January 22, 2024

Strengthening Business Associations and Cooperatives in Busia County for Economic Revitalization

Jane Mumo

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Under the USAID Strategic Partnership Program, the agency and Voice of the Private Sector (AVPS) is keen to facilitate agriculture-led growth for inclusive economic growth through institutional capacity building of cooperatives and business associations.

The recognition of producer cooperatives and business associations as a pathway for social, economic, and democratic development is significantly acknowledged in developing countries. In Kenya, cooperatives were devolved to the counties following the 2010 enactment of the Constitution and are affirmed to be critical drivers for rural development. Even though counties have adopted the cooperative model at the grassroots level, most still need to harness their mandate to benefit their members fully.

Through partnering with the Busia County government, AVPS convened the first-ever massive capacity-building training for cooperatives. The workshop attracted 169 representatives from 35 producer cooperatives and aimed to strengthen their organizational capabilities and support economic localization and the reinvestment of surplus within communities.  The value chains represented in the training were cotton, Bamboo, Rice, Fish, Coffee, Dairy and Edible Oils.

With a key focus on sustainability, the training sessions provided insights for the ward cooperative leaders to become well-versed in the best practices of cooperatives and how they can employ such skills to stimulate the economic participation of their members.

Gracing the training, Busia Governor, His Excellency Dr. Paul Otuoma (accompanied by his cabinet members), expressed his commitment to rejuvenate the cooperative model at the grassroots level.

“The first call of action to organize and enable our population to earn a decent livelihood is the formation of Ward-based cooperatives to stimulate economic participation in Agricultural, industrial, performing arts, and manufacturing,’’ retaliated Dr. Paul Otuoma.

Through the intervention of institutional capacity building by AVPS, the County Government of Busia committed to working together for improved livelihoods through the cooperative model. To start off,  the County Leadership commissioned the 35 fully trained ward cooperative officers to various wards to spearhead the organization of various cooperatives and ensure they are fully functional and beneficial to their members. This is the first step geared towards renewing the cooperative model at the grassroots level for economic revitalization.

The Agency and Voice of the Private Sector is committed to enhancing the voice of the county-level private sector to create and advocate for a conducive business-enabling environment and enable them to increase investment, sales, and employment, hence improving livelihoods and, ultimately, social-economic transformation.

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