A cooperative dream realized in Malawi
It was one year ago, that my book, Smart Risks, was launched into the world! In it, my coauthors and I, featured the power of grassroots organizations to make a deep and lasting impact in poverty reduction around the world. One of those effective organizations is the Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative in Malawi. My chapter in Smart Risks, “Local leader’s in the driver’s seat,” chronicles the creation of this group under the guidance and vision of Canaan Gondwe.
I gave Canaan a copy of Smart Risks last year when I visited, and I was so touched to see him quoting the book in the preamble to his latest quarterly report.
Some members of the cooperative attending a training seminar. The green cloth is the official cloth of the COMSIP organization.
Report from Canaan:
The Cooperative began in a small and humble way with 55 community members who pooled their collective individual powers to face their social and economic human challenges with greater possibility.
From Canaan’s report: Member who used their Bicycles to come and attend a Cooperative meeting
Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative has a testimony that, “when ordinary people are able to create, link and strengthen their own organization and through them to voice and act what they think, feel and want, they acquire more power over their choices and decisions that they affect their lives.” (Smart Risks, 2017:62) Yes!
The cooperative spans the income brackets in Manyamula. Some members have motorcycles and use them to help with cooperative business.
“For people living in poverty and without basic rights, organization makes a different future possible.” The Manyamula Cooperative has become a force to contend with. Yes!
Our thriving cooperative movement in the community plays a greater positive influence, which establishes a flourishing cooperative and member economy. Yes!
On-going, peer-to-peer mentoring: Small business management motivational talks in the cooperative hall.
A better world needs a cooperative future.
Currently the Cooperative membership base is 180 people. It has 50% women representation and an asset capital base of about 25 million Malawi Kwacha ($34K USD)!
Sharing the Gift: In the “pig pass-on” program, the cooperative raises pigs and gives piglets to poorer members.
To quote one of Canaan’s frequent phrases, “wow, wow, wow.”