Land O’Lakes, an International Development and nonprofit organization that aims at transforming lives has developed a tool that will help to phase out mismanagement challenges among local cooperatives.
‘Cooperative measurement tool’ (PM2) which was developed under ‘Cooperative Development Activity’ project (CD4)’was presented to cooperative leaders and the Rwanda Cooperative Agency on May 16 in Kigali City.
PM tool is used in conducting research and assessing existing challenges among cooperatives and in providing possible solutions accordingly.
The end result is to help cooperative beneficiaries Used by trainers to measure cooperative challenges including; poor accountability of funds, leadership, miss management of funds poor marketing of Cooperative products, poor service delivery, among others.
CD4 trainings will start with maize cooperatives in Rwamagana and Horticulture cooperatives in Bugesera, both in Eastern province districts.
Other beneficiaries are Dairy cooperatives in Gicumbi district- Northern Province, according to Willy Nyirigira CD4 project manager.
“The selection of these beneficiaries was done with help of Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) and other partners to make sure that the training goes to exact beneficiaries,” Nyirigira said.
“We will make sure that cooperatives are really empowered in leadership, marketing for their own products, proper governance of cooperative properties among other skills.”
According to Nyirigira, after the trainings cooperatives leaders will be tested and graduated in categories including; class one, two and three, depending on their performances.
CD4 project is targeting representatives of 24 cooperatives. The project will be executed at a cost of $7.5 million in five years.
Specifically, CD4 targets 6 dairy cooperatives in Gicumbi, 2 Horticulture projects from Bugesera and 4 maize cooperatives in Rwamagana district and will be implemented in two phases.
This project(CD4) comes at the moment local cooperatives are economically expanding, yet facing challenges of miss management of funds, marketing accessibility and products pricing.
“Our cooperative keeps on expanding. We are now producing over 38,000liters of milk worth over Rwf 7Million daily. This is a lot of money that needs high skills in accountability and fund management,” said Celestin Hakizimana, President of IAKIB cooperative of farmers in the pastoral Gicumbi district.
The cooperative brings together 4000 members.
“Thus, the training is very relevant to us,” Hakizimana said.
“We are also planning to launch a milk processing factory worth Rwf450 million in August this year, so these trainings will help us in getting skills of managing these expensive facilities, knowing shares of every member and profits” Hakizimana said.
IAKIB has over 4000 members from previous 2000 6 years ago.
“This program (CD4) comes at the right time. With these skills we expect production to increase,” Prof. Jean Bosco Harelimana, Director General of Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA).
“We shall use the PM tool to make sure that we give Cooperatives right solutions depending on their challenges and finally these cooperatives will be graduated in categories,” Harelimana said.
According to Harelimana Rwanda has 5 million cooperative members. They are members to 9000 cooperatives.