Cooperative Research Seminar (CRS) organized by EDC
By Gian Nicola Francesconi
On the 3rd of February 2016, the EDC partners organized a Cooperative Research Seminar (CRS) in the “Cooperative Hall of Fame” at NCBA-CLUSA, in Washington DC (see the official invitation, agenda and list of participants). The objective of the seminar was to present and discuss a new EDC proposal for further research and outreach activities to be carried out in 2016 (see the presentation by OXFAM).
The seminar was attended by 25 high-level decision-makers from: OCDC, OXFAM, CIAT, the University of Missouri, USADF, NCBA-CLUSA, Land o’Lakes International, ACDI-VOCA, Global Communities, AGRA-FOSCA, CRI, HealthPartners, the University of Wisconsin and the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture.
In particular, the seminar’s presentation and discussions revolved around the organization of three large Cooperative Leadership Events (CLEs) in East Africa: Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya were the locations discussed. Two or possibly three CLEs were planned for the next 6 months. A CLE was defined as a four-day event aiming to gather 50-70 leaders/managers of 50-70 agricultural cooperatives from one of the above-mentioned countries, in order to:
- collect data on East African agri-coops through focus group discussions, structured questionnaires, hypothetical vignettes and behavioral games (see the draft tool);
- train and coach the leaders and managers of selected coops on the basis of the “Life Cycle Framework”;
- engage coop leaders and managers in discussions with governmental, non-governmental and private stakeholders on strategic issues related to agribusiness finance and market governance.
The seminar involved four main sessions, to review:
- available literature on the strengths and weaknesses of traditional agricultural cooperatives in developing countries, as well as on the opportunities and constraints associated with the establishment of “New Generation Cooperatives” (see the draft literature review);
- the methodology and key messages of proposed training and coaching sessions, as well as their potential for upgrading the leadership, management and governance structure of agri-coops;
- financial schemes to mobilize investments for adding value to and promoting entrepreneurship in agri-coops (based on a case study from Uganda: see also the presentation)
- Logistics to set-up the necessary partnership and collaboration to mobilize and ensure participation in the proposed CLEs (see also the EDC-Oxfam proposal).
The seminar’s participants further discussed options to organize additional CLEs in West Africa (Burkina Faso), Latin America (Guatemala) and Asia (Nepal), late in 2016 or in 2017.