Cooperatives undergo international training

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) hosted its first My.Co-op training in Virginia last week. This was the first training to ever be hosted in South Africa and 85 cooperative members from the Matjhabeng Local Municipality underwent training in co-operative management.

This came after a Welkom businesswoman, Mirna de Hart, visited the ILO international training centre in Turin in 2012.

“After returning from the ILO international training centre in Turin in 2012, I started the ground work in the Matjhabeng Local Municipality to bring the ILO training programme for cooperatives to our district.

“Through the support of the Welkom SEDA office; the ILO Free State Initiative and on request of the MEC for agriculture, Mamiki Qabathe; my company, IMAC Services, was able to train 85 cooperative members on this programme during May and June this year,” said De Hart.

She added that the initiative was supported fully by the Matjhabeng Local Municipality; especially the department of local economic development (LED).  The premier’s office also attended the ceremony which was held in Virginia.

“This was the first ILO My.Co-op training that took place in South Africa and a milestone for cooperative development in our province,” said De Hart.

The objective of the training is to enable existing and potential managers of agricultural cooperatives to identify and address major challenges that are specific to cooperatives in market orientated agricultural development.

The morning started with a short two-hour workshop that was presented by De Hart, to the cooperative members on the importance of having meetings and on how to write the minutes of those meetings.

Qabathe said the department is very happy to be associated with the initiative.

“This is a great initiative to boost the economy of the province and especially areas like Matjhabeng where alternative sources of income have to be developed. We believe that agriculture and tourism can make an enormous difference and we want to congratulate these 85 members on their achievement.”

The newly graduated members were excited about the benefits of the training.

“There is always room for improvement and one can never know enough especially when you want to make your dream a success. Throughout our training, we received the necessary skills and we will keep on attending the brief workshops to enhance the skills that we are lacking,” said Josephine Sekgala, of the Sew Together Cooperative.

De Hart was also selected as one of three candidates from South Africa to participate in this year’s study tour of the Japanese cooperative movement.

“Considering my involvement in the South African cooperative movement, I believe that my participation will have a considerable multiplying effect in our community.”

The tour is organised by the Japanese Consumer Cooperative Union (JCCU) and the ILO and will take place from September 2 to 11.