The 3rd cooperative strategic research on resilience launched, cooperators advised on mindset change

KAMPALA – The Uhuru Institute for Social Development (TUI) recorded another milestone after successfully launching the third strategic research report on cooperative resilience.

The research conducted in 2020 titled “Upholding Cooperative Identity as a Crucial Determinant of Cooperative Resilience in Uganda” was officially launched on Tuesday, 15th March,2022 at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

According to Leonard Okello, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), TUI was registered in 2013 to look for ways to work with Ugandans on how to generate wealth as a team.

“It was a dream on how best we can generate wealth together and beyond the capacity of self-reliance, self-help and working together. So, we started this journey in 2013,” Okello said.

He further said, the first research report in 2013 introduced the institution to understand how much Ugandans needed the cooperative movement to get revamped.

“We went around the country to confirm a report we had released in 2013 of which 98% of the people we met were yearning to get viable cooperatives once more. And because of that, we continued to do some research and released it in 2018 which provided a thinking about the status of cooperatives in Uganda and then the study which we are launching now,” Okello explained.

He also said, the cooperative resilience research report has measured the impact the cooperatives have on the country and improvement on the cooperative movement in Uganda.

“Now that we are done with research on cooperative resilience, we are set to launch technology intended to track the performance of cooperatives in Uganda. We will avail you with a software called Coop Profiler which shall be used to get these measurements,” says Okello.

In his remarks, Eng Danstan Kisuule, the Board Chair of TUI appealed to the cooperatives to get good use of the data captured in the research book.

“Fellow cooperators I urge all of you, and especially the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives(MAAIF) to take the findings of this study very seriously in guiding our wealth creation agenda of our beloved country,” Kisuule emphasized.

Through this research, Kisuule says it should be in position to change the mindset goals of cooperators in Uganda.

“We must address the mind-set change as our top priority, if these thousands of cooperatives should create wealth in this country. Most of these collapsing cooperatives are as a result of the wrong mind-set of the members who only form them to attract external money from NGOs, donors, politicians, and especially the government of Uganda. But this research is one in a series of many others already completed and yet to come that address the mind-set of Ugandans towards building a truly purpose driven cooperative movement,” Kisuule explained.

Jane Amuge Okello, the Principal Investigator says, findings from the research indicate that cooperators’ powers are usurped by the managers due to lack of awareness.

“We have noticed that members are in chains and some managers have taken over the business of the cooperatives where they think that without the manager, there is no business for the cooperative,” Amuge said.

Hon Frederick Ngobi Gume, the State Minister for Cooperatives welcomed the well-researched report conducted on cooperatives saying that it will be purposeful to his ministry.

“I am extremely happy to be here, first of all the research is going to help me in my office and my officers to equally analyze the resilience and be able to measure how predictable the cooperatives are,” Ngobi said.

“I take Uhuru to be an eye opener yet some people think there is a conflict of interest. But you cannot always be sending off somebody who is giving you a pointer that there is a problem. It would be silly for me to sit in my office and say the priorities don’t allow me to go and inaugurate this report because I am going to use it, instead we should be partners,” he added.

The State Minister further agreed with the research findings saying, most cooperators have given up their roles to the management which could see many collapsing.

“It is touching to see a cooperative meeting once in a year and assigning its responsibilities to the Board but also the Board is surrendering their responsibilities to the manager and the managers now seem to be walking with the whole cooperative in their briefcases which is dangerous in the cooperative movement,” Ngobi explained.

However, he challenged Uhuru to also tackle the issue of strategic planning in the cooperative movement where most cooperators money is unaccounted.

“I would also like to inform you in your report that the cooperators have strategic plans and they have work plans but there is a problem. Once the work plan is approved follow it too, because now you are listening to the real cooperators on the ground instead of just opening their work plans in a book,” the Minister said.

“Like an incident happened last month, when conmen realized that the government was releasing compensation money, they went and designed a telephone contact similar to that of the ministry and rang the manager and chairman of the board to send Shs 2m to process visa fees and passport to go to South Africa and he did within five minutes. Now was this money budgeted for in their work plan? Do you think in your survey you would find the budget of a cooperative that the chairperson of the union or society shall be going to South Africa? Ngobi severally asked.

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