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A Day in a Life of a Cooperative

Published 02/22/2016 by Global Communities


A Day in a Life of a Cooperative

Matt Feldman, Visiting International Professional in Rwanda and Uganda, August 2015
Worldwide, the rural poor face similar constraints to generating income. Livelihoods are predominately based on small-scale, low productivity agriculture and farmers often lack the resources and knowledge to improve productivity and access more lucrative markets. The cooperative business model has proven effective in overcoming these obstacles through mobilizing local resources to enable small-scale farmers to collaboratively accomplish what they cannot on their own. Effective cooperative leads to improved access to key inputs and technologies, realization of production efficiencies, expansion of value-added activity and increased bargaining power in markets.

In Rwanda, Global Communities’ Enabling Market Integration Through Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) integrates groups of marginalized economic actors into the mainstream economy by linking them to the services and markets that will drive growth in productivity and income. Learning new technologies or using better seeds with enhanced nutrition helps cooperative members learn to maximize limited natural resources and increase the quality and quantity of food that requires fewer inputs to grow.

To capture in pictures some of the daily activities of rural cooperative farmers Matt Feldman volunteered for EMIRGE in August 2015. As a photographer and communications professional with more than 15 years of experience Matt combines creativity and strategic vision, and helps health and development organizations capture their impact by developing multifaceted, visual-driven projects.

Said Matt: ‘From leading journalists to producing films, I like to mix a broad overview and deep detail – building complex narratives of complex problems.’ In Rwanda and Uganda, Matt captured in pictures activities of several farmers-members of local cooperatives working with EMIRGE, illustrating the whole process from production to sale of products including, as the case may be, planting, composting, watering, harvesting, processing, and marketing. And if he had to climb scaffolding in a processing plant to take a picture, so much the better!