This is precisely one of the objectives of the project “Integrated Rural Development with an environmental and gender approach in East Wellega (Ethiopia)” funded by the Generalitat Valenciana.
Last week a milestone was reached in strengthening the associative fabric and cooperatives with the holding of a Seminar for the exchange of experiences between the four cooperatives that the project has supported since its inception.
The promotion of cooperatives and the associative fabric has allowed the active involvement of small producers, and especially women, in productive resources and income generation. This impulse has been achieved through different activities:
The increase in the participation of the rural population in agricultural cooperatives as a way to advance in inclusive and sustainable economic growth in this rural area.
The organization of training workshops on the creation and strengthening of cooperative principles.
The equipment and provision of adequate resources for cooperatives, ensuring a minimum and necessary infrastructure for continued work, facilitating access to inputs, markets and rural financial services.
The formation of cooperative management committees in accounting, inventory management and the elaboration of a business plan.
Training farmers to improve income through improvements in diversification and agronomic practices.
After one year and five months, we can verify that the activities implemented to begin to achieve the objectives and expected results.
The number of members of the cooperatives and their capital has increased surprisingly, contributing to the benefits obtained in solidarity and community.
Since 2017, one year before the start of the project, the four cooperatives have increased their capital by 84%. During that same period, the members of the cooperative have increased from 166 to 303 members.
As for the participation of women in cooperatives, their number has increased from 35 to 93 today. The percentage of women in cooperatives has increased from 20% to 31%, and now has greater visibility and participation in the decision-making bodies of cooperatives.
In addition, the strategy implemented to provide rights holders with resources has strengthened the mutual relationship between cooperatives and their members by minimizing dependency syndrome and maximizing the financial self-confidence of farmers where their cooperatives are also strengthening financially.
This strategy consists of that the beneficiaries of project service, through the supply of seeds, fertilizers and/or animals, must return 50% of the cost of the project service to the cooperatives of which they are members.
From the point of view of food security, the final objective of the project, these actions to promote cooperatives and entrepreneurship have boosted the income generation of the rural population, contributing to reducing their vulnerability.