My.Coop – empowering women coffee producers in Colombia

My.Coop – training on agricultural cooperative management has strengthened entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of at least 315 women coffee producers in Colombia since 2016.

Actualité | 24 septembre 2018
Participants at the training
In 2016, the Cooperative University of Colombia (Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, UCC) and Coffee Growers Cooperative of Huila (Cooperativa Departamental de Caficultores del Huila, Cadefihuila) signed a contract to strengthen entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of the Association of Women Coffee Growers of West Huila (Asociación de Mujeres Cafeteras del Occidente del Huila) using My.Coop – Managing your agricultural cooperative. My.Coop is a training programme developed through a partnership of various organizations including the ILO, the ITC-ILO, Agriterra and the FAO to enabling agricultural cooperative managers to identify and address major management challenges that are specific to cooperatives in market oriented agricultural development. The project was granted financial support by the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and La Caixa Banking Foundation.

In Colombia, the adaptation and implementation of My.Coop was initiated in 2012 within the framework of the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme of the National Service of Learning (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, SENA), in partnership with UCC, Confederation of Cooperatives of Colombia (Confecoop), and the Special Administrative Unit of Solidarity Organizations (Unidad Administrativa Especial de Organizaciones Solidarias). Through this programme more than 35 My.Coop trainers were trained.

The first phase of the project was well received by the cooperation agencies and extended to a second phase with other organizations in Huila. To date, 315 women have been trained in municipalities of La Plata, Timaná, Pitalito and Santa María in Huila and an estimated 1,260 people including their families have benefitted from the project. Women coffee producers have strengthened leadership capacity and created new business units and employment opportunities for women. They redesigned brand image and positioning in the market and increased sales in the foreign market, which led to an international recognition in 2017 Corresponsables Awards.

Increased capacity of women producers’ organizations in social and business management was demonstrated by the growth in social base and development of new productive projects in the communities. In 2018-2019, cooperatives in other municipalities in Huila will be trained and assisted.