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Understanding Rural Co-operative Resilience in Malawi: A Pilot Study


Hazel Johnson (The Open University)
Alexander Borda-Rodriguez (The Open University)
Linda Shaw (UK Co-operative College)
Sara Vicari (UK Co-operative College)


Funding is gratefully acknowledged from the Leverhulme Trust (research grants). All content on this page is the sole responsibility of the project investigators.

Grant period: 1 October 2012 - 30 September 2013.

Aims and objectives

The changes in the global economy and the financial crisis require new thinking about models of social and economic organisation and about how to promote resilience. What makes resilient social and economic organisation was the central aim of this pilot project.

The project was a partnership between The Open University and the Co-operative College UK, and carried out fieldwork in Malawi with four co-operative unions. By investigating the distinctive nature of the co-operative model, the project aimed to provide insights into the enabling and limiting factors that might be required for the development of organisational resilience.

Find out more about the research.


Borda-Rodriguez, A. and Vicari, S. (2013) Understanding Rural Co-operative Resilience: A Literature Review, IKD Working Paper No 64 (Milton Keynes, The Open University).
Borda-Rodriguez, A. and Vicari, S. (2014a) The Malawian Co-operative Movement: Insights for Resilience, IKD Working Paper No 69 (Milton Keynes, The Open University).
Borda-Rodriguez, A. and Vicari, S. (2014b) Rural Co-operative Resilience: The case of Malawi, Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 2(1): 43-52.
Borda-Rodriguez, A. and Vicari, S. (2015) Coffee Co-operatives in Malawi: Building Resilience through Innovation, Annals of Public and Co-operative Economics, 86(2): 317-338.
Borda-Rodriguez, A., Johnson, H., Shaw, L. and Vicari, S. (2015, online) What makes rural co-operatives resilient in developing countries?, Journal of International Development.
Borda-Rodriguez, A. and Johnson, H. (2015) Reshaping Inclusive Development? The Case of Co-operative Enterprises, IKD Working Paper No 79 (Milton Keynes, The Open University).


Hazel Johnson

Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502