Myanmar: ILO pilots self-learning approach to promote the cooperative business model

ILO conducted the first Myanmar pilot of the Think.Coop training module on cooperative business, where over 40 participants from trade unions, including farmers, were provided with a basic introduction to cooperation and collective action.

Article | Yangon, Myanmar | 15 November 2017
Participants at the Think.Coop training module in Yangon.
YANGON (ILO News) - After the first successful pilot training in Cambodia earlier this year, ILO conducted the second pilot of the Think.Coop – An orientation on the cooperative business model training module. The training took place on November 10 in Yangon, Myanmar’s premier commercial and business center with the support of AFFM-CTUM and AFFM-IUF, the two biggest agricultural workers’ unions in the country.  The new ILO tool used in the orientation, Think.Coop, features self-facilitating training techniques that enables the participants to reflect on their own experiences while learning from those of others. Without an external facilitator or trainer, this method is proving to be suitable and effective in fostering collaboration as it helps the participants deal with issues in their personal and work lives. Upon completing the training, the participants agreed that the highly participatory process significantly facilitated their understanding of what cooperatives are and the general favourable nature of doing business together.

The President of AFFM-CTUM, U Maung Maung, encouraged all the participants to cooperate with each other in order to maximize learning and to help overcome the negative reputation of cooperatives in Myanmar.
Think.Coop is a tool designed to provide a basic introduction to cooperation and collective action and it works as the very first step in understanding about the cooperative model. At the end of the training the participants are expected to be more aware of the cooperative option and can decide if the model is suitable to their needs. Indeed, several participants stood up at the end of the training highlighting the tool’s simplicity and practicality. They were pleased to have a learning method that does not require much in terms of resources and technical support and is easy to implement, while at the same time being highly interactive and enjoyable for those taking part.
Most of the 40 participants in the  training were union members who are also farmers, but are not yet members of any cooperative. Almost all of them travelled to Yangon from various locations across the country. Two major players in the cooperative development, Agriterra and Winrock, joined the orientation as observers.

ILO is expected to work closely with the two unions and other organizations in the replication of Think.Coop in other locations, and further testing of other modules under the Think.Coop family whose adaptations in Myanmar are currently underway.