Monday, July 14, 2008

The untiring Support of CHF International to the Philippine Cooperative Movement

CHF International is applying a variety of existing best practices and methodological tools to help cooperative stakeholders improve their performance through the Innovating, Measuring and Promoting Poverty Alleviation by Cooperatives in Transition Societies (IMPPACTS) program. Implemented in Bosnia, Mongolia and the Philippines, this initiative is working with cooperative organizations to develop enabling environments for the growth of cooperatives businesses in each respective country.

In the Philippines, specifically, CHF International has been working with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), the main government body in charge of cooperatives in the Philippines, strengthening its regulatory capacity and increasing its transparency and efficiency.

Cooperative businesses comprise close to 13% of the national gross domestic product in the Philippines, with more than 30,000 active cooperatives throughout the country. In 2003, the sector directly and indirectly employed more than 1.5 million Filipinos. The cooperative business model clearly offers the promise of employing thousands more with guidance and expansion of the sector.

CHF has been working with USAID and major stakeholders in the cooperative sector by providing support to the CDA in several key areas, including improving CDA's registry of active cooperatives and developing a Standard Chart of Accounts and performance standards for non-credit cooperatives.

Through these activities, the CDA will be able to effectively and efficiently track performance of cooperatives and assist them in further developing their attributes and turning their weaknesses into strengths.


Performance Standards for Non-Credit Cooperatives Developed in Philippines

Until now, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), the Philippines' main government body in charge of regulating all cooperatives throughout the country, has had no way of measuring the performance of non-credit cooperatives.

As part of the Innovating, Measuring, and Promoting Poverty Alleviation through Cooperatives in Transition Societies (IMPPACTS) program, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, CHF International has been working with the CDA to develop such standards.

After holding a series of workshops and consultations with members of both transport and producers' cooperatives, CHF helped to develop the first two Standard Chart of Accounts (SCA) to assist the CDA in ensuring the soundness of management and policy decisions affecting their growth.

More than 200 transport cooperatives and 150 producers’ cooperatives provided input for the development of these standards. Representatives of local government units, private practitioners, and members of non-governmental organizations involved in transportation regulation and management or production and manufacturing businesses provided input as well.

Thousands of producers’ and transport cooperatives are expected to adopt the standards over the following months.

The CDA’s next goal is to develop SCAs for marketing and service cooperatives with CHF’s assistance.


Cooperative Information System Launched Nationwide in the Philippines

CHF International has been working with the CDA through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Innovating, Measuring, and Promoting Poverty Alleviation through Cooperatives in Transition Societies (IMPPACTS) program to improve its ability to monitor and regulate active credit and non-credit cooperatives throughout the country. The creation of the CIS is vital in the CDA’s efforts to strengthen cooperatives in the Philippines.

The CIS was designed as a web-based database so that it can be accessed in real time at any of the CDA’s 15 Extension Centers throughout the country.In addition, the Cooperative Annual Performance Report (CAPR) System, which contains current information on each cooperative’s annual organizational and financial status, will be integrated into the CIS.

Prior to the implementation of the CIS, the CDA had no way of monitoring cooperatives and little accurate information existed to measure their performance. Today, the more than 20,000 operating cooperatives in the Philippines now have standards to measure their performance, allowing them to further strengthen their attributes and turn their weaknesses into strengths.

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