Background. 1.1. Introduction to My.Coop – Managing your agricultural cooperative. Agricultural cooperatives exist in countries around the world, and they
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2The objective of this brie˜ng note is to provide highlights on the use of My.Coop – Managing your agricultural cooperative training package during its ˜rst ˜ve years, 2012-2017. The note is based on a stocktaking exercise, which aimed to understand where, how and by whom My.Coop has been used, and provides a set of recommendations for the future use of the materials and approaches of delivery. The data analysed for the stocktaking exercise derives from a variety of sources, collected through inventory activities, desk research, mailings, surveys, interviews and personal experiences of the My.Coop developers and users. The stocktaking exercise was carried out on the second half of 2017 for the ILO by Agriterra.Disclaimer: My.Coop is based on a partnership between different organizations involved in its development and/or implementation; it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License; and it is freely accessible through http://moo-dle.itcilo.org/mycoop/. Nevertheless, this brief has been jointly developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Agriterra only and is intended to improve future delivery of My.Coop by all partners.
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3Table of contents 1. Background 41.1. Introduction to My.Coop Œ Managing your agricultural cooperative 41.2. My.Coop partnership 51.3. My.Coop Training Package 5Modules 6The Trainer™s Manual 7Mobile Learning Toolkit 7The My.Coop platform 72. MY.COOP 2012-2017 Œ Main ˜ndings and recommendations 82.1. Outreach 82.2. My.Coop modules™ concept and design 92.3. Adaptations and translations 112.4. My.Coop training methods 132.5. Delivery modalities and national ownership 132.6. Partnership 162.7. Platform 172.8. Face-to-Face Training of Trainers course 182.9. Online Training of Trainers course 182.10. Impact 19Annex 1 21
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41. Background1.1. Introduction to My.Coop Œ Managing your agricultural cooperative Agricultural cooperatives exist in countries around the world, and they often face similar chal-lenges: ineffective management, lack of market access, inadequate member commitment, and insuf˜cient services including ˜nancial services, among others. My.Coop Œ Managing your agricultural cooperative is a training package and programme on the management of agricultural cooperatives. It aims to respond to management challenges faced by agricultural cooperatives, and is based on the idea that better management enables cooperatives to offer high quality, ef˜cient and effective services to their members.Launched in 2012, My.Coop was developed through a broad partnership initiated by the International Labour Organization™s (ILO) Cooperative Facility for Africa (CoopAfrica) and the ILO™s Cooperatives Unit. My.Coop builds on the contents of the ILO™s MAT -COM training for cooperatives management manu-als, which were launched between 1978 and 1989 and have since then been widely used to promote the development of various types of cooperatives.My.Coop training package is the result of a collaborative effort involving a wide range of partners including cooperative development agencies, cooperative colleges, cooperative organizations, organizations of agricultural producers, universities and agencies of the United Nations. During the last stage of the process, the ILO, the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO), Agriterra, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Wageningen University (WUR) and the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands (KIT) collaborated to ensure the qual -ity of the ˜nal product. The My.Coop modules were reviewed by international peer-reviewers who are experts on agricultural cooperatives and the training package was launched in January 2012 in Turin in the presence of My.Coop partners. 11 In addition to partners already mentioned, Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN), Cooperative College of Kenya, Empowering Smallholder Farmers in Markets (ESFIM), Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies (MUCCoBS), and the Nigerian Cooperative Development Centre (NCDC) contributed to the development of My.Coop. The full list of authors and contributors can be found in the acknowledgement pages of the My.Coop manuals. Rationale for My.CoopThe My.Coop training package and programme is motivated by the conviction that: ﬁStrong and representative agricultural organizations are indispensable for the promotion of democ-racy, for a better distribution of i come and for the economic development of a country.ﬂ
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5While being used by various organizations across the globe My.Coop has never been formally evaluated. As a partial response to this need, in 2017 the ILO commissioned Agriterra to undertake a stocktaking exercise on My.Coop, to understand where, how and by whom My.Coop has been used, and to provide a set of recommendations for the future use of the materials. The research for the stocktak-ing exercise included both quantitative and qualitative data collected through inventory activities, desk research, mail-ings, surveys and interviews. This brief is a summary based on the report of that exercise.1.2. My.Coop partnership My.Coop is based on a partnership between those organizations that have been involved in its development or implementation. The objective of the partnership is to ensure high quality deliv -ery of My.Coop package for training, and to further develop the training package itself. My.Coop partners are organizations and institutions that actively contribute to the roll-out and further development of the My.Coop package and training programmes at global, regional, na -tional and local levels. They contribute through their expertise and knowledge (developers), by institutionalizing the use of the My.Coop package and programmes (users / ˜eld partners), by providing ˜nancial support (donors), or, a combination of these. This partnership is guided by a set of jointly agreed partnership principles (see Annex 1), outlining the main rights and responsibilities of those organizations using My.Coop materials. Reciprocity among partners is a key My.Coop partnership principle, with the expectation that all partners contribute to content development, ˜nancing, human resources, publications, knowl-edge, etc. For instance, once a country adaptation is made, this should be publicly available for other partners to use. 1.3. My.Coop Training Package My.Coop aims to strengthen the management of agricultural cooperatives to enable them to offer high quality, ef˜cient and effective services to their members. My.Coop training package consists of four Handbooks (modules), a Trainer™s manual, the materials for a Marketing Mix Board Game, and a Mobile learning toolkit. In addition, My.Coop has an online platform, hosted by ITC-ILO. My.Coop is copyrighted under Creative Commons, which allows access and right to adapt as long as the adapted work is made publicly available and not commercially sold.2 Initially the My.Coop training package was designed and published in English, French and Spanish. These generic language versions have been designed to allow for translation and adaptation to different country contexts and local experiences. 2 My.Coop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Licence. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/. My.Coop ownership MY.Coop, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commer-cial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.The material is freely accessible on the http://moodle.itcilo.org/mycoop/. Registration is required.
