Free webinar on education for co-operation

March 12, 1 p.m. EDT: Webinar on “Education for co-operation: How do we educate co-operators?”

The Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network is presenting this webinar to explore how the co-operative sector employs their 5th principle of co-operation – education, training and information. The featured speakers are Karen Miner, Christina Clamp and Erin Hancock.

Erin will begin by providing the results of a scan of Canadian co-op educational initiatives including those undertaken by primary co-ops, federations, universities and consultants. This research provides an understanding of what type of work is happening and points to opportunities for improvement as well. Erin is the Manager of Research and Education for the Canadian Co-operative Association.

Karen will speak about the status of a current study for the 2014 International Summit Co-operatives on the state of co-operative management education. Also, she will profile the International Consortium of Leaders in Co-operative Business Education – a new, global network of institutions providing education and training for co-operative enterprises. Karen is the Managing Director of graduate level Co-operative Management Education at Saint Mary’s University.

Chris will report on a US-focused cooperative inventory project that captured: the scope of educational and/or training programs and materials; evaluation of specific materials; identification of other outstanding materials; and gaps in, or problems with, cooperative educational materials. Chris also conducted research to map the study of cooperatives in higher education in the USA and Canada in 2012-13.  She will report on the results of both studies and discuss the policy implications for co-op education. Chris Clamp is a professor of sociology at Southern New Hampshire University and director of the doctoral program in Community Economic Development and of the Center for Co-operatives and CED.

Evaluation confirms that co-operatives reduce poverty

Co-operatives in the developing world are improving the livelihoods of their members and Canadian efforts to support those co-operatives are helping them do that.

Those are just two of the findings from a comprehensive evaluation of Canadian support to co-operatives commissioned by the Canadian International Development Agency– now the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).  The evaluation is the first of its kind, focusing on a specific development approach  rather than a project or organization and was prompted, in part, to commemorate the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.  The evaluation looked at the work of three organizations – The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), Développement International Desjardins(DID), and SOCODEVI – in three countries – Guatemala, Vietnam, and Burkina Faso.  Three other countries where co-operative development has not been particularly successful – Cameroon, Honduras, and Tanzania -were chosen as “deviant case studies”  in an effort to more accurately isolate those things that work, and do not work in developing successful co-operative movements.

Visit CCA’s website to read the evaluation.

-Canadian Co-operative Association

Call for graduate students to research gender and international co-op projects

The Canadian Co-operative Association seeks keen graduate students who are looking to study gender, co-operatives and international development. These research projects will be invaluable in contributing to international programming.

Departments of Focus: Women’s studies, International Development, Education, Public Policy

About the Canadian Co-operative Association: The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is the national association of credit unions and co-operatives in English-speaking Canada, representing more than nine million co-operative and credit union members from over 2,000 organizations.  CCA is a federally-incorporated co-operative, owned by its member organizations.

CCA’s International development Unit supports co-operative development activities in over 12 countries, funded by CIDA and other development agencies, and in partnership with local co-operatives. International projects range from agricultural production and marketing co-operatives, trade, credit union strengthening projects, microfinance, housing and multi-sectoral co-operatives. In many of these projects, beneficiaries are in poor regions and sectors that are underserved by the mainstream economy. Several CCA projects target women or ethnic minorities. Our approach is to help people in developing countries to develop sustainable co-operatives, owned and controlled by members, through which members and their communities benefit.

Opportunities for graduate students:CCA is seeking to recruit graduate students interested in doing a) secondary desktop research and/or b) primary research on gender issues related to CCA’s current international projects and programming.

CCA is looking to recruit graduate students who would be interested in a) carrying out desktop research and analysis of CCA programming documents about gender issues to contribute to CCA’s international programming; and/or b) carrying out field research on gender issues related to CCA’s projects in Africa, Asia or the Americas. CCA can offer existing project sites as potential research sites for graduate students looking for local organizations to partner with to carry out graduate research on gender and development issues.

