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East Acholi Cooperative Union in training drive to revive defunct primary societies

East Acholi Cooperative Union Limited, EACU, in Kitgum district, has embarked on training members of its primary societies as it attempts to revive the societies, many of which had become inactive.

EACU was established in 1951 as an agricultural cooperative, but like many other unions across the country, all of its 108 primary societies became inactive due to a number of challenges.

Since 2019, the union has been on a drive to restore all the primary societies but has so far succeeded in reviving only seven.

Henry Komakech, the Secretary Manager of EACU, told theCooperator that even the seven societies so far registered are still operating only partially. To be considered active, a cooperative must be registered, all members must have paid subscription fees in their society and attend all its meetings. But the seven societies are not yet holding meetings.

“The seven societies have agreed to do business with us, but within their groups, they are not yet fully in business,” Komakech said.

“When we call them to buy our produce, they do, but they have not started holding meetings in their societies. It is through these meetings that they would form minutes and resolutions which their Chairperson is supposed to bring to the union for follow up,” he said. 

Refresher training

It is partly to address this situation that the union started training the executive members of all the 108 former societies as part of its attempts to get them fully operational again.

“We want to bring all the societies back to active status. This is being done by ensuring that the societies register, pay their subscription fees, and are reminded of the principles of a cooperative,” Komakech said.

The union is currently mobilizing members of the defunct primary societies and encouraging them to enrol and elect their leaders, after which a team from the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives will come and give them a second training.

“By mid this month, we expect the team from Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives to have started training the executives of the primary societies on the principles of cooperatives and how working in common will benefit them. They will also be taught about financial management and generally build their capacity to restart operations. These executives will, in turn, train their other members.” 

Komakech hopes that the training by the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives will also help the members of the societies regain the trust they had lost in working in common.

Morish Atwom the Kitgum District Commercial Officer, said he started doing the preliminary training, with 15 primary societies already trained. 

He affirmed that the training is focused on principles of cooperatives and cooperative values, governance, leadership structure, how to conduct elections, the composition of committees, before the Ministry of Trade gives an in-depth one. 

“Surely these primary societies were dormant for many years and these kinds of training are very important to refresh the minds of the members,” Atwom said.

“Majority of the members don’t have adequate knowledge in cooperative management. We hope the training will also attract more members to enroll and pay their subscription fees,” he said.

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