The SNNPR Cooperative Agency, in collaboration with the Regional Agricultural Growth Program (AGP) Coordination Unit and the Capacity Development Support Facility (CDSF), officially rolled out the Common Interest Group Business Guidebook (CIG BGB) training. Two sessions were held, one in Shashemene (Nov 25-26) and one in Arba Minch (Dec 2-3). Participants were drawn from all AGP Zones and Woredas and included experts from the Cooperative Promotion Agency, The Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs Office, as well as Zone & Woreda AGP Coordinators. In total, 155 participants (14 Female) attended the training.

A Common Interest Group (CIG) is an informal group of 10 – 20 members from the same village who voluntarily agree to cooperate on a profit-oriented agricultural activity. The activity can focus on value chain activities including the production of crops or livestock, post-harvest handling, and storage, processing and marketing. CDSF’s capacity development support aims to maximize AGP’s valuable support to establish and maintain CIGs, which supplement farming for rural women and youth with alternative livelihoods opportunities. The Business Guidebook is a tool developed by CDSF to support the success of CIGs.

The sessions were officially opened in Shashemene by W/o Ameria Hussen, Regional Cooperative Promotion Agency Head, and in Arba Minch by Ato Tofik Juhar, Deputy Head of the Agency. The sessions were facilitated by Teshome Dessie and Kifle Abraham from the Regional Cooperative Agency, and Seyfedine Naser and Mulugeta Arega from the AGP CU, with technical support from CDSF staff.

During the training, participants tackled major concepts including: Basic concepts of Value Chain with regard to Gender, Business Idea Selection, Feasibility Study, Business Plan Development, Business Management and Promoting CIGs to Primary Cooperative.

During the training, the facilitators skillfully applied the principles of adult learning using methods such as group discussions, Think-Pair-Share techniques and panel discussions. Finally, participants from each Woreda discussed how to roll training down to the Kebele level. They were successful in determining a tentative timetable for the trainings, the desired participants and required budgets to meet their training needs.