International Labour Organization runs co-op training for Laos coffee farmers

The course aimed to encourage the advancement of co-operatives in Laos’ coffee-growing regions

Last month, the International Labour Organization (ILO) delivered an orientation workshop for the development of coffee co-operatives in Vientiane, Laos.

The interactive training was delivered by ILO’s technical officer in Bangkok, Akira Kawasaki, and ILO’s national coordinator to Laos, Anousone Sosenginh, to a group of seven participants. The group included representatives from the Lao Coffee Association, three coffee farmers’ co-operatives from the Champasak province in Laos and a training service providing company.

The session was based on the ILO’s Our.COOP toolkit, a training package consisting of three main areas relating to different stages in the life of a co-operative – conception, establishment, and management. It also includes the key concepts around co-op developments, including the seven co-op principles.

The aim of the training was to equip participants with the knowledge required to deliver the Our.COOP training modules using and activity-based learning approach.

The ILO reported that overall, participants of the course found the Our.COOP’s peer-learning approach to be an effective tool in educating co-op members on the role of co-operatives in achieving common economic and social well-being. 

“The participants found Our.COOP easy to understand and use, without needing to have prior experience with the topics. They were able to facilitate their own groups, making the learning experience more enjoyable.”

The representatives of the coffee farmers’ co-ops in Champasak also expressed eagerness to share what they had learnt with other coffee farmer co-operatives in surrounding areas. 

The Lao coffee association and the co-ops now plan to take the ‘Our.COOP’ training programme back to their communities to determine next steps and develop co-operative implementation plans. 

The ILO says it will continue to support participants to improve production and sales operation among coffee farmers through collective action. 

Sengchanh Khammoutha, vice president of the Lao Coffee Association commented, “I sincerely thank the ILO for introducing the Our.COOP training tool. We are confident that this tool can be a big help for many co-operative groups in Laos.”