Rwandans this weekend met in their respective sectors to celebrate the International Cooperatives Day.
Internationally, the day is celebrated on July 7 but in Rwanda, it was observed a week later, to make way for celebration of the Liberation Day.
At least three million Rwandans are members to cooperatives and the livelihoods that directly depend on these cooperatives could easily be more than three or more times of that.
The cooperative movement has been steadily growing and their impact felt across the country, but there remain issues, especially in the way they are managed.
At the national event to celebrate the Cooperatives’ Day, a manager of the Musanze District-based KOTANOMU Ubumwe - one of the coops that were recognized for being efficiently run and which demonstrated progress in as regards their investment portfolio, said there was one magic bullet. Consensus.
He said that before they set out to do anything, they must have a strategy in place – say of five years – for which they set out what to achieve over that period of time.
After the strategy is designed, the next stage is to seek consensus of all individual members before they embark on that strategy.
Once they make the investment, everyone owns it and work hard to ensure they collectively achieve it, in the interest of all the members.
The results have been tremendous and they have what to show for it; a commercial complex worth Rwf160m a large piece of land worth Rwf40m, not to mention personal development of each of the over 1,200 members.
Now, as part of their five-year plan, the coop says that by 2023, they want to build a Rwf3bn hotel in Kinigi Sector, to tap into the tourism sector for which the region is globally renowned.
There is no doubt they will achieve this because they have one thing; consensus.