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April 23 MINN sponsors Humphrey Fellows Mkhaliphi & Coker presentation on Cooperatives-Based Sustainable Rural Livelihoods System: Swaziland & Sierra Leone

2013edited.jpgCOOPERATIVES- BASED SUSTAINABLE RURAL LIVELIHOODS SYSTEM: SWAZILAND AND SIERRA LEONE April 23, 2013 HHH 55 (IFP) 1 to 2:30 pm. Refreshments served.

Thulani Mkhaliphi and Samuel Coker, two long-standing professionals within their respective governments of Swaziland and Sierra Leone are 2012-13 Humphrey Fellows at the University of Minnesota. They in the course of the Fellowship linked up with the Movement Center for Deep Democracy and the Main Street Project, and found mutual interests in galvanizing the cooperative sector as the driver of innovation to end hunger and poverty in the rural areas of their countries. Pictured here with 2012-2013 Government of India Fellow and MPA student Shyama Prasad Roy: "Shyama has a history in this project I did the nasty work together with him from developing the idea from scratch and he has been sort of a special adviser throughout."

With the Movement Center for Deep Democracy, they formed a working group, which met from December 2012 through early April 2013 to develop a system to elevate the cooperative sector and design rapid innovations to increase local food production.
The Fellows and MCDD have put together a proposal designed to spark a sustainable evolutionary capacity in the cooperative sector to guide and drive change to support rural thriving in all regions of Sierra Leone and Swaziland. Moringa and bamboo business enterprises have been touted as the anchor business operations of this rural transformation model. These products will be central to protecting and restoring watersheds, increasing health in local communities, and promoting multiple products in value-added agriculture that facilitate cooperative wealth creation.

The model is driven by the belief that the best possible future for Africa, and the world, will be realized only with full flourishing of the cooperative sector in all facets of economic and social life. The model also recognizes that, cooperative development has evolved significantly across Africa over the last 20 years and that people in both rural and urban communities across Africa are already cooperating in one way or another (in some instances struggling to cooperate) in order to resolve the pressing challenges of politics, the economy and environment and promote mutually beneficial opportunity. However, there is still need to develop a practical system to channel the energies of communities to areas where they will have the desired transformational impact.

The project concept is premised on two key hypotheses:

• Innovative Rural Development centered on the cooperative organization of food production and local food systems is key if development aid in Africa is to begin to yield positive returns.
• Peace, Stability and Democracy will remain a pipe dream when there is so much hunger and poverty in Africa.
And the specific objectives are:
• To design a prototype community co-operatives based model for determining and producing essential community dietary needs. To design a community co-operatives based farming model for producing essential community determined dietary needs.
• To graduate community co-operatives into rural enterprises participating in the agricultural economy (initially start with Moringa and bamboo)
• To strengthen decentralization institutions and devolution initiatives necessary for supporting project implementation, capacity building and sustainability.
• To specifically establish an enterprise to produce " Bamboo Bicycles " from locally produced Bamboos for ease of movement and transport initially for communities participating in the project (extension workers, local councilors, children who travel long distances to schools)
• To set up community media centers in designated local centers as learning centers, community news disseminating centers and spaces for knowledge sharing.
• To graduate rudimentary community co-operatives into rural enterprises participating in the agricultural economy (initially start with Moringa and Bamboo mass production)
• To strengthen decentralization institutions and devolution initiatives necessary for supporting project implementation, capacity building and sustainability.
• To specifically establish an enterprise to produce " Bamboo Bicycles " from locally produced Bamboos for ease of movement and transport initially for communities participating in the project (i.e. extension workers, local councilors, children who travel long distances to schools)
• To set up community media centers in designated local centers as learning centers, community news disseminating centers and spaces for knowledge sharing.
This is a massive initiative for Swaziland and Sierra Leone, whose lessons and practices will be replicated in other African countries with similar challenges.

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS
http://movementcenterdeepdemocracy.com/
http://www.mainstreetproject.org/

sam.pngSamuel Coker, Sierra Leone
Mr. Samuel Coker is a Human Resource Manager with the Corporate Directorate in the Sierra Leone civil service. His main duties include developing drafts for policy recommendations on corporate issues, developing implementation strategies for new policies and providing periodic monitoring reports on the implementation of civil service policies in the government ministries and departments for policy evaluation and effectiveness. He received a master degree in public administration from the Institute of Public Administration and Management at the University of Sierra Leone and a bachelor degree in politics and history from the Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. During his fellowship year, Mr. Coker has been focusing on public policy formulation and analysis, and strategic management

Thulani.pngThulani Mkhaliphi, Swaziland
Mr. Thulani Mkhaliphi has served local government in Swaziland for more than 19 years. He is the Director of Decentralization for the Swazi government's Ministry of Tinkhundla (Local Government) in Mbabane, where he provides policy development support and handles issues of governance at a local level, particularly as it relates to Swaziland's traditional form of government led by local chiefs. He regularly interacts with traditional authorities, urban local authorities, members of parliament, government Ministers and Swazi citizens to lead the process of decentralizing government in his country. He earned a master degree in public and development management from the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) and a bachelor degree in public administration from the University of Swaziland (Manzini). During his fellowship year Mr. Mkhaliphi has been focusing on local governance, policy development and implementation, and civic engagement.

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