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Africa Project 1st Quarter Update
Last year, the International Co-operative Alliance – Africa (the Alliance Africa) and the ICAO Secretariat agreed to collaborate on a project dubbed as The Game Changer* Project. The main purpose was to financially support primary agricultural co-operatives, preferably women-led, women-focused cooperatives, at the farm level by providing grants of 5,000 USD per cooperative. The grant was provided to be used to purchase critical machinery, tools or equipment that will be a game changer for the targeted co-operatives in terms of increased production and enhanced productivity. * Game Changer: something such as a product or event that affects a situation or area of business very much
The Alliance Africa has identified and verified suitable African agricultural cooperatives, that are members of the Alliance, and fit certain criteria such as whether it is women-led, in existence for not less than 24 months and so on. After the first verification by the Alliance Africa, a total of 5 business proposals were delivered to the ICAO Secretariat including content of the benefit or value addition that will accrue as a result of the acquisition of a machine, tools or equipment.
The ICAO evaluated the five proposals based on various criteria including the purpose of the grant, future expectations and so on. As a result, the ICAO Secretariat made its final decision to provide the grant to two cooperatives, the Tigebwa Cooperative (Uganda) and the ACORAL Cooperative (Mozambique).
The first recipient is Tigebwa Farmers’ Cooperative society which specializes in banana wine production. Formed in 2004 as a community based organization and registered as a cooperative in 2010, the cooperative has a membership of 132 members that consists of 76 women and 56 men. With the grant, the cooperative hopes to expand its business by processing diverse banana related products and increase wine production for export.
The second recipient is Association of Composting, Recycling and Waste Disposal (ACORAL Cooperative) which is known to be one of the best cooperatives to collect compost, recycle and use garbage at a national level and contribute to the improvement of the environment and public health. The cooperative was created in 2010 with a membership of 27 members that consists of 22 women and 5 men. With the provided grant, ACORAL hopes to increase the financial capacity, sustainability of its cooperative and also their capacity to support its city, Nampula, with organic fertilizers and efficiently cleaning the city.
At the beginning of February, the ICAO Secretariat received the first quarterly reports from Alliance Africa on how they have been planning to use the provided financial support.
The following is the main processes that have been reported:
1. Tigebwa Cooperative (Uganda)
- Tigebwa Farmer’s Cooperative Society and the Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) signed an MOU detailing the working relationship in the project and obligations of each party in implementing the project
- identified and justified the investment option for which the funds are going to be used and how the investments relate with their business plan and operations
- started the process of procuring the agreed set of wine making equipment, however the process was delayed by internal procurement processes
*Next Quarter Plan*
- will finalize procurement of equipment
- support installation and proper use of equipment
- monitor operations to ensure the cooperative will conform project goals and objectives
- seek possible links to other capacity building ad training in banana value addition skills
2. ACORAL COOP
- ACORAL board of directors and AMPCM North team organized its first meeting to officially present the project to ACORAL’s members
– decided to divide the implementation process into three phases
Phase 1: Clean land/field area & Acquire protective materials
Phase 2: Acquire materials for site rehabilitation
Phase 3: Produce organic fertilizer and horticulture
*Next Quarter Plan*
- get quotations to purchase materials for site construction (as the winter season is the worst period to acquire construction materials, the cooperative will purchase them in February when materials prices are not inflated price)
- monitor and mitigate risks such as flood, pests and so on