Jordanian trainer embarks on cooperative management training initiative, supported by the ILO

Jordanian Ahlam Mahadeen took part in ILO’s Trainers of Trainers (ToT) programme on My.Coop and is now training cooperative members on the package, which focuses on the management of agricultural cooperatives.

Article | 21 September 2021
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) In October 2020, Jordanian Ahlam Mahadeen took part in an ILO Training of Trainers (ToT) programme on My.Coop, - a training package on the management of agricultural cooperatives. The TOT programme, which brought together 31 participants, focused on facilitation and training methods needed to enable trainers to design and deliver their own trainings using the My.COOP training modules. 

“This was the first training that I undertook with the ILO. It was a unique experience because it covered all aspects related to the management of cooperatives,” said Ahlam. “The training required our proactive participation and taught us how to transfer our knowledge, use reliable information and adapt it to our capabilities and needs.”

My.COOP is designed to enable existing and potential managers of agricultural cooperatives to identify and address challenges that are specific to cooperatives in market-oriented agricultural development.

A few weeks ago, Ahlam put her newly-acquired skills to the test. She was selected as one of five trainers to conduct a week-long training of the modules to agricultural cooperative members from across the Kingdom.

The trainers, who were chosen due to their outstanding results during the TOT, are all members of the Jordanian Cooperative Corporation (JCC), the legal umbrella for Jordanian cooperatives. The ILO has supported JCC in the development of a national strategy for the cooperative movement in efforts to promote cooperatives in different economic sectors. The strategy highlights the need to establish a training institute for cooperative members in Jordan. Building the training capacity of JCC members is an initial step towards establishing this institute.

Under the supervision of the My.COOP master trainer, Ahlam and four others, trained 20 cooperative members on the ILO tool kit. “We had a coach to help guide us through the training, giving us feedback on our training techniques,” said Ahlam. “I learnt the benefits of working as a team and how being part of a team can facilitate our role as trainers, being able to divide the workload and being able to structure the training in a way which takes the trainees from A to Z - from learning the basics of cooperatives to learning about cooperative marketing.”

“Our experience has been extremely positive and our trainees were very engaged, despite the differences in their backgrounds, interests and challenges.”

The agricultural engineer has worked extensively with cooperatives for many years. In her current role as a director at the cooperative directorate in her home-town of Karak, located south-west of Amman, Ahlam oversees around 95 cooperatives from across various fields.

“My role at the directorate is to ensure that cooperatives continue to be productive so they can reach the goals of their members,” said the 51-year-old. “I do this through financial and administrative follow up and guidance. I work with a variety of different cooperatives including women-led cooperatives, which are in particular need of support, especially during the current pandemic.”

With her experience and understanding of the strengths and challenges faced by cooperatives in Jordan, Ahlam was the perfect fit for the ILO, which is seeking to strengthen the role of cooperative in advancing decent work for vulnerable Jordanians, Syrian refugees and migrant workers employed in the agricultural sector. 

These initiatives are being supported by the Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS), a multi-agency programme funded by the Government of the Netherlands and in close collaboration with the ILO’s Global Cooperatives Unit (COOP).

In 2019, similar trainings were held using ILO’s Think.Coop and Start.Coop tools for those interested in establishing or joining a cooperative. The ILO has also helped establish employment units inside six agricultural cooperatives in Jordan to provide career guidance and job placement for job-seekers.

For Ahlam, her recent involvement in conducting a training herself has proven her competence in helping transfer ILO’s knowledge to others.

“Being selected by the ILO to conduct this training was a true honour for me,” said Ahlam, “As trainers, we hope to adapt this training in different governorates and help ensure its sustainability in the longer-term.”

PROSPECTS is a strategic four-year global partnership that supports host communities and displaced populations in eight countries across East and North Africa and the Arab States and which also includes the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank, UNHCR and UNICEF.