02 June 2022
Global Communities, The Co-operative University of Kenya (CUK) and Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) partnered to launch a new curriculum on Worker Cooperative Management. The curriculum was launched with an executive level training for CUK faculty from the 16th of May-27th May 2022. The course is part of ongoing efforts by Global Communities through the USAID-funded Cooperative Leadership Learning Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) Program to promote and raise awareness about worker cooperatives as value-driven businesses that create meaningful employment and strengthen local economies.
The Worker Cooperative Management course has been designed to enable existing and future managers, members, and developers of worker cooperatives to understand the model and management of worker cooperatives and identify market opportunities for establishing them within Kenya’s service sector. The course has been adopted from successful worker cooperative development and management training developed by Democracy at Work Institute School for Democratic Management in the United States. The curriculum was adapted for use in Kenya and piloted through CLEAR with cooperative members and cooperative development officers and thereafter adapted for university level. The two-week faculty course focused on the following modules: Worker Cooperative as Democratic Workplace; Popular Education for Members; Effective Meeting Facilitation; Communication for Managing Conflict; Personnel Systems; Introduction to Open Book Management; Open Book Management Critical Number; Financial Statements & Storytelling; Member Rights & Responsibilities & Board Best Practices; Effective Decision Making and Member Compensation. The inaugural course included 12 faculty members from the Co-operative University of Kenya and 1 representative from the International Cooperatives Alliance (ICA) Africa. The training culminated with a graduation ceremony on Friday, 27th of May that was graced by the Vice Chancellor of The Co-operative University of Kenya, Professor Ngamau Kamau; Professor Isaac Nyamongo, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Co-operative Development, Research and Innovation; Global Communities Kenya Team Lead, Olga Oyier and lead trainer from Democracy at Work Institute, Ms. Rebecca Bauen at the Co-operative University of Kenya. The Vice Chancellor underscored CUK’s commitment to incorporating the Worker Cooperative model and the course materials into the University’ academic programmes.
Graduates of the training will become part of The Co-operative University of Kenya pool of certified worker cooperative educators able to conduct future trainings for students, cooperative development officers, and practitioners.
In Kenya, cooperatives are critical contributors to social and economic development. While agriculture and financial cooperatives (SACCOs) are very popular, worker cooperatives remain unrecognized despite their potential for wealth creation and employment opportunities for youth and service sector workers. The CLEAR program has been supporting cooperatives through coaching and capacity strengthening activities to help enhance their role in advancing decent work, especially in the service development sector. The program is currently incubating 15 worker cooperatives in sectors including construction, technology, fine arts, and solar engineering.