is unique, participants found that they shared similar challenges. “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," said Rebecca.
|Rebecca Savoie (left) networks with IDEA participants |
The three-day event, which was co-sponsored by Cooperative Resources International (CRI), covered three core topics: member engagement, governance and board manager relations. "We didn't anticipate participants to be so engaged. The breakout sessions were particularly successful," remarked Lloyd Banwart, CDP Fellow from the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University.
"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 Rebecca. Plans are already in the works for the next IDEA Cooperative-to-Cooperative Learning Series, which will be held in 2013 in India.
To date, Land O’Lakes International Development’s programs have assisted some 3 million people, and built or strengthened over 3,000 cooperatives worldwide. This is Land O’Lakes International Development’s third five-year USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program.
For more information on the Cooperative Development Program, click here. For more information on IDEA, click here.