Members of a newly formed women’s agricultural cooperative in Nguila, Cameroon are reaping the benefits of working together.
Madame Na’Ngongo heads the newly formed Coopération des associations des femmes. With 47 members and the support of Cuso International volunteers, the women are already seeing profits from their collective efforts.
“The state will pay more attention to us in a cooperative, and because of it, we have learned more, secured more investment and expanded our work,” said Madame Na’Ngongo.
Nguila’s village Chief gave the women’s collective 50 hectares of land to cultivate, although currently only eight hectares are being used due to a lack of water supply.
“By providing the women with land and a way to make additional income, it will help the village,” the Chief explained.
Local government is no longer supporting small, informal farming groups. Instead, it’s encouraging them to amalgamate into official cooperatives.
Cuso International volunteers like Marylène Leduc are offering workshops throughout central Cameroon to women farmers interested in forming co-ops.
A recent training course saw 40 participants sign up to learn accounting and bookkeeping practices, marketing, and governance requirements for running a cooperative.
Madame Rosalie, one of the workshop participants, said she learned new skills and particularly enjoyed the marketing part of the course.
Madame Na’Ngongo said she is thankful for the assistance her cooperative has received and is looking forward to what the future holds.
“This is going to create a lot of opportunities for the community,” she said. “We are on the right path.”