ILO sponsors training on agricultural cooperative management through My.Coop distance learning programme

Since 2012 the International Training Centre of the ILO has organized a distance learning Training of Trainers programme on My.Coop – Managing your agricultural cooperative training package. The latest edition took place in late 2017, with participation of four participants sponsored by the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit.

News | 12 March 2018
My.Coop – Managing your agricultural cooperative is a training package and programme to support agricultural cooperatives in improving their management. Every year ITC-ILO organizes a distance learning online Training of Trainers (TOT), to provide cooperative experts with exposure to the necessary competencies to design and deliver an interactive and participatory face-to-face training using the My.COOP training modules. The 2017 edition of the online TOT ran from October to December. Among the participants were four experts who have been involved in a cooperative development activity supported by the ILO, and whose participation to the TOT was sponsored by the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit. We spoke to three of them to find out about their perceptions of the training and whether they have any future plans to use My.Coop.

Ms Rose Karimi
Ms Rose Karimi is a programme manager at the International Co-operative Alliance Africa, responsible for capacity building of their member cooperatives across the continent. She joined the My.Coop online TOT to improve her training skills, as later this year ICA Africa will conduct training to cooperative federations using My.Coop methodologies and materials. In the online training, Ms Karimi found the pedagogy and methods such as peer discussions, world cafe and round robin particularly interesting, and she will be using these methods in future trainings. For Ms Karimi, cooperatives are a way of life – she grew up at a Kenyan coffee farm and her parents were cooperative members. Later on she went on to complete her PhD on global coffee supply chains and their potential for smallholder farmers and their organizations.

Ms Khaing Yin Mon
Like Ms Karimi, also Ms Khaing Yin Mon works on capacity building and training at the Education Department of the Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar – Food Allied Workers (AFFM – IUF). Most of AFFM-IUF’s members are smallholder farmers, and the federation is filling the gaps of cooperative knowledge and promoting the establishment of cooperative societies among their members, particularly those involved in goat and pig farming and fishing. As one step towards that direction, last year ILO collaborated with AFFM-IUF on the piloting of the Think.Coop training module to promote the cooperative model among their members.

By participating in the My.Coop online training Ms Yin Mon hoped to learn about the ways in which cooperatives can support rural livelihoods for smallholder farmers and rural workers, for instance as an alternative to contract farming. On the training contents, Ms Yin Mon found methodological approaches such as the SWOT analysis, needs assessment and mind mapping particularly relevant and useful, in addition to topics such as value chain and storage management. AFFM-IUF will include My.Coop as part of their training offer, and hope to be able to train more trainers on the delivery of My.Coop. This process is facilitated by a recent translation and launch of My.Coop materials into Myanmar language by a My.Coop partner organization Agriterra.

Mr. Musa Sibandze
Earlier in 2017 Mr. Musa Sibandze, the President of the Swaziland Farmers’ Cooperative Union (SWAFCU) participated in the ILO-JCCU Study Tour for African Cooperative Leaders. He joined the My.Coop online ToT training to get exposure to good practices in cooperative management so he can support other co-operators to better understand the roles and functions of agricultural cooperatives in their communities, and how their sustainability can be ensured. Mr. Sibandze found the distance learning, where he was able to learn about the facilitation techniques and methodologies to organize a My.Coop training, both inspiring and challenging.. He also found the training useful in that it helped him understand how he can assist cooperative leaders to understand and address the challenges faced by cooperatives.

Despite being an online training, Mr. Sibandze found the sharing of experiences and interaction with other cooperative leaders from across the world as one of the most beneficial aspects of the training. This helped him to understand that it is possible to improve the level of cooperatives in Swaziland, as many other countries have overcome similar challenges. In the future, SWAFCU is planning to develop a training programme for agricultural cooperatives in Swaziland based on the contents and methods of My.Coop materials.

Mr. Albert Mruma
Online training requires active participation of the participants, but also qualified trainers to ensure the training achieves its objective. The tutor for the My.Coop online TOT, Mr. Albert Mruma, appreciates My.Coop particularly for the relevance and quality of its contents and the methodologies, which is highly suitable for practical adult learning. Mr. Mruma, an experienced cooperative consultant from Tanzania, has been involved in My.Coop since the very early days of its development. He was part of the technical committee responsible for drafting the contents of My.Coop, and since the first pilot training in 2011 he has facilitated various face-to-face trainings in countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In addition, Mr. Mruma translated the package into Kiswahili language, and over the years he has tutored over 70 participants in the English online TOT programme.

Mr. Mruma enjoyed the latest online TOT edition particularly because of the commitment and dedication demonstrated by the participants to master My.Coop methodology. Compared to some earlier editions, Mr. Mruma found the participants to this edition as highly qualified and with vast experiences to tackle assignments and share knowledge, skills and experiences among themselves. He expects many of the participants to use My.Coop contents and methods in training cooperatives back in their countries.