A case study of the management of coffee cooperatives in Rwanda
Goff, Samuel Neal
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The purpose of this study was to assess the management practices of three coffee cooperatives in Rwanda and, subsequently, modify existing educational curricular modules in order to address the identified areas of need. Societal and institutional challenges, such as a lack of management training, may hinder the growth of welldeveloped coffee cooperatives in Rwanda. Capacity building through adult education is a central component to development efforts. The research questions used to accomplish the purpose of this study focused on the principles of cooperative identity, participation and decision making, internal and external communications, organizational and leadership development, and the duties of and relationships between the cooperatives?? leadership. The three cooperatives have been assisted by the USAID-funded PEARL project. The sample population consisted of the Members, Management, and Board of Directors of the three coffee cooperatives in Rwanda. A purposive sample of key informants was selected. A total of 65 individuals participated in the research task. The data were collected from mid-July to mid-August, 2005. This study was qualitative and quantitative in design. The research instruments included a quantitative, close-ended category-scale questionnaire and a qualitative, openended standardized interview. The responses to the open-ended standardized interviews were tabulated based on the frequency and percentage of responses. The close-ended category-scale questionnaires were analyzed based on the frequency and percentage of responses. A case study data analysis methodology was used to combine the responses to the quantitative and qualitative methods. Major findings of the study include that one or more of the cooperatives need education programming in the areas of cooperative member ownership, job descriptions, and ways in which to increase participation in decision-making. The cooperatives need to increase internal communications regarding the function of the federation of coffee cooperatives in securing long-term sustainability. The cooperatives need to empower the sector level leadership to resolve conflicts and increase communication flows.