The cooperative legislation in Indonesia adheres to and adopts the international cooperative regulations standards by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and other international organizations responsible for cooperative development. This compliance is in line with the Fairtrade Standard – Chapter 4: Business and Development, which mandates the establishment of a Small Producer Organization (SPO) to be based on democratic structures and transparent administration. This ensures that members and the board have effective control over the SPO’s management, allowing members to hold the board accountable for its activities. The Fairtrade movement explicitly follows the ILO Recommendation R193, which promotes cooperatives, and the Guidance Notes to the Cooperative Principles from the ICA. These principles are rooted in the values of voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community.
An assessment conducted by the NAPP Program consultant in Java and Eastern Parts of Indonesia revealed that there exists a gap in education and training in cooperative governance, management, and leadership among the current members of the board of directors and supervisory boards of 5 Fairtrade coconut sugar producers’ organizations. This knowledge gap hampers their ability to effectively fulfil their roles within their respective cooperatives. As a result, their performance faltered due to their limited understanding of democratic structures, technical-managerial knowledge, and the skills required for democratic control and supervision of a cooperative. This is evident through mismanagement, imbalanced power-sharing, and control, and, in some cases, failure to achieve the cooperatives’ mission.
Fairtrade NAPP organized a capacity-building training program focused on cooperative governance and management for the board of directors and supervisory boards of five coconut sugar cooperatives in Java Island, Indonesia. The training spanned three days, taking place from June 21st to June 23rd in Banyumas Regency, Central Java Province, which was selected for its central location relative to all 5 SPOs. The training was facilitated by two highly competent and experienced independent trainers namely, Mr. Moh Faishol Khusni, who currently serves as the Director of Lapenkop Jawa Timur (Institute of Cooperative Education – East Java), and Mr. Pandu Setiawan, renowned for his expertise in cooperative financial reporting alongside his extensive experience as a cooperative educator and trainer.
The three-day training was designed based on the pedagogy of adult learning and implemented through a method of participatory workshop that directly involved the critical assessment of the participants on the current issues and conditions in each of the 5 SPOs. In this training program, 25 representatives attended the first day while 24 representatives attended the second and the third day of the training. The activities of the 3 days are as follows-
- First-day Training.
Erwin Novianto, the NAPP Regional General Manager of Southeast Asia, Pakistan, and Iran, commenced the first day of training with an introduction to Fairtrade. The primary focus of the curriculum for the day was to develop a comprehensive understanding of cooperative values and principles while emphasizing their practical application within democratic structures and cooperative business models. The training materials were presented using effective adult learning techniques, employing a workshop-style approach. Following the first day’s training, participants from each cooperative formed groups to outline the specific roles and responsibilities of the executive board, supervisory board, and premium committee within their respective cooperatives.
- Second Day Training.
The second day of the training began with a review of the previous day’s group work. Each group presented their descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of the executive board, supervisory board, and premium committee within their respective cooperatives. The trainers-facilitators guided the discussion, focusing on aspects of good governance and management rooted in democratic member control and transparent practices.
The subsequent session centred on the importance of members’ meetings, particularly the general assembly, as the highest decision-making authority in a cooperative. The trainers-facilitators guided participants through the procedures and activities involved in the pre-general assembly, general assembly, and post-general assembly stages. Additionally, a simulation of these three stages was conducted to enhance understanding.
Following the general assembly session, participants delved into annual planning, including budget planning. The trainers-facilitators presented a case study for each of the five cooperatives to discuss and design as a post-training workshop. The case study focused on planning and budgeting to improve members’ income by enhancing the productivity and quality of their products.
- Third Day of training.
The training’s third day commenced with the presentation and discussion of the previously developed cases. The trainers-facilitators seamlessly connected this discussion to the topic of annual planning. Subsequently, the focus shifted towards financial reporting and management, which proved to be the most challenging aspect of the training. Nevertheless, the trainers-facilitators employed effective participatory learning methods, ensuring active engagement from all participants throughout the session. The three-day training concluded with closing remarks, emphasizing the actions that the cooperatives should take as follow-up steps.
With the help of this training program, the participants have benefited on various aspects. These are as follows-
- Participants now possess a deeper comprehension of cooperative governance and management principles, including a clear understanding of the roles undertaken by executive and supervisory board members.
- Participants have acquired knowledge pertaining to the financial aspects of cooperatives, equipping them with the necessary skills to carry out effective financial management and supervision within their respective cooperatives.
- Participants now possess a heightened awareness of the significance of cooperative development. They can engage in development planning and oversee the implementation of development initiatives.
- Participants have acquired a comprehensive understanding of Fairtrade (FT) standard requirements for organizational and business management. They are empowered to actively contribute to their cooperatives’ growth and development while adhering to FT standards.
The SPOs will be closely monitored and followed up by the Indonesia Program consultant is the creation of an annual budget plan and the establishment of standard operating procedures (SOPs) or internal regulations related to internal supervision, financial management, product traceability, executive board operations, members’ meetings, human resources and labour, and members’ education. These outcomes will be subject to continuous oversight and evaluation by the consultant.
The training has successfully equipped participants with the essential competencies required for effective democratic control and governance within cooperatives, specifically in relation to the roles of executive and supervisory boards. Participants have gained proficiency in carrying out the routine duties associated with these positions. Furthermore, they have developed the adaptability to fulfil their responsibilities and meet the expectations of their working environment. Participants are now capable of responding to unforeseen events and managing unexpected situations that may arise within their cooperatives. As a result, they are making valuable contributions to enhancing the overall performance of cooperative governance and business operations.
“Prior to participating in this workshop training, I felt that I was already able enough to perform the supervisory mandates, with the skills that I had. However, during the workshop training I realized that eventually, I have much to learn and relearn. There was a moment of Tabula Rasa, that I need to start the new pages from the beginning of zero and absorb all knowledge shared by the trainers-facilitators. I feel the need to change so that I shall perform my mandates with more confidence and assurance. The workshop only lasted for three days but the knowledge and examples that were shared by us all are valuable and meaningful. Three days for the changes, three days for the affirmation, three days for fighting for the future, three days for friendship, three days for loyalty and three days for the success of our cooperatives. The three-day training workshop has made me firmer and more confident in being honest and full of integrity, and braver and I have gained so much essential knowledge too. Let’s now cultivate the spirit to be more progressive”.
– Ratimin (Male) – The Supervisory Board of Koperasi Karya Manis Sejahtera 33806
“As a chairman of a newly established cooperative, the workshop training has opened my mind to the new horizons that shall guide our paths in forwarding our journey in the world of cooperatives. I came with a zero experience in cooperation, and the gained knowledge during the workshop training is valuable capital for us to inspire other members to move forward in gradually achieving our common goals”.
– Ahmad Hakim (Male) – The Chairman of Koperasi Sari Manggar Alami 46787
“The trainers-facilitators are wonderful, they could deliver the materials well despite the limited time we had. It was delightful to meet other Fairtrade cooperatives’ personnel and share our different experiences. In the future, we will improve our administration so that we can be a better cooperative”.
– Helina Parnawati (Female) – The Treasurer of Koperasi Sari Manggar Alami 46787
“During the workshop training, I gained so many knowledge and now I can say that I understand better about cooperation. The trainers are well versed and could deliver the materials in ways that are easy to grasp, and they are also friendly. We are going to improve our annual plan and budget”.
– Umi Maskhuroh (Female) – The Second Treasurer of Koperasi Karya Manis Sejahtera 33806