Poverty alleviation through grassroots co-op organisations (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.19-20)

Poverty Alleviation through Grassroots Co-operative Organisations

This programme was implemented at UNCAS in Senegal and with Chamen Self-Development Centre : a Self-help NGO in Gambia. The final beneficiaries are the primary co-operatives, women groups and their individual members.

The programme involves integrated income generating, training, credit and savings activities.

Union Nationale des Coopératives Agricoles du Sénégal (UNCAS)
(National Union of Agricultural Co-operatives of Senegal)

The Senegal Programme is specific because it was initiated and implemented by the women's committees of the UNCAS primary co-operatives.

These committees benefit from the technical assistance of animators, rural volunteers and female monitoring field workers nominated by village communities and trained since 1995/96 thanks to the ROWA support.

Each committee has set up its own autonomous management body which determines priorities, strategies and criteria for participating in the programme.

For the 1997/98 year, the selected and ongoing activities are savings, training sessions for management committee members, loans for funding individual and collective income generating activities.

The Regions of Diourbel, Saint Louis and Thies are involved in this first phase, and the results obtained for the period under review are as follows :

The major constraints and difficulties are related to poor training (management and control) and the gap between the banks financial capacity and the members' needs.

Chamen Self-Development & Training Centre
In 1997, the centre located in Farafeni (The Gambia) requested ROWA support for a poverty alleviation programme in nine outreach villages close to Farafeni. Women's groups are the beneficiaries of this two-year programme. Considering the conclusions of a feasibility study conducted in November 1997, ROWA accepted to support the programme in three villages for 90 women. The components of this programme are : income generating and training activities (functional literacy, agricultural techniques, handicraft, breeding, etc....)

The activities are planned for 1998.