Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives

by Africa Development Promise
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Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Fostering Sustainable Women's Cooperatives
Members wait for Meeting with ALTAP
Members wait for Meeting with ALTAP

Epaphroditus Women’s Cooperative is a thirty-member mushroom growing cooperative, in Wakiso District of Uganda with plans to expand their business through increased mushroom production and value addition. In 2020, the group will expand its outgrower scheme, also known as contract farming. They will recruit women in the community to grow mushrooms and buy back the mushrooms at an agreed-upon rate (depending on the prevailing market prices) giving the community women access to a guaranteed market, technical skills, and affordable inputs that lead to additional household income.

In preparation for the increased mushroom production, Africa Development Promise facilitated an exchange visit for the members of Epaphroditus to ALTAP Mushroom Production, a value addition, and business incubation center. The company offers a number of services including hands-on and theoretical training along the mushroom value chain. Their products are sold in supermarkets around Kampala (the capital), i.e., dried and branded mushroom, mushroom flour and soon plan to package a flour blend made of mushroom, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and millet. The target for this fortified blend is schools, hospitals, and refugee camps.

The goal of the exchange visit was to promote sharing of knowledge, information, best practices as well as how best to engage, train and monitor the progress of outgrowers. As a result of the visit, Epaphroditus members decided that they needed training on mushroom spore cultivation/multiplication – this would close their production loop and give them all the skills and resources need for mushroom production.

Purchase mushroom spores but want to cultivate
Purchase mushroom spores but want to cultivate
Mushrooms
Mushrooms

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Epaphroditus Cooperative Training
Epaphroditus Cooperative Training

3nd Quarter Progress Report

Cooperative Assessment

As Africa Development Promise (ADP) – Uganda looks to expand its program and increase the number of agricultural cooperatives they support, they have been conducting assessments of women’s cooperative that show promise. Numulonge Cooperative, consisting of 21 members (13 women representing 60% and 8 men 40%), is one of the groups being considered. During the third quarter, Africa Development Promise carried out training needs and baseline assessments to determine its readiness for the potential partnership with ADP. The assessment raised some concerns about the ownership of assets and governance of the organization.

The second cooperative under consideration is Kabbubbu Women’s Cooperative consisting of 22 women who grow local greens called Nakati (similar to spinach). The greens are very popular as it has a lot of nutrients such as vitamin A and C. The training needs and baseline assessment of this cooperative revealed that they lease their farmland and are in arrears in their lease payment. Other challenges they face include lack of business management skills; post-harvest losses due to the perishable nature of the vegetables.

The outcomes of the assessments will be shared with the cooperatives to discuss strengths, needs, requirements, and establish goals as we chart a way forward to work together.  

Training/Capacity Building 

ADP’s Business Development Consultant firm conducted a financial management training for members of the Epaphroditus Women’s Cooperative. This activity was conducted with the full participation of the management committee and it took place at the cooperative’s farm in Kifumbiro Village in Wakiso district.

The major objectives of the training included:

*  Establishment of the cooperative’s financial projection for the next 3 years.

* Ascertaining the cooperative’s financial performance for the period January to September 2019.

* Build the capacity of the management committee members in improved management of the cooperative’s finances.

* Address any other emerging business-related issues.

In the coming months, ADP staff will continue to monitor the cooperative’s business performance.

ADP Staff visit to Kabubbu Women's Cooperative
ADP Staff visit to Kabubbu Women's Cooperative

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Africa Development Promise - Uganda team has been busy this past quarter.  In addition to implementing a new smart farming initiative, the team has been working with our partner, Target Market Solutions, to conduct two, two-day workshops.  The objective of these workshops is to help Yes, We Can Cooperative (YWCC) and Epaphroditus Women’s Cooperative develop their business plan. 

YWCC is an ambitious group of twenty women and two men who came together in 2017 with a single purpose – to collectively uplift their economic status and solve poverty-related challenges for themselves and their community. They grow and sell maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, and soya beans on a 3-acre plot as a means of creating sustainable livelihoods.

Epaphroditus Women’s Cooperative is a thirty-member mushroom growing cooperative with plans to expand their business through increased value addition of mushrooms.  For example, selling both fresh and dried mushrooms and/or processing mushrooms into a mushroom powder.  

However, both groups realized that there is considerable potential to expand their cooperative business. With the success of previous capacity building support from ADP-U they were now ready to move to the next stage of developing and adopting a business plan.  

“I agreed to become the treasurer of the cooperative, but I was scared because I had no experience. I was afraid of letting down my fellow members” said Margret Tushabe, treasurer of YWCC. “But with the training, we have received, I feel more confident and the members are also more confident also.  We are excited about our business growing because it means we will be able to take care of our families”

The two-day workshop was conducted by Target Market Solutions, a business development services (BDS) consultant firm the helps micro, small and medium-sized organizations meet the business and financial objectives.  Participants learned the importance and components of a good business plan by examining business plans of organizations like their own. They went through a SWOT analysis, discussed their financial management, marketing, and operations plan and together development a business plan with a detailed activity plan. For the next three month, ADP-U staff will mentor and provide guidance to the members as they put into practice what they have learned. 

Thanks to loyal donors like yourself, women’s cooperative are making progress toward their economic goals.     

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Organization Information

Africa Development Promise

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AfricaDvPromise
Project Leader:
Monica LaBiche Brown
Denver, CO United States
$5,417 raised of $10,000 goal
 
62 donations
$4,583 to go
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