ACDI/VOCA Marks 50 Years of Expanding Opportunities Worldwide

Feb 07, 2013, 15:36 ET from ACDI/VOCA

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year ACDI/VOCA celebrates 50 years of empowering people to succeed in the global economy. The international development organization was founded by U.S. farmer cooperatives to build local capacity and create sustainable economic growth.


ACDI/VOCA has fostered broad-based economic growth, raised living standards and created vibrant communities in 145 countries. Its technical and management assistance has enabled organizations—whether enterprises, financial institutions or cooperatives—to manage and finance themselves and thrive.

Long known for agricultural development and food security, ACDI/VOCA has gained prominence for value chain approaches to enterprise development and poverty reduction; establishment of sustainable financial institutions and integration of financial services in agriculture and economic growth projects; and participatory community strengthening. In recent years the company has pioneered climate change, ICT and gender equity programming.

"ACDI/VOCA was established by member-owned, market-oriented U.S. farmer cooperatives, so you could say local capacity building is in our DNA," said Carl Leonard, ACDI/VOCA's president and CEO. Over 90 percent of ACDI/VOCA's staff is locally hired, and 85 percent of its funding goes to program implementation. Today, the organization works with over 3,000 local partner organizations and institutions as it implements 83 projects in 37 countries on behalf of public, private and multilateral funders.

ACDI/VOCA kicked off anniversary activities with a January board meeting and project tour in Jamaica. It launched a refreshed website and announced a new unit to consolidate and promote learning. It is planning learning events and a gathering in June which, as a culmination of the milestone, will celebrate the company's legacy through four historically important projects that have had sustained impact.

A Lasting Legacy

Since 1963 ACDI/VOCA has:

  • helped mount the Green Revolution in India when dire food shortages loomed, and help found a co-op that is now one of the world's largest fertilizer producers
  • strengthened Ethiopian cooperatives, which brought the country's coffee into worldwide prominence
  • pioneered grassroots financial services across the former Soviet Union
  • implemented global cocoa development in conjunction with private sector partners
  • helped USAID to "write the book" on value chain oriented enterprise development
  • placed 11,000 U.S. experts in Farmer-to-Farmer and other volunteer assignments that complemented long-term, systemic projects

Development Works

"We know development works, and that all benefit when economic opportunities expand," remarked Leonard. "Our anniversary milestone is no time to rest on our laurels—the world demands leadership and competence in our areas of expertise, and integrated approaches to complex challenges."

Twitter: @ACDIVOCA

CONTACT: Anja Tranovich, 1-202-469-6095,