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ModulesThe four My.Coop modules cover the following themes: 1. Basics of an Agricultural Cooperative 2. Cooperative Service Provision 3. Supply of Farm Inputs 4. Cooperative MarketingEach Module consists of several learning topics. A learning topic consists of a brief content de-scription that is complemented with real life cases that present problem solving approaches to common challenges in the management of agricultural cooperatives. Besides, each topic offers explanatory boxes on de˜nitions and concepts as well as self-assignments that help the learner to apply the contents to the participants™ own cooperative or situation. Modules and topics can be used independently from each other, in any given order in line with the training needs. The following table shows the learning topics and some of the key contents of each My.Coop module. 6My.Coop Module 1: Basics of agricultural cooperatives Key content1. BASICS OF AN AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE Collective actionCoops principlesCoops diverse functions2. CHALLENGES FOR COOPERATIVES Cooperatives face internal and external challenges 3. COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE Dual character of cooperatives‚Agency™Members commitment4. MANAGEMENT, CAPITAL FORMATION & FINANCE Roles and skillsCapital formationAuditsModule 2: Cooperative service provisionKey content1. WHAT ARE THE NEEDS OF MEMBERS? The assessment of members needs can be systematic There are different methods applicable for different situations2. WHAT SERVICES TO PROVIDE? A cooperative cannot cater to all needs: prioritization3. WHO WILL PROVIDE THE SERVICE?The four A™s: Appropriateness, Accessibility, Affordability and Availability. Evaluation Œ member satisfactionModule 3: Supply of farm inputsKey content1. PROCUREMENT OF INPUTSWhat to procure? How much to procure?Selection of a supplier2. STORAGE AND STOCK MANAGEMENTStocking or not?How to manage stocks3. SELLING THE SERVICESelling proceduresPricing policyIncome statementModule 4: Cooperative marketingKey content1. MARKETING SERVICESCollective marketing and/orMarket information (Research & dissemination)2. STRATEGIC MARKETING Targeting markets through upgrading Marketing mix (the 5 P™s) Strategic marketing3. CERTIFICATION Specialized marketsCerti˜cation schemes
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8 2.1. OutreachBased on the available data, participants from at least 59 countries and 148 organizations from around the world have participated in a My.Coop ToT course or made use of the materials; and at least 479 training sessions have been conducted with more than 11,000 participating members of cooperatives or other farmer organizations as end users. 3 Figure 1: Geographical spread of the countries where My.Coop has been used. According to the records of the ITC-ILO between 2012 and 2017, 212 persons have successfully completed the online My.Coop ToT. In addition to these trainers, at least 1,221 individuals have either completed a My.Coop (face-to-face) ToT or are actively promoting My.Coop after having completed a non-ToT training. Data on the numbers of training sessions carried out by the par -ticipants after completing the online ToT has not been comprehensively monitored. Based on the available information, only a few participants of the online ToT course have actually carried out training sessions. The countries where most training sessions have been done correspond with the countries where face-to-face ToTs were carried out. 3 This ˜gure is an estimate based on triangulation of data from different sources. It excludes those that were not con˜rmed by the research team.
