Strengthening cooperatives to address decent work deficits amongst host communities and refugees
Under the PROSPECTS programme in Kenya, a 10-day training for 24 trainers was organized with the aim of increasing their capacity to work with cooperatives by using ILO cooperatives establishment and management tools.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) recognizes the importance of cooperatives as a means of pursuing its mandate to achieve social justice and full employment. Guided by the ILO Recommendation No. 193 on promotion of cooperatives, the ILO promotes activities aimed at strengthening cooperatives and other forms of social solidarity groups as they have a proven record of creating and sustaining employment. Cooperatives also present a tested model for inclusion of vulnerable groups including persons affected by forced displacement.
In Kenya cooperatives are recognized to be a major contributor to national development and are found in almost all sectors of the economy ranging from agriculture, financial services, trade, manufacturing etc. As of June 2020, there were over 25,000 registered cooperatives representing over 14 million members and mobilizing savings of over 7.8 billion Kenyan Shillings (US$ 63 million). 63% of Kenyans were reported to derive livelihoods directly or indirectly from cooperatives (International Cooperatives Alliance, 2020).
“Cooperatives are at the centre of Kenya’s socio-economic development. The Kenyan Government recently created a ministry for SMEs and Cooperatives and has placed social solidarity groups and cooperatives at the centre of Government’s strategy. It will contribute to growth of the local economy, provide business development services and enhance financial inclusion,” explains Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO PROSPECTS in Kenya.
Under the PROSPECTS programme in Kenya, strengthening cooperatives is one of the key outputs under the strategic objective of promoting employment and livelihoods with dignity. In November 2022, the programme organized a 10-day training for 24 trainers with the aim of increasing their capacity to work with cooperatives by using ILO cooperatives establishment and management tools.
The training focused on three key tools namely Think Coop, an easy-to-use module targeting those considering establishing or joining a cooperative. The module emphasizes on the benefits of social solidarity, how to choose a business structure, the cooperative principles among other foundational topics. The ILO Start Coop module targets those who have decided to enter cooperatives and incorporates modules ranging from defining a business idea to creating a business plan for the cooperatives. The ILO My Coop module focuses on governance for cooperatives, cooperatives management and finances. In Kenya, governance for cooperatives is guided by the Cooperatives Act of 2004, which is currently under review.