Creating job opportunities for the youth through cooperatives in Ethiopia

18-05-2020

Agriterra is implementing its ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs approach’ in African countries, i.e. Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.
Ambitious young professionals are offered the opportunity to gain work experience in primary cooperatives and unions at known Agriterra partners. Agriterra co-finances the salary costs of the cooperatives that have enrolled in the programme and guides the young professionals and cooperatives through the development, implementation and evaluation of the young professionals’ personal development plans.
Agriterra gradually decreases its co-financing to guarantee the sustainability of the project. 

Follow-up Kick-off Workshop Youth Participation – Seyemti FCU

Why Jobs?

In Ethiopia, most of the agricultural primary cooperatives are managed by farmers/members on a voluntary basis. This has a negative impact on the performance of the cooperatives: the cooperatives do not give a fulltime service during working hours, financial transactions are not properly recorded, the records are not properly managed, etc. Furthermore, more than 28 percent of the Ethiopian population is younger than 35. Youth unemployment is estimated at nearly 27 percent.1 There are many university and college graduates. But are there enough jobs for all those educated young people?

The professionalisation of the cooperative sector cannot be achieved without a sensible and fairly-paid employment scheme. Creating employment opportunities at cooperatives does not only provide jobs for job seekers but also guarantees efficient delivery of cooperative services, ensures professionalisation and results in the satisfaction of member farmers. Therefore, Agriterra Ethiopia set up a collaboration with the cooperatives to create jobs for youths and women in rural primary cooperatives. The new employees could support the primary cooperatives in improving their service delivery and business performance, turning them into strong institutions that generate income to cover their costs independently and run their organisation in a sustainable and professional way.


Maize post-harvest training – Damot FCU

Currently, more than 60 primary cooperatives of 8 unions benefit from this approach. Agriterra has created 87 jobs for young professionals to strengthen and professionalise the primary cooperatives in their role as a link between farmers and the cooperative union. 

Depending on the needs and the gaps identified in the selected primary cooperatives, the young professionals that are recruited currently provide services related to e.g. business development, extension services, marketing services, management, and accounting. Agriterra has provided various training courses (e.g. about finance and marketing) at the selected cooperatives.

“The Jobs jobs jobs programme has given us the opportunity to hire great young professionals. They make a very valuable contribution to our union and PCs. It is great to see the remarkable improvements in the financial management of the PCs.” 
(
Seyemti union manager Mr. Aregawi Gebretsadik)

Added value of the youth to their cooperatives

  • Primary Cooperatives (PCs) are led by professionals.
  • PCs start operations and open their offices regularly to serve farmers.
  • Service to farmers improved which will lead to an increased confidence of farmers.
  • Relationship between farmers, PCs and unions improved.
  • PCs are active in marketing, collecting, and selling farmers’ crops. 
  • Financial management of the PCs improved, i.e. PCs have updated bookkeeping and payments/collections are settled immediately.
  • Damot FCU hired 9 additional employees for other PCs by themselves after they had seen the added value of the employees in the Jobs, jobs, jobsproject.

    Seyemti Adiyabo and LemLem Welkait FCU:   

  • The newly hired PC accountants at Seyemti Adiyabo and LemLem Welkait FCU received a training inn Financial Transaction Record Keeping & Basic Financial Management with the support of Agriterra. They are now able to handle financial documents in both manual & Peachtree formats.
  • The financial management of Seyemti Adiyabo and LemLem Welkait FCU improved and they are preparing all the PCs’ member for a 100% audit for the first time in the region.


Purchasing and marketing training - Uta wayu FCU 

Way forward

Most of the newly recruited managers and accountants are fresh graduates or have limited work experience. Agriterra has a plan to provide additional training and mentorship for the youths based on the needs of the cooperatives. This will help to improve the cooperative knowledge and business skills of young professionals and will enhance the professionalisation of cooperative operations.

 


1 USAID FACT SHEET-DEVELOPING ETHIOPIA’S YOUTH, July 2017, https://www.usaid.gov/ETHIOPIA


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