“I have worked for An Giang provincial cooperative alliance (PCA) for more than 15 years, and I find the consulting work on the establishment of cooperatives implemented in the past time not so helpful”.
This concern of Mr. Nguyen Tan Trong Nhan, an officer of the supporting and planning division of An Giang PCA, is representative of those of many employees of this PCA.
Therefore, DGRV started a partnership with An Giang PCA at the end of 2018 to jointly build capacity for its staff. The program aims at training these officers to be qualified consultants in terms of knowledge and skills. Only when cooperative members understand the nature of the cooperative model, they can truly connect and cooperate with each other. And this is one of the key factors for their sustainable development.
Within the framework of the DGRV partnership, in January 2019, Mr. Nhan was able to join a study tour for officers from 4 Vietnamese PCAs to the Philippines. The study tour enabled, amongst others, a direct exchange with a big Philippine Cooperative, the Soro Soro Ibaba Cooperative.
As for most of the participants, this was the first time Mr. Nhan had been in contact with a foreign cooperative with thousands of members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the cooperative shared information about the services of the cooperative and emphasized its mission to serve the members. Mr. Nhan was extremely impressed by the requirements of the cooperative on the admission of new members. Those who want to become members of the cooperative must attend a one-day training session on this model so that they understand their rights and obligations.
The study tour to the Philippines inspired Mr. Nhan and his colleagues to persuade the Provincial People’s Committee in An Giang in the following. They wanted to support training courses for members of farmer groups who seek to establish new cooperatives. In these courses, consultants mainly focus on explaining the seven principles of cooperative organizations as well as guiding them to choose the right business model.
In an interview, Mr. Nhan talks about the positive impact DGRV´s partnership with An Giang PCA has on his work:
“In the following courses of DGRV, I learned from DGRV staff how to explain concepts related to cooperatives in a way that is logical, familiar and easy to understand. In 2019 and 2020, I participated in trainings and consulting for founders of more than 60 cooperatives in the province. It is to mention for example the Thanh Tam Agricultural Cooperative, which was formed from the need of members, who are rice producing households, to get qualitative input supplement and marketing service for their products. When I was attending the general meeting of the cooperative, I saw that the members of the cooperative were then able to express their opinions, aspirations, and co-ownership rights.”
Mr. Nhan adds: “My colleagues and I at An Giang PCA always enthusiastically participate in DGRV training courses because they provide us with a lot of in-depth expertise needed for our job. The exchange and sharing of information with “classmates” from other PCA helped me to have more interesting and practical examples of effective cooperative models. This made the training and consulting contents I conducted for cooperatives more attractive and convincing. And this again is of high importance for the development of our members.”
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