Cadar Maxamed Nur is a member of Tawakal Trader Association. She joined the association when the project staff identified her during the initial assessment. With a household of eight members to feed and no husband, Cadar started as a sole trader in the 1990s. She struggled through tough times and managed to keep her business afloat.
“Sometimes when I would get sick, there was no one to look after the business so I would have to shut down until I got better. I would also close down whenever I needed to visit a distant relative. Everything changed when I joined this association. Now, thanks to the capacity building trainings, I know what it means to make a profit or loss. I now save through the shared bank account and I trust these people because we have a common goal and they are also committed to this venture. Thanks to the association, I now make enough to send my children to school, pay for other miscellaneous expenses and save a little”.
Capacity building is an ongoing process through which individuals, groups, organizations and societies enhance their ability to identify and meet development challenges. For farmer organizations, this process involves training sessions in crop production and management aspects of various value chains through Farmer Group Discussions, field demonstrations and question-answer forums. This is aimed at enhancing the performance of small holder farmers.
When farmers come together in groups they are able to; address challenges facing smallholder farmers; readily access information on production, value addition, and commodity marketing; develop effective linkages with input suppliers and financial service providers; lower costs as a result of synergy created by economies of scale; make processing and marketing of their products easier and cheaper as well as access inputs and equipment; manage drying, storage, grading, cleaning, processing, packaging, branding, collection and transportation of produce.
Essentially, training farmer organizations and associations is more effective than training individual farmers. This is because farmer and trader organizations have institutional structures through which development efforts can be channeled. As such, INGOs, local NGOs, public sector and other development stakeholders find it easier to work with and train organized groups as opposed to individual farmers.
Capacity Building Curricula
Capacity building for FOs, Trader associations, and other value chain actors was done via the Rural Commercialization Curriculum. It covered the following modules: Small holder commercialization: Market development; Value chain development; Group capacity development; Business development and Trade development.
Capacity building was carried out during the implementation of the RuCoM project. Three major workshops were held in Hargesia with Trader Association Forums being held in various markets in Somaliland and South Central. A number of Buyer-Seller Forums were also conducted as a way of empowering communities through creation of market linkages.
Capacity building programs have given special focus and attention to gender aspects within farming and trading communities through increased opportunities for women participation in training programs. Currently, the trained women work as mobilizers of other women joining male dominated FFSs. A suitable example of such groups is Hoodale FFS in Baki, which has increased its women membership from 2 to 15 as a result of training sessions.
Governance Training and Intervention
FCI, through the Rural Commercialization Model that has enhanced capacity development through conducting group dynamic training forums that enhance proper governance at village levels. These structured Farmer Organizations are involved in running of village production activities as well as fostering peace and conflict resolution; which is a pivotal aspect of RuCom intervention.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond