After years of preconceptions about co-operatives in developing countries, scholars and international institutions have re-evaluated their role particularly in poverty reduction strategies. Crucial condition is that co-operatives are considered as genuine, authentically participatory enterprises. Here, investigating how these peculiar enterprises affect people’s well-being and contribute to institutional transformation of communities emerges of crucial importance.
The paper, by showing the results of a case study, carried out in the Maranhão State through a field research, provides a methodology to evaluate the genuineness of the co-operative and its impact on people’s well-being and community development. Adopted methodology entails quantitative and participatory methods and, based on the Human Development and Capability Approach (HDCA) framework, it provides a multidimensional analysis of poverty. In such a way, this methodology aims at contributing to overcoming the evaluation of co-operative performance based only on monetary indicators, enhancing the concrete contribution that co-operatives can bring to human development and poverty reduction.