CIG Business Guidebook Inspires Hope
The Rapid Institutional Capacity Assessment (RICA) that CDSF conducted in March 2016 found that agricultural extension experts, particularly Woreda and Kebele level experts, face challenges in providing sustainable business development support for women and youth Common Interest Groups (CIGs) due to their limited knowledge and skills in business development support provision, in particular, conducting feasibility studies based on business ideas generated by CIGs.
A baseline assessment that CDSF conducted in March 2017 also identified that woreda and kebele level experts have limited knowledge and skills in providing systematic and effective support for CIGs resulting in failure of CIGs business in AGP Kebeles.
To overcome these challenges, CDSF delivered a training course on Business Plan Development and Business Feasibility Study for regional Implementing Agencies (IAs) in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regions. The primary objective of the training was to provide training skills to facilitate training at the woreda and kebele level cooperative Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) and Cooperative Development Agents (DAs) who are directly responsible for supporting CIGs.
The publication and distribution of the Guidebook has created excitement and hope among women and youth CIGs in the pre-testing Kebeles, DAs, partners and stakeholders. They greatly appreciate the development of the Guidebook that many have described as extremely helpful and a step in the right direction to bring in much-needed success into CIGs.
Recognizing the importance of the Guidebook in alleviating some of the critical problems CIGS have been facing, the Agriculture Growth Program Coordination Unit (AGP CU) has planned to validate and institutionalize the Guidebook in all concerned AGP implementing agencies. The federal AGP CU has also allocated budget to reprint more copies in 2011 so that all women and youth CIGs as well as DAs can soon have access to the Guidebook prepared in their local languages.
“The Federal AGP PCU has decided to allocate budget and reprint the CIG Business Guidebook and distribute it to women and youth CIGs in AGP2 for very good reasons: CIGs’ success depends heavily on the way they handle their businesses including business idea generation, business feasibility study, business plan development and business management. Unfortunately, absence of a standard reference materials that support business development cycle has paused a great challenge for CIGs and experts who support CIGs. As the Business Guidebook CDSF has developed is a standard one, we hope it will solve the critical problems CIGs are facing and lead their businesses to success.”
“There was no resource material such as the CIG Business Guidebook before. We were supporting CIGs based on our prior individual knowledge and experience. The Guidebook will no doubt help to provide tailored and standardized support for all CIGs. It will be used as a reference material for CIGs and CIG supporters. The material will also help our CIGs to select business ideas. I strongly believe this material will have a big impact on profitability and sustainability of CIG. That is why we are excited about it.”