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9The ˜rst face-to-face pilot ToT took place in Turin in an academy of the ITC-ILO in 2011; and in Nigeria. After these, ToTs have been conducted in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, and Zambia among others. In most of the countries the training sessions were preceded or accompanied by a translation and an adapta-tion process.2.2. My.Coop modules™ concept and design My.Coop is perceived as a useful tool for cooperative development applicable to different country contexts. Its modules are introductory yet comprehensive, providing a strong basis for improving cooperative management.My.Coop offers a good overview of the topics it deals with, and it is a good tool for raising aware -ness on the issues that cooperatives need to consider in improving their management. However, it does not go in-depth on how to deal with the issues identi˜ed. As such, it is most useful for cooperatives in understanding what the issues are that they need to focus on in order to improve their management practices. For example, Module 1 indicates the need for sound ˜nancial management, internal capitalization, good governance and the issue of agency. In order for a cooperative to actually start addressing these issues there is a need to access speci˜c training on these in a complementary manner outside My.Coop. The partners involved in My.Coop have such complementary tools available to them.My.Coop increases understanding on the potential pitfalls and challenges in the management of a cooperative. This can change attitudes of managers and leaders to better deal with key man-agement issues, including those they have not considered before. My.Coop enables cooperative leaders to have a fuller picture and understanding about how to manage their cooperative. These ˜ndings have a particular positive meaning, in terms of broadening the participants™ hori-zon of the issues related to cooperative management and stimulating a positive attitude change. My.Coop provides an opportunity for de˜ning further needs of capacity building in the different topics included in the modules, so that training participants can better de˜ne next steps for ad -dressing any knowledge gaps.Recommendation 1: Monitor the number of participants who provide training after completing the online ToT. Recommendation 2: Facilitate access to external resources for more in depth dealing with management issues.
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10The conceptual content supported by real-life case studies and examples, practical exercises,self-assignments, and storytelling, is conducive for a user-friendly and motivating learning. For adapted versions the case studies are best replaced by local examples, making it easier for theparticipants to relate to them.Beyond content, My.Coop modules are appreciated as well-conceived and elaborated materials, with professional and accessible graphic design and layout, with structure, colours, drawings and pictures that effectively draw in the users. In some adaptations, such as in Indonesia or Mongolia, an additional effort was made to ensure local speci˜cities were taken into account in the use of images and drawings.In order to continue to respond to the needs and requirements of cooperatives, it is important to both update the existing My.Coop contents to ensure they are easily adaptable to different country contexts; and to add new topics as modules for My.Coop. With the development of new content it is also suggested to continue with a modular ap-proach to My.Coop delivery, where the training for each cooperative would be tailored based on their speci˜c needs. Some topics for new modules could include: Ł Cooperative governance (including women and youth participation and greening of the cooperative as a cross cutting issue).Ł Cooperatives™ ˜nancial sustainability (business planning, ˜nancial management in general and internal capitalization).Ł Marketing strategy and marketing plans for cooperatives.Ł Production-related service delivery to members at the farm level (machinery, extension & specialized technical advice, credit, business planning, project formulation for members, etc.). Ł Value creation: market research, technological need at farm level and business planning Ł Value chain integration and strategy Ł Input supply market analysis and strategiesŁ Roles and potential of cooperatives to address decent work issues, such as use of child labour, forced labour or discriminatory practices in the value chains cooperatives participate in. Recommendation 3: Provide examples of local context, products and issues in the case studies in the adapted versions.Recommendation 4: Adapt existing contents to local contexts for example by adding an introduc -tory module clarifying the national and local context and situation.
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11Consequently, and based on the training needs assessment, a training could be designed for a cooperative, together with the current modules, an introductory module, and other relevant tools from My.Coop partners. The comprehensive list and understanding on the potential plug-in modules will need to be developed in order to ensure synergies with already existing tools. 2.3. Adaptations and translationsA key feature of My.Coop is that the materials are adapted to different contexts to make it appro -priate for the local or national contexts, sometimes including particular types of cooperatives or cooperative legislation. As the programme has been rolled out globally, more organizations from across the globe have become involved in adaptations and translations of My.Coop. The French and Spanish generic translations were developed as part of the initial My.Coop package. Adaptations to local contexts have been completed and used at least in Peru (see Box 1), Colombia, Bolivia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia, Viet Nam, Maynmar and Egypt, while, some translations and adapta -tions, like Swahili and KiSwahili remain untested. A guide for potential users has been developed by the ILO to help partner organisations with the translation and adaptation process, but in the absence of a common approach and progress indicators there have been monitoring challenges in seeing through some of these processes. BOX 1In the San Martin Region in Peru, collaboration between Asociación Verde Amazónico, CUSO International and Agriterra led to the adaptation of My.Coop materials to a regional context with a speci˜c focus on the coffee and cocoa value chains. In addition to the novel form of adaptation (i.e. regional adaptation instead of national one), the delivery method was also adapted to suit the schedule of the producers, breaking it down to weekly training sessions of three hours each, held over several months on Saturday mornings. This both facilitated participation and helped the participants to better visualize the concepts received in the training in their day to day work in the cooperative: fewer messages received in each training session allowed for time to observe the topics in prac-tice. The adaptation is part of a capacity building programme aiming to create a network of trainers and facilita-tors in the region through a pilot cooperative school. My.Coop is being rolled out in the region to reach out to a larger number of coffee and cacao cooperatives in order to support them toward better management practices.Recommendation 5: Add new topics as plug in modules to address speci˜c training needs.Recommendation 6: Develop a common approach for monitoring and improving the ef˜ciency of translation and adaption processes.
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