NRECA International facts

NRECA International facts

On July 1, co-ops across the globe will celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives, which recognizes and reaffirms the role of co-ops in economic, social and cultural development.

NRECA International was established in November 1962 to bring electricity to rural communities in developing countries and share lessons learned in the electrification of the rural United States. Working with various funding agencies and international partners, NRECA International has pioneered low-cost rural electrification in countries by designing distribution grids, constructing lines and creating community-owned and operated sustainable utilities.  

Last year REC's lineman Jason Brown, went to Bolivia to help bring electricity to two remote villages. Brown joined other linemen from across Oklahoma and they joined lineman from Missouri to  accomplish this task in two weeks time. 
Over the last 50 years, programs designed by NRECA International have provided more than 126 million people in 43 countries with access to safe, affordable and reliable electricity. 

• Over the last 50 years, NRECA International has helped establish 250 rural utilities around the world. 

• Currently, NRECA International is involved in projects in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia,  Haiti, Bolivia, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the Philippines. 

• NRECA International’s work is supported by many partners. Electrification programs have been made possible with funding support from America’s electric cooperatives, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, bilateral donors and multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. 

• NRECA International provides opportunities for America’s electric cooperatives to share their expertise and help expand electricity access in rural communities around the world. Today, more than 300 electric cooperatives support the work through monetary contributions, material donations and sending hundreds of electric co-op linemen and employees abroad as volunteers. They continue to help bring first-time access to electricity, and train local partners to help utilities be sustainable in their own communities.

• Over the last three years, NRECA International has helped electrification planners in African governments to set out their rural electrification strategies and investment plans in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
• In 2014, NRECA International established a new electric co-op in Haiti with funding from the United Nations Environmental Program, USAID and the Inter-American Bank. Twelve electric cooperatives answered the call to help by sending 40 volunteer linemen to complete the job. 

• Witnessed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, NRECA’s first signed inaugural cooperative agreement with USAID led to the creation of a small electric co-op in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Today, CRE (Cooperativa Rural de Electrificacíon) is the world’s largest electric co-op in the world with 600,000 members. 

• Nearly 50 years ago, NRECA International helped establish a small electrification program in the Philippines funded by USAID. In 2015, the Philippines reached a milestone when the country’s 119 electric co-ops brought electricity to 50 million people in 36,000 rural villages and rural towns.

• NRECA International is implementing the USAID-funded Pilot Project for Sustainable Electricity Distribution (PPSELD) in Caracol, Haiti. PPSELD’s service territory is the only region that receives reliable electricity 24 hours a day providing more than 9,000 consumers with power.  

• In 1983, about 13,000 Bangladesh citizens living in rural areas had access to electricity. That number is now almost 68 million. This growth came as a result of the creation of 79 electric cooperatives started with the help of NRECA International through a USAID program. 

To learn more about NRECA International, visit 

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