In 2004, the co-op federation was tapped by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to rescue war-ravaged Afghanistan through cooperative system. VICTO National pooled 15 consultants to train, educate and help Afghans to set up cooperatives in the area. The project took off in 2004 and was completed in 2009. Today, more than 40 cooperative units have sprouted in Afghanistan, giving rise to hopes that once agricultural proficiency can be recovered, the country would be well on its way to national economic recovery.
Sustaining the gains made over the past decades was a challenge for the federation in 2005. Members enacted a strategic 5-yea development plan called ‘VICTO 2010.” Anchored in unifying core values of VICTO National and its affiliates, the plan received overwhelming support. They pledged to back the strategic plan through the Mensahe sa Botelya (message in a bottle) ritual conducted in 2006. Affiliates in many parts of the country opened their own ATM machines in 2007, a concrete step towards realizing connectivity among federation members.
In 2008, VICTO National held its first Annual General Meeting and national convention outside the Visayas area. The gathering of more than 500 delegates in Baguio City proved to be auspicious as the assembly approved a network sustainability plan-VICTO Endowment Fund. The Fund is a repository of donations given by co-ops, individuals and other donors.
The Endowment Fund ensures VICTO National’s sustainability and the future of genuine cooperativism. The Fund’s principal amount shall remain untouched, and only the interest income from the fund over and above inflation rate and a pre-determined percent for net present value, can be used for operations. As of 2010, more than PHP 11 million had been poured in to the VICTO National’s Endowment Fund.
After its inception, VICTO National spent the first 10 years organizing households into cooperatives. One of the first cooperatives organized by VICTO National is the Cebu CFI Community, a highly successful co-op with assets amounting to more than PHP 4.7 Billion. The Cebu CFI Community Cooperative is the first billionaire co-op in central Philippines.
The decade was devoted to strengthening the capabilities of affiliates to become effective and efficient instruments of development. Towards the end of the 80’s, VICTO National spun off its financing arm called the Visayas Co-op Central Fund Federation (VICTO VCF). As a separate entity, VCF comes close to a robust commercial bank, with 190 member co-ops and total assets of over PHP 180 million. It is now called the Philippine Cooperative Central Fund Federation (PCF).
VICTO National’s impact on business development among its members made such an impact that it was awarded for development management by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and World Executive Digest. The cooperative federation went global after it got accepted as a full member of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), the largest non-government institution that unites, represents and serves cooperatives worldwide. VICTO National is the 240th member of ICA.
VICTO National also partnered with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), another strong family network of credit unions. WOCCU has set a benchmark in implementing model Credit union Building Program through its Credit Union Empowerment and Strengthening Project in Eastern Visayas.
To celebrate 40 years of great cooperative success and a legacy of passion and dedication to co-op building for total human development, VICTO National’s Annual General Meeting in Davao adopted a year long program to enact VICTO 2020. The process involves ownership meetings, stakeholders’ conference, regional assemblies in the run up to the Annual General Assembly Meeting.
The highlight of VICTO National’s 40th anniversary was the Ruby Convention, during which the federation launched L.I.F.E. or Livelihood, Institute, Federation Strengthening and Endowment Fund.
In July, SEEDS (Strengthening thru Education and Economic Development for Sustainability) was implemented. SEEDS is a three-year project with a total project cost of over PHP 23 million. Training on leadership, policy formulation and bookkeeping workshops and internal audit were conducted among officers and members of six co-ops from August to December. This project is tri-partite partnership with six Seed Grower co-ops having 2,086 farmer-members in five provinces in the Luzon and one in Mindanao.
In October, VICTO National helped craft the Philippine Co-op Sector’s 10 year Strategic Direction, “Toward a Shared Vision.” The federation also actively developed the Co-op Education modules and a competency-based curriculum for Board of Directors and officers for finance service co-ops, in collaboration with the Co-op Education Forum.
The federation actively developed suitable programs to accomplish the goals of its redefined co-op mission: Agro-based business and social health enterprise in partnership with the Rabo Bank Foundation and the European Commission, respectively.
November saw the launching of the Renewing Agri-Business Opportunities (RABO) Project inception activities through presentations, assessments and discussions with seven target farmers co-ops engaged in banana and dairy production in Davao, Antique and Negros Provinces. RABO is a five-year project with total funding EUR 750,000.
The project team right away rolled its sleeves to formulate the three-month project installation plan.
The EVAcoh (Eastern Visayas Area Cooperation on Health) project for 10 partner-affiliates in Region 8 was immediately signed. The project aims to enhance access to efficient and effective maternal and child health facilities and services. Total project cost is EUR 645,396 for a period of three years. It is in partnership with PHANSup, the linking organization in the Philippines of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance since 1994.