Within the MaMaSe project in Kenya, Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs), Community Based Forest Associations (CFAs), various cooperatives and private parties are working together to improve water quality and quantity in the Mara River Basin. These stakeholders are facing challenges to build profitable and sustainable business models which contribute towards this objective. To overcome these challenges, Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) and SNV delivered a training to WRUAs, CFAs, Cooperatives and farmers on business economics and cooperative entrepreneurship.
The training was carried out by Kucheza, which is a Dutch company specialized in playful learning. They have developed a simulation game, based on real life data, in order to train farmers and other entities in the agribusiness in agronomics, financial management and cooperative entrepreneurship. By playing the game, participants experience the life of a tomato farmer during several farming-years. They encounter different events each year on which they have to act.
Members who Underwent training from WRUAs' and CFAs'
The first training day was focussed on financial management. The participants were trained in financial decision making, investment management, market dynamics, financial planning and entrepreneurial finance. By playing the training game, they had to make decisions for every farming year on these topics. Decisions such as expanding to extra land, investing in machinery & equipment and about profit destination. Participants learned to calculate the financial impact of these decisions. They got more insight in entrepreneurial finance by making various financial statements (such as income-, cash flow- and investment statement and a balance sheet).Participants also experienced unexpected circumstances and learnt the need for financial planning. Overall, participants became more aware of the importance of financial management and they have learned to apply it on their daily practice.
The second training day was marked by cooperative entrepreneurship. By playing the training game, participants found out advantages and challenges of working together in business. They experienced different stages of cooperation with other farmers; from joint purchasing of inputs or investing together in machinery to being united in a cooperative. Participants learned about collective decision making and became more aware of their role in ‘the bigger picture’ such as an organisation, a community or a region. Also, a part of this training day was spent on making viable cooperative business models, in which the various WRUAs, CFAs and Cooperatives can work together.
The evaluation forms and the feedback of the participants show that they experienced the training as very useful and practical for their own farming business and organisations. We have provided the participants with the financial tools of the training, so that they can use these tools in their daily practice, supported by Wageningen Environmental Research, SNV World and Kucheza.