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"The name ACDI/VOCA dates back to the 1997 merger of Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance. Both were U.S. nonprofit economic development organizations working largely in agriculture. The merger achieved new economies of scale and blended the complementary strengths of ACDI’s long-term development approaches and VOCA’s people-to-people volunteer activities.

"ACDI (first known as the International Cooperative Development Association) was formed in 1963 by major U.S. farm cooperatives. Membership soon included farm credit banks. Its principal objective was “to plan…and provide management for cooperative economic enterprises…in those foreign countries that are objects of the foreign aid program of the United States.” ACDI helped develop cooperatives around the world. Major successes included helping to found the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO), today Asia's largest fertilizer concern, re-establishing cooperative banking in Poland, carrying out food aid monetization programs in Uganda, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, and setting up vast business-oriented farmer organizations in Ethiopia and Malawi. ACDI eventually grew away from an exclusive co-op focus and into a full service economic development organization. Today it is known for value chain approaches to enterprise development, self-sustaining financial services development, farmer organization, self-help community development and efforts toward the stability of fragile states, among other competencies.

"VOCA (known at inception as the Volunteer Development Corps) was established in 1970 to provide volunteer assistance in developing countries. In 1983 its name was changed to VOCA. In 1985 VOCA was the first implementer of the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program. All told, 10,750 assignments have been carried out in 130 countries by highly qualified volunteer specialists over 40 years. 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 their first exposure to the dynamics of the private sector and modern commercial operations. Before she became secretary of agriculture and executive director of UNICEF, Ann Veneman advised Belarus on agriculture policy as an ACDI/VOCA volunteer.

"ACDI/VOCA receives funding from USAID, USDA, the World Bank, UNDP, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other development funders, and is partnering with a growing number of private sector corporations such as Mars, Inc., H.J. Heinz Company and Nestlé. It is affiliated with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Farm Credit Council, and it has approximately 11 U.S. business and bank members." [1]


Accessed March 2011: [2]


Accessed March 2011: [3]



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  1. About, ACDI/VOCA, accessed March 20, 2011.
  2. Team, ACDI/VOCA, accessed March 20, 2011.
  3. Team, ACDI/VOCA, accessed March 20, 2011.