Under the EMIRGE Mongolia program, I continually witness that members in well-managed cooperatives work better together and lead their businesses to success. This is evidenced by the significant increases in income, the proposal of new ideas and initiatives, the application of new technology, and the displays of members’ unity, solidarity, and increased social activity. Cooperative members and the management around them are crucial for cooperative success and are core to its survival.
Most cooperatives face issues such as poor access to financing, inexperience in marketing their products, challenges in developing methods or solutions for motivating the members, problems with managing daily cooperative activities, and understanding how both business and cooperative principles operate simultaneously. The sharing of personal experiences with solving organizational challenges helps listeners feel connected. When cooperative leaders highlight their paths to growth, it raises confidence in other cooperatives who are searching for their own solutions to address cooperative or market challenges. Successful cooperatives can lead growing cooperatives to achieve much more, and cooperative leaders can inspire and teach other cooperative leaders in ways that professional consultants can’t.
With this in mind, the EMIRGE Mongolia team organized a 3-day community leadership training alongside Development Solutions, a local Mongolian non-governmental organization, to build the facilitation and leadership skills of cooperative members and board members. This 3-day training helped cooperative leaders grow their presentation skills while also focusing on building self-confidence to bring out their natural ingenuity.
Cooperative leaders need to able to speak, plan, and bolster support to galvanize member proactivity.
After three days of training, one cooperative leader presented her cooperative activities to the community meeting. Another cooperative leader facilitated a session on preparing compost to increase soil fertility. Many of these individuals had little experience speaking in front of a group. The reactions were impressive! One member said, “The EMIRGE training helped me have the confidence to explain to others about my cooperative and my business. I am very proud that I can speak in front of many people.”
These individuals are not just poor farmers—they are proprietors of their own farms and are members of growing cooperatives. They are becoming representatives and encouraging community members to take the initiative to join a cooperative and learn how to increase their production. The EMIRGE program continues to strive to make the community leadership training a hallmark of our cooperative development service and emphasize that cooperatives leaders are community leaders.