Enhancement of the Participation of Women in Co-operative Development Process (1998)

This document has been made available in electronic
format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
June, 1998
(Source: ICA Regional Office for West Africa -Activity Report for 1996-1997, pp.17-18)

Enhancement of the Participation of Women in Co-operative Development Process

ROWA has supported the integration and the participation of women through the financing of training sessions (on co-operative organisation and management) and the setting up of income generating activities (micro-investments, savings and credit funds).

In October 1994, ICA/ROWA in collaboration with the FAO organised a regional bilingual workshop on the integration of women in agricultural co-operatives.

Following this meeting, national surveys were carried out in 1995 and 1996 on member organisations in order to validate the conclusions and recommendations of this workshop and define strategies and specific action plans per union.

Fédération des Caisses d'Epargne et de Crédit Agricole Mutuel du Bénin (FECECAM)
(Federation of Agricultural and Mutual Savings and Credit Banks)
The Smallest Credit to Women (TPCF) is still going on.

The project of small credits for women supported by ROWA since September 1994 has evolved. An evaluation conducted in March 1996 gives the status of the situation: the total amount of credits allocated amounted to CFA 901,053,781 francs for 47,579 women members. The repayment rate was 95%. The progression was made as follows:

The objective of TPCF was to increase women's membership in FECECAM. As of December 31, 1995, we could note the following rate increases according to the FECECAM report:
·  individual members:+64%
·  share capital:+58%
·  depositors:+59%
·  deposit amount:+39%

The evaluation also showed that TPCF was successful as a specific and attractive product to women.

Union Nationale des Coopératives Agricoles du Sénégal (UNCAS)
(National Union of Agricultural Co-operatives of Senegal)
At the end of 1995, UNCAS presented ROWA with a training programme for 10 female monitoring field workers ( "agents féminins de suivi - AFS" ) to ensure permanent education, training, and information in women's village groups. This two-part programme of a two-year duration was composed of two phases:

Female monitoring field workers (AFS) were recruited by regional unions from among the community members in villages. The first phase was initiated in April 1996 for the training of 10 selected applicants in education and co-operative management as well as communication and technical training. The training was composed of three theoretical sessions of 21 days each followed by a two-month field practice. The midterm evaluation mentioned in the protocol of understanding took place in November 1997 before beginning the second phase, planned for 1998.