CCA is seeking to recruit interested graduate students in the departments of Women’s studies, International development, Education or Public Policy.

The volunteer graduate student would study a particular topic presented by CCA for desktop research and analysis, or pick a CCA project, choose a topic and mould their research around it.

The volunteer would potentially develop a critical analysis piece to contribute to CCA’s learning about its gender programming and to help deepen CCA’s understanding about what is happening on the ground in the communities where CCA is carrying out development projects.

More details

-Sarah Feldberg, Volunteer Coordinator, Canadian Co-operative Association

Donna Balkan wins CASC Merit Award

Donna Balkan of the Canadian Co-operative Association was awarded the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation Merit Award at the annual co-op research conference of CASC last week in Victoria, BC. Donna has been a steward of the CASC scholarships for a number of years, she enthusiastically promotes the work of Canadian co-op researchers and she elevates the awareness of co-operatives across our country (and beyond). In addition, Donna also engages in research as a practitioner. At the conference last week she presented a study of Canada’s largest co-ops and how they showcase (or fail to showcase) co-op identity on their websites. She created metrics to rank performance on measures of co-op communications.

CASC’s board and members were thrilled to celebrate someone who has contributed so much. If you would like to congratulate her, you can do so on twitter using #coopresearch or by email at

Great work Donna!

CCEDNet Webinar on Social Economy Research in Canada

The Canadian Community Economic Development Network is hosting a webinar focusing on social economy research, including co-operatives.

18 Apr 2013 at 12:00pm EDT (1:30pm Newfoundland, 1pm Atlantic, 12pm Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific)
The research on the social economy undertaken between 2005 and 2012 by the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, the national hub and the six regional research nodes continues.  This webinar will share the latest research activities relevant to CED policy and practice from several current research programs.  This session will deepen the connections between practitioners and researchers in the CED and social economy fields:  participants will hear who is doing what, what research outputs are available and what is expected, and how to get involved.


Register at

Free webinar! April 25 – The ICA principles in large co-ops: “just for show” or integral to success?

April 25, 1 p.m. EDT: Webinar on The ICA principles in large co-ops: “just for show” or integral to success? Organized by the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network.

When a co-op becomes very large, are these principles difficult to follow? For instance, what happens when a co-operative becomes so large that the vast majority of members don’t exercise their voting rights? Is the principle of Democratic Member Control still relevant?

In this webinar, Ghislain Paradis of IRECUS (, and formerly of Desjardins, argues that some ICA principles are based on idealism rather than realism; he suggests that large co-operatives cannot effectively adopt these principles in a way that would allow them to meet their needs in the global marketplace.

In response, we will hear from the MCDRN’s own Sonja Novkovic, of the Sobey of School Business at Saint Mary’s Univeristy, whose research involves working with worker co-ops to improve their ability to operationalize the ICA principles and values.  Dr. Novkovic will argue that the ICA Principles remain just as valuable and relevant as co-ops grow.

After we hear from Ghislain and Sonja, two respondents will give their own input on the debate:
1. A representative from The Co-operators.
2. John Restakis on his research on large consumer co-ops in BC.

To register, go to

Free webinar today you don’t want to miss! Register now!

The Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network is pleased to invite you to an exciting webinar. Please forward widely to colleagues and fellow co-operators as this is a free and public webinar.

 Community-focused international development – Canadian co-operatives in international development

January 22, 12:00 p.m. Eastern
Register now:


Michael Wodzicki of the Canadian Co-operative Association, International Department

Alain Plouffe of SOCODEVI

France Michaud of Développement international Desjardins

Dr. Darryl Reed of York University and CASC

This webinar explores the goals, activities and impacts the Canadian co-operative movement has had on communities across the globe. Développement international Desjardins, SOCODEVI and the International Development Department of the Canadian Co-operative Association have been active in supporting community-focused development through supporting co-op growth and development. The three organizations have recently published a report entitled “Creating Wealth, Reducing Poverty and Building a Better World: Canadian Co-operatives in International Development” (