ACDI/VOCA is a private, international development nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C, United States. ACDI/VOCA’s mission is "to promote economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice".
Agricultural Cooperative Development International
ACDI (Agricultural Cooperative Development International) was formed in 1963 by major U.S. farm cooperatives. Its principal objective was to provide expertise and support to cooperative enterprises in developing countries.
ACDI helped found IFFCO, India's largest fertilizer company, re-established cooperative banking in Poland, and set up large business-oriented farmer organizations in East Africa, including the cooperative unions in Sidama and Yergacheffe, Ethiopia, that enabled direct export of coffee from those regions.
Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
VOCA (Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance) was established in 1970 to provide volunteer assistance in developing countries. In 1985 VOCA was the first implementer of the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program. Volunteers have included bank presidents, coffee roasters, grain storage specialists and business magnates. After the fall of the Soviet Union, a substantial number of assignments were carried out in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States, in many cases providing entrepreneurs there with exposure to the dynamics of the private sector and modern commercial operations.
In 1997 the two organizations merged to form ACDI/VOCA. The merger combined ACDI’s long-term development approaches and VOCA’s people-to-people volunteer activities. Formerly the acronym stood for the combination of the two entities (Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance), but today its legal name is solely the acronym. The organization’s programming currently revolves around value chain approaches to enterprise development, self-sustaining financial services development, farmer organization, agribusiness development, self-help community development, and food aid, among other competencies. The organization sends hundreds of U.S. volunteer experts overseas each year on short-term assignments. It has worked in 146 nations.
ACDI/VOCA works in five main areas:
ACDI/VOCA receives funding from various donors, including USAID, USDA, the World Bank, UNDP, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and other development funders. ACDI/VOCA also partners with private sector corporations.
- "Vision, Mission & Values". ACDI/VOCA. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- ACDI/VOCA spreads co-op model worldwide. Rural Cooperatives. 1 May 2004.
- "Our Story". ACDI/VOCA. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- McCullough, Jill. ACDI/VOCA brings business to the world. Business First. 10 Nov. 2000.
- "ACDI/VOCA at a Glance". ACDI/VOCA. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
Non-governmental institutions play a key role in international development alongside government institutions. According to an article from the World Bank, NGOs working on international development are “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development.” The World Bank then adds “In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any non-profit organization which is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organizations, which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Although the NGO sector has become increasingly professionalized over the last two decades, principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics.” (Malena, Carmen. Working with NGOs, 1995) The ACDI/VOCA is one of many international development agencies devoted to promoting positive economic and social change worldwide. Standing for, Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, the ACDI/VOCA is a private international nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. ACDI was formed in 1963 by major U.S farm cooperatives with the main objective of providing skills and support to cooperative enterprises in developing countries. VOCA was established in 1970 to offer volunteer assistance in developing countries. Volunteers have included bank presidents, coffee roasters, grain storage specialists and business magnates. In 1997 the two organizations merged to form ACDI/VOCA. The merger combined ACDI’s long-term development approaches and VOCA’s people-to-people volunteer activities. 2013 marks 50 years this non-governmental institution has been empowering people worldwide. There are a few different ways someone could be a “member” of ACDI/VOCA. Unlike a governmental institution of international development, no one is elected per say into the program. You can go to ACDI/VOCA’s official website and apply to be a volunteer. Simply create an account in the international recruitment system and submit a current resume. ACDI/VOCA looks for people with ten years of experience in business, agriculture, banking and financial services, marketing, cooperative and association development, food processing, community development, and other areas. You may also become a member of ACDI/VOCA’s Service Learning Corps by being a graduate student (within two years) in the areas of agriculture and international studies. Assignments are typically 2-4 weeks and are no cost to the volunteer. airfare, immunizations, meals and health insurance are all provided. Lastly, you may participate in this non-governmental institution by simply donating money. Donations send more expert volunteers oversee. These donations are also tax-deductible. ACDI/VOCA is set apart from other organizations because it does not address single problems in isolation, but rather combines methods in five practice areas of development: Agribusiness, community development, enterprise development, financial services, and food security. Agribusiness is improved by making it more efficient to grow crops, process and market, improve productivity, and improve the profit margins of large numbers of smallholder farms. Interventions by the ACDI/VOCA minimize market distortions and allow private sector participants to act on their own behalf. In the area of community development, the ACDI/VOCA applies community-driven development approaches to contribute to livelihoods, alternative development and community stabilization. This institution assists communities in identifying market-based economic opportunities that have long-term potential. Support includes value chain activities, climate-smart agriculture, micro and small business development, vocational training and employment programs. ACDI/VOCA facilitates economic growth and poverty reduction by working through market systems. This approach drives wealth creation while ensuring that benefits reach down the supply chain to small-scale producers and other poor economic actors.
