From 30 July-2 August, Shalom Educating for Peace trained cooperative members in transforming conflicts at a training event under the auspices World Vision Rwanda. 31 participants from four cooperatives actively participated in the training in the Karongi district in the Western Region of Rwanda. The overall objective of the training was to equip the cooperatives with capacities to positively respond to conflicts and build trust among their members.
Having the participant stay at the training venue maximised their engagement and interaction. The training interchangeably used lectures, discussions, group work, case studies, plenary sessions, and role play. It was based on SEP-Rwanda’s unique training manual for training cooperatives in ‘Resolving and transforming conflicts’ which has been piloted and found very appropriate to the local context and applicable to trainings for cooperatives in Rwanda.
At the end of the training, participants expressed appreciation for the content and the approach used by the trainer. In addition to the knowledge gained from the training, they described the event as a unique opportunity where cooperative members can meet, exchange experiences, learn from one another, share about best practices, existing challenges and how they have faced and overcome them. The training enhanced their capacities in managing cooperatives, responding to conflicts in positive ways, and building social cohesion and trust among the members of cooperative as key elements of a healthy and successful cooperative.
Cooperative members made the following recommendations to organisations wanting to support their work:
- Prepare and sign Memorandum of Understanding with Cooperatives in order to clarify roles and responsibilities in their partnership agreements.
- Organize study visits, create and extend opportunities for exchanging experiences between cooperatives.
- Establish mechanisms that could enable effective follow up and ensure the proper use of the support given to cooperatives.
- Provide not only financial and material support but also build capacity of cooperatives and organise relevant trainings.
- Organize a workshop on conflicts in cooperative for the cooperatives’ leaders and local authorities and advocate for the autonomy of the cooperatives in managing their resources and sharing interests.