Demand for Qualified Cooperative Business School Trainers on the Rise

More requests to adapt the Cooperative Business School approach fuel the demand
Visual: © GIZ/Agribusiness Facility for Africa

To this end, the training of certified master trainers has proven to be necessary and important. Thus, the Agri-Business Facility for Africa organized a pan-African training program for anglophone and francophone master trainers from seven and six countries respectively. Due to the pandemic, both programs were conducted entirely online.

  • From December 14th to 17th 2020 and January 11th to 14th 2021, the first-ever anglophone Cooperative Business School master training was held and from May 3rd to 21st 2021 the francophone training took place – both via MS Teams. On the agenda were eight days of work on the content of the Cooperative Business School, simulations of the trainers’ training, pilot training and online exchanges and discussions.
  • 26 participants from seven anglophone African countries and 27 participants from six francophone African countries took part in the online training. In total, there were 37 master trainers and 16 colleagues from GIZ programs as resource persons.
  • The English training format slightly differed from the French but the training content was the same for both language groups.
  • Contents span from the Cooperative Business School manual to the implementation of the business plan, including training on strategic aspects of agricultural producer organizations, their role as drivers of economic transformation in Africa, the scope and power of business services along a value chain as well as the mechanisms of agricultural producer organizations’ operations, and finally the assembly of agricultural producer organizations business plans. The Agribusiness Facility for Africa also presented the Cooperative Business School approach and the content of the training curriculum: training manual, trainer’s guide, Excel toolbox and economic analyses. In addition, the Agribusiness Facility for Africa introduced the process of adaptation, budgeting and scaling up of the approach.
  • Another part of the training was online simulation: Despite the challenges related to the connection, the candidates were able to absorb the methods of delivering the Cooperative Business School approach by carrying out online simulations and listening to their peers doing the same.
  • The evaluations of the training by the participants were very satisfactory in terms of knowledge acquired and reinforced.

This online Cooperative Business School master training was the first step of the certification process. Prospective candidates took an examination that included specific tasks to test the acquired expertise which the Agri-Business Facility for Africa programme team assessed. The next stage of the Cooperative Business School master trainer certification process is ongoing: it involves fieldwork such as pilot training, training of trainers and supervision of apprenticeships within the different programmes that already wish and/or adapt the approach under the supervision of the Agri-Business Facility for Africa. The Agribusiness Facility for Africa will issue the final certification based on the overall performance of the candidates.

We wish the prospective master trainers much success in their certification process and encourage programs and structures working with farmer organizations to implement the Cooperative Business School for the transformation and modernization of rural economies in African countries.

What is the Cooperative Business School

Cooperative Business School is a one-week training program for managers of agricultural producer organizations. Cooperative Business School builds on the Farmer Business School training and illustrates the knowledge with practical examples on business services. Technical and economic viability is the foundation of successful business services.

The regional Sustainable Smallholder Agri-Business program developed and implemented the Cooperative Business School in 2016 with financial support from the European Union. With the aim of making agriculture attractive as a profession for youth, the Agribusiness Facility for Africa and the global Rural Youth Employment program have joined forces to review and improve the approach in 2020 and improved adaptation to the context. Opportunities, needs of IT approaches, and tools in the context of agricultural producer organizations have also been integrated.

Currently, there are 14 Cooperative Business School curricula for five lead products. Cooperative Business School training has been implemented for more than 7,000 managers and members of 600 cooperatives. The approach also forms the basis for capacity building of ATVET institutions in eight countries of the continent.

Visual: © GIZ/Agribusiness Facility for Africa


Veronika Kling,

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