Published on 22 Jun, 2021

TOT training on cooperatives management and governance

Blog Featured Image - TOT training on cooperatives management and governance

The Government of Rwanda recognizes the central role that cooperatives must play in promoting inclusive, sustainable development and economic transformation. Cooperatives are a unique form of a self-help group, pooling members’ resources to achieve economies of scope and scale while serving as a platform for policy dialogue and multi-dimensional promotion of the members’ wellbeing.

Agriculture cooperatives are seen as an institutional engine to improve smallholder agricultural performance, contribute to the national economic development and they have increased very rapidly in recent years in the production of Irish potatoes, vegetables, fruits,  milk, tea, coffee, rice, maize, meat, poultry, and fish (United States Agency for International Development, 2013).

Despite the tremendous growth and improvement in performance, cooperatives are still facing challenges related to limited skills in cooperative management, limited capacity to operate efficiently and effectively, limited capacity in strategic and business planning, lack of leadership and financial management skills. Therefore, the SEAD Project in its third pillar of intervention on community outreach and training organized specific training for its partner cooperatives for  both  Potato, Dairy, Horticulture, Agri-tourism and Poultry value chains ( on specific topics that are: The process of cooperative development, cooperative governance, strategic and business planning, and monitoring and evaluation of cooperative activities (including financial management).

The trainings took place in April, May, and June. These trainings aimed at responding to the findings from the assessment conducted by the project in 2019 within the cooperatives SEAD supports in the 5 value chains on cooperative management and governance. The assessment revealed the skills gaps that the cooperatives had.

The ToT trainings were facilitated by both Mark Bos and Victor volkers from Q-Point, where by the 4 value chains were grouped into 2 groups, the plants and animal groups including the Agri-tourism value chain of  SEADWest.

The first session was conducted from 19th -23rd  April 2021 and focused on cooperative governance and management ,principles and structures of cooperative development, roles and  responsibilities, cooperation between various cooperative organs and inclusiveness into cooperatives, ability to establish and manage a cooperative under the Rwandese law on cooperatives law n# 50/2007 dated 18th of August 2007.

The farmers mentioned that this training sharpened their knowledge about cooperative governance in serving the interest of all the members and avoiding conflicts within the cooperative. ‘’We learnt how a well led cooperative develops and we are going to change some practices and processes that are not in line with cooperative values and principles’’. Bajyinama Joseph the president of Kora Mworozi cooperative in Gicumbi; stated.  

From 4th – 6th May, the second session was conducted focused on cooperative strategic and business planning. The trainers wanted to make sure that the participants  understand the basic principles of strategic planning by analysing historical performance for redefining their vision, mission, and value, log frame analysis, SWOT analysis, context analysis (problem and stakeholder analysis), understanding the elements of a business plan and how to develop a business plan as well as business model canvass as a tool to set up their business plans.

‘’This training helped me to really understand how to set up an annual work plan and following up on monitoring and evaluation to see how the cooperative is doing.’’ Christine Dusingize, lecturer at UR CAVM

In this regard, a follow up training was rolled out to horticulture cooperatives on sessions 1&2 on the identified topics on cooperative governance and management, strategic planning, financial management and business planning. This rollout training was conducted for horticulture cooperatives from Nyanza and Huye district from 25th -27th May 2021.

Cooperative management and governance are very important aspects to ensure the sustainability of the cooperative operations since the assessment of 2019 indicated that those involved in the leadership and management of these cooperatives have basic knowledge to effectively run them. The training provided to these groups was long waited for.

 Marceline Mujawamariya, from Rwabicuma cooperative said “we are happy that the training has equipped us with the knowledge that will help us to solve problems in our cooperatives. We now understand that decision making that engages all cooperatives members is effective for the growth of the cooperatives. It has been a big challenge to engage all members but through working in groups we will be able to reach every member and engage them in managing our cooperative”.

From 17th – 19th May 2021, another training of trainers on managing cooperative strategy and business plans was conducted and focused on understanding the basic principles of strategic planning by analysing historical performance. The training also tackled analysing tools, development of strategies, setting up an annual workplan and setting up monitoring and evaluation system.

‘’This session was important; I learnt the elements of a business plan, how to develop a business plan and how to develop a business model canvass’’. Matovu Callixte lecturer at IPRC Ngoma

The 4th training one was conducted from 7th -9th  June 2021, participants gained knowledge on the basic principles of financial management of cooperatives (finance and accounting) such as cash handling and accounting, financial statements, allocation of surplus and budgeting, elements of Internal organization of a cooperative – record keeping, controlling corruption and managing meetings, commercial credits, obtaining credits from lenders and negotiating with lenders.

‘’Financial management is one the essential element in managing a cooperative or any other business, this training increased my skills, and I am so excited to train cooperative board members on how to develop and manage their cooperatives’’. Uwamahoro Francine, a trainer at EAV Kivumu