Commitment from our cooperative and mutual network: great achievements, tangible results

Pedro Rodriguez 30 January 2019
Ukraine SOCODEVI

Several technical and organizational support missions were carried out by SOCODEVI member institutions during 2018. From the Ukraine to Honduras, and from Colombia to Vietnam, the expertise in our network allows us to reach one of our priority objectives in ensuring the longevity of the results that emanate from our actions: capacity building for families and their cooperative enterprises.

“The specialists from our network of member institutions play a vital role in achieving the objectives that we set ourselves for each country. They are passionate people and their know-how and experience bring about significant changes with our partners. This synergy between our teams in the field and the professionals of our network remains a distinct asset for SOCODEVI,” says Cécile Pichette, SOCODEVI’s president.

Following are several examples of the impact that has resulted from the commitment of our members working on the ground:

Creation of a national network of farm women leaders in the Ukraine
The strengthening of the very first network of farm women leaders was one of the main impacts when Céline Delhaes, a director with the Agropur cooperative, participated in our activities in the Ukraine. Last August, women farmers in the dairy, market garden and cereal grains sectors coming from seven provinces were brought together to meet in the Kherson region. During this special meeting, they were able to hear about Ms. Delhaes experiences within the Canadian cooperative movement and her testimonial as an entrepreneur and as manager of a farming operation.

The participants showed how motivated they were. “Their commitment and desire to work together, to innovate and improve their skills, was good news for the future of this new network!” Ms. Delhaes emphasized. Thanks to her mission, the strategies for consolidating the network of Ukrainian farm women leaders were developed and can now be deployed by our local teams. A great way to contribute to having women’s voices heard in the Ukraine and giving value to their participation in the country’s economy.

Better cocoa marketing thanks to a new cooperative in Colombia
During the course of the last year, Gilles Cardinal from La Coop fédérée undertook two organizational support missions to Colombia. His involvements led to the creation of Workakao, a second-level cooperative that brings together five associations of cocoa producers. This new organization, a first as part of SOCODEVI’s activities in Colombia, has today become an important lever for farm families with regard to the marketing of their cocoa.

Numerous working meetings and training workshops facilitated by Mr. Cardinal and SOCODEVI’s team contributed to the farmers being able to better understand the elements essential for the development of a large-scale cooperative enterprise. Today, 650 family cocoa farms and their associations are united in their strength within the new organization and are looking toward the future with optimism.

Consolidation in the Vietnamese cooperative movement
The contribution of several specialists from the Institut de recherche et d’éducation pour les coopératives et les mutuelles de l’Université de Sherbrooke (IRECUS) in our activities in Vietnam have borne fruit. Thanks to missions undertaken by Anne-Marie Merrien, Étienne Fouquet and Claude-André Guillotte, the Vietnamese governmental authorities have a better understanding of the new cooperative model designed by SOCODEVI as part of its VCED project and its potential amongst rural populations for entrepreneurial development.

In addition, a train-the-trainer program for this new type of cooperative model was implemented in collaboration with CMARD2, a farm management teaching college and SOCODEVI partner in the implementation of its activities in Vietnam. Benefitting from the presence of professionals from educational institutions, various economic sectors linked to cooperatives and the government sectors, the first two cohorts were trained by IRECUS in 2018. A third cohort is anticipated for the end of 2019.

“The trainers whom we met have the knowledge and the potential to contribute to improving the performance of the Vietnamese cooperative movement. They have the link between theory and practise, between management and working out in the field. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life of the cooperative’s members,” said Anne-Marie Merrien.

Lastly, it should be underlined that the training program put forward by SOCODEVI and its partners has served as a reference for the creation of a cooperative leadership program for youth. Officially launched by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture in the presence of representatives of Canadian cooperation and SOCODEVI’s executive director, Richard Lacasse, this initiative has resulted in the training of 160 young people since last November.

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