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New USAID-funded Program to Strengthen Worker Cooperatives in Guatemala and Kenya

Published 10/26/2023 by Global Communities

Cooperative worker

Silver Spring, MD – Global Communities announces a new award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement CLEAR+—the second phase of the Cooperative Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) program carried out since 2018. The five-year CLEAR+ program will strengthen the cooperative sectors in Guatemala and Kenya.

CLEAR+ is designed to improve the enabling environment for cooperatives, enhance the capacity of cooperative businesses, and create evidence-based tools that can be applied by cooperative development programs around the world. The program will elevate the worker cooperative model in both countries, with a special focus on women and youth engaged in the gig economy and service sectors.

“Worker cooperatives are less known and typically undervalued than other types of cooperatives, for example agricultural cooperatives. Yet they offer invaluable economic advancement opportunities for individuals in sectors that traditionally attract independent entrepreneurs, such as taxi drivers, artisanal creators and actors,” said Ashley Holst, CLEAR Chief of Party. “I am very excited that we can take lessons learned from our CLEAR program in Kenya and apply them to strengthen worker cooperatives in Guatemala.”

In line with the principles of sustainability and locally led development, Global Communities is poised to apply a market systems approach in CLEAR+. The program will engage local business service providers to coach cooperatives through their inception, start up and registration, rather than supplying these services directly. CLEAR+ will also support the cooperative enabling environment to reduce legal and policy barriers that small worker cooperatives often face, for example in registration, taxation and access to finance. Finally, CLEAR+ will promote gender equality and positive youth development in both countries by advancing women’s and youth’s leadership in cooperatives and focusing on sectors that are appealing to them, such as tourism, technology and the artisan industry.

“Global Communities’ history is deeply rooted in the cooperative movement. The organization was created in 1952 as the Foundation for Cooperative Housing and has supported housing and worker cooperatives in many countries around the world,” said John Holdsclaw IV, Global Communities’ Trustee & President and CEO of Rochdale Capital. “I am thrilled that Global Communities will continue to promote inclusive economic growth and locally led solutions through cooperative development for the next five years.”

For more information, visit our website and watch the recent webinar organized by Global Communities. 

About Global Communities:

Global Communities works at the intersection of humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and financial inclusion to save lives, advance equity and secure strong futures. We support communities at the forefront of their own development in more than 30 countries, partnering with local leaders, governments, civil society and the private sector to achieve a shared vision of a more just, prosperous and equitable global community. Learn more at