Global Communities announces strategic partnership with Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) to strengthen capacity of Kenya’s cooperative sector

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Nairobi-May 7, 2021

Global Communities’ Cooperative Leadership Engagement, Advocacy and Research (USAID/CLEAR) Program, and the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) have been working together since early 2020 to provide capacity building on worker cooperative management to Kenyan cooperators, leaders, stakeholders and government officials. The series of trainings is designed to equip participants with knowledge and skills to boost their understanding of the worker-owned cooperative business model.

Created by the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, DAWI aims to expand worker cooperatives as a tool for people locked out of good jobs and economic opportunity, focusing on training and developing new leaders, providing technical assistance for cooperative business development, and building a supportive ecosystem for worker cooperatives.

DAWI has led each training virtually from their offices in the United States, allowing for a wide range of participation from ten counties and incorporated speakers from cooperatives and cooperative developers around the world. CLEAR believes that worker cooperatives are a particularly effective solution for jobs and wealth creation in Kenya; especially for women and youth.

DAWI covered a range of topics and themes that Kenyan cooperatives grapple with, such as Workplace Governance and Financial Storytelling to enhance member engagement and understanding. Upon completion, participants are able to understand critical differences between worker cooperatives and other cooperative models – and how the worker model can support Kenyans to create their own jobs based on their own skill sets through democratic management and equitable wealth generation.

“It is a pleasure to work with the CLEAR team to support cooperative developers and cooperative members in Kenya. They are excited to learn about the worker cooperative model and we are happy to share best practices and connect them with their peers in the US,” said Rebecca Bauen, DAWI’s Director of Education and Training. “We look forward to continuing to support worker cooperative development and expansion as it takes hold in Kenya!”

Worker cooperatives are new in Kenya but have proven to be a highly successful model globally.  Worker cooperatives are upheld globally for their ability to support economic inclusion for youth and other sectors of the economy that struggle to integrate into the formal economy. Worker cooperative are particularly effective in the service sector, ICT and graphic design, and more.

CLEAR Chief of Party, Kristin Wilcox Feldman remarked: “Global Communities could not be more proud to be partnering with the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI). As the premier incubator for worker cooperatives in the United States, DAWI brings the most advanced technical knowledge and know-how on how to work with developers and members alike to achieve the best outcomes for true democratically managed organizations.” Kristin added, “Our goal is to see these start up worker cooperatives thrive together, build sustainable wealth for their families based on the businesses they are passionate about and inspire new worker cooperatives to use this innovative business model. Further, we are excited to now include developers and county extension agents in this series of trainings so they, too, can absorb these leading edge tools in their efforts to support cooperatives at the county level.”

Ann Githinji, a Cooperative Officer from Nyeri County Government said, “Through the training, we got to understand the worker-owned cooperative model. We held a discussion as a county and agreed to convert CBOs operating lorries in Nyeri into worker enterprises”

“Worker-owned is a new [form of cooperative] enterprise. We shall continue to discuss it in the county. We can sell the idea to the youth who have skills but no jobs,” stated Brightone Onyango, Senior Cooperative Officer, Homabay County Government.

CLEAR is a USAID supported Cooperative Development Program (CDP) implemented by Global Communities in Kenya to build capacity of cooperatives and provide educational support to facilitate a competitive and informed cooperative enabling environment at the county level.

For further information, please contact USAID/CLEAR’s Communications and PR Specialist , Stephine Ogutu through