Enterprise development starts and ends with markets: understanding consumer demand and ensuring that value chain actors have the tools to adapt and respond to it. ACDI/VOCA uses a market system approach to drive investment and help foster inclusive, long lasting, and mutually benefiting relationships among all the value chain actors. -Geoffrey Chalmers, Managing Director for Enterprise Development.
ACDI/VOCA expands financial services to small enterprises and rural households: advocating for and obtaining changes in laws in regulations, developing new and partnering with local commercial banks, expand collateral through warehouse receipts and inventory credit systems, and by supporting local partners’ efforts in financial aid and risk management, new product development, financial analysis, and funding expansion. In order to succeed in its missions to promote economic opportunities worldwide, ACDI/VOCA first ensures that beneficiaries can meet their basic food needs and that vulnerability to future crises is reduced. There is an increase in availability and quality in local and regional markets, improved consumer access, and enhanced ability to respond to future shocks through the development of contingency plans, training, and promotion of sustainable practices. (ACDI/VOCA Institution. Who We Are, 2013) This organization believes these are the main factors in promoting healthy development worldwide. Many examples of what ACDI/VOCA is doing in our world today can be given. Thanks to this organization, Egypt is now a net exporter of tomato paste. ACDI/VOCA proved that Upper Egypt's smallholder producers could be reliable providers of high-quality, traceable products. Average tomato yields in project areas doubled as a result activities by this institution, and many farmers tripled and even quadrupled their yields. (Tranovich, Anja. ACDI/VOCA Conference) Egypt is currently facing harsh circumstances, so this growth of livelihood opportunities is more important than ever. Limited access to financing prevents potential buyers from buying supplies on the world market. Monetization provides those buyers with financing options. For example, monetization programs can offer more flexible payment terms than what is commercially available by not requiring an international letter of credit or allowing payment in installments, rather than full payment upon delivery. In Uganda, ACDI/VOCA allows buyers to buy wheat in installments, which encourages a wide variety of millers to participate and is particularly helpful to those with cash-flow limitations. (Informa Economics, The Value of Food Aid Monetization, 5) Organizations seem to be worried that with current economic issues, substantial progress in the developing world may be damaged. ACDI/VOCA disagrees. IFPRI’s Dr. Qusmane Badiane argues, “This is the worst time to disinvest in agriculture. For the first time, we have the right conditions to make a difference.”
ACDI/VOCA Institution “Who We Are." News. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. www.ACDI/VOCA.org
Informa Economis. The Value of Food Aid Monetization: Benefits, Risks, and Best Practices, 2012, November. Memphis, TN. www.foodaid.org/news
Malena, Carmen. Working with NGOs: a practical guide to operational collaboration between the World Bank and nongovernmental organizations. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1995. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/1995/03/697561/working-ngos-practical-guide-operational-collaboration-between-world-bank-nongovernmental-organizations
Tranovich, Anja. ACDI/VOCA Hosts Conference on Boosting Agricultural Investment in Upper Egypt, Caito, Egypt. October 1, 2013. Via Globe Newswire. http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/10/01/577383/10050841/en/ACDI-VOCA-Hosts-Conference-on-Boosting-Agricultural-Investment-in-Upper-Egypt.html?parent=574065.