Promoting Cooperative Development for Sustainability

Under the umbrella of the Enabling Market Integration for Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) program, Global Communities is helping vulnerable families and communities through the cooperative development model, by bringing Rwandans together to pool resources and work together to generate higher incomes. The EMIRGE program is primarily assisting agricultural cooperatives in the maize and vegetable value chains. Recently EMIRGE worked with Action for Enterprise (AFE), a leader in private sector development, to conduct intensive value chain studies in the maize and vegetable sectors. The EMIRGE Rwanda program will use AFE’s findings to continue working with market actors to create sustainable solutions to challenges in these sectors that benefit our cooperatives.

The EMIRGE Rwanda program is also focused on strengthening the cooperative structure to ensure the sustainability of these producer groups. We accomplish this objective by providing intensive trainings and instruction on cooperative fundamentals, management and good governance as well as provide an array of financial trainings. The EMIRGE program has enlisted the assistance of an agronomist to implement farmer field schools for our cooperative members which has resulted in significant yield increases. In order to track the progress of cooperatives in the EMIRGE portfolio and compare our cooperatives to other producer groups in Rwanda, we created and have annually conducted the Cooperative Performance Index (CPI), which is a survey tool that assesses the health of a cooperative. We examine cooperatives that fall under the USAID Higa Ubeho program, and identify “lead” cooperatives from their portfolio that can graduated into the EMIRGE program to receive advanced technical assistance. Through the CPI and comprehensive trainings, the EMIRGE Rwanda program makes a significant positive change in the lives of our cooperative members.


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