During my volunteer mandate, I assisted the Mwandama Co-operative Union with strategic planning and trained eight co-operatives on critical skills that helped them develop good business practices.
Co-operative development in Malawi can be challenging as many co-operatives are struggling to transform from a farming association to a true co-operative business. In partnership with the Malawi Federation of Cooperatives (MAFECO), we worked with board members that represented each of the eight co-operatives. The critical areas of focus for the Mwandama Union and the eight co-operative boards are:
Discussion focused on how members are the key to success and how membership growth increases capital, their production and aggregation.
We discussed how the co-operative must understand their roles and responsibilities to their members and how engaging members who know their responsibilities helps a co-op with succession, increases production and aggregation, leading to capital growth. The co-op board members also brainstormed how to onboard and engage co-op members.
Further training was provided on proper record keeping and bookkeeping to help co-ops operate their businesses. The women of the co-operatives did not realize how important these skills were to ensuring their co-operatives would be successful.
“We are very satisfied with the level of detail and information shared. We felt our needs and level of development were not only acknowledged but strengthened with the helpful resources and knowledge provided. We’re grateful for the opportunity that CDF Canada and MAFECO have provided to help us grow as a co-operative,” a Mwandama Board Member, said.