Fairtrade recognizes the pivotal role of producers in its mission. Active involvement in the organizations in Central Aceh and Bener Meriah district, Indonesia is vital for producers to fully harness the benefits of Fairtrade certification, especially in enhancing profits and sustainable livelihoods through collective decision-making and economic participation. This involves capital contributions, member transactions within cooperatives, and collaborative business models. However, many members are not actively engaged. Several factors such as a lack of motivation, limited cooperative education, and inadequate investment in member participation initiatives using Fairtrade premiums might have contributed to this situation.
To address these challenges, Fairtrade NAPP conducted a Training of Trainers (TOT) program to enhance the capacity of IMS (Internal Management Systems) staff to deliver member education effectively. By building this capacity, we anticipate that regular member education programs, supported by Fairtrade’s Premium Fund, will be established. This will lead to increased awareness and member participation within Small Producer Organizations (SPOs). Fairtrade NAPP also recognizes the importance of engaging cooperative extension workers from both districts as strategic partners in monitoring the progress of member education at the SPO level. Government agencies play a vital role in supervising and ensuring cooperatives’ compliance with national laws and regulations. The objectives of this program are as follows:
1. Empower IMS and government agency personnel to proficiently conduct member education programs within their respective SPOs, arming them with the essential expertise and abilities to engage members actively.
2. Enable SPOs to establish a pool of competent trainers capable of seamlessly integrating member education into their annual programs, thereby ensuring the continuity of educational efforts and the promotion of awareness.
3. Foster greater member involvement in SPOs, as indicated by increased contributions to the cooperative’s business and governance processes, thus enhancing their participation.
26 trainers from Field personnel, IMS representatives from 10 cooperatives, and cooperative support officers from Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah Districts participated in this comprehensive 4-day Training of Trainers (TOT). Led by Dr Chusni, Dr. Azhari, and Mr. Erwin, the Regional General Manager of Fairtrade NAPP, the training covered various aspects such as member education, adult learning techniques, training administration, facilitation skills, and adult learning principles. Each of the four days had distinct objectives and focused on specific topics to enhance their capacity.
Day 1: The first day of the training focused on fundamental concepts related to Fairtrade and cooperative identity. Participants learned about Fairtrade, the general standards of Small Producer Organizations, the essence of cooperatives, and the values and principles that underpin cooperative operations. Additionally, the roles of members, boards, and supervisory board members within cooperatives were discussed.
Day 2: On the second day participants delved into the pedagogical aspects of adult education. They learned facilitation techniques and gained insights into how to develop training modules related to Fairtrade, cooperatives, and member participation. Participants actively engaged in developing these training modules and subsequently presented them, receiving feedback and making revisions as necessary.
Day 3: On the third day of training, participants had the opportunity to put their training modules into practice through in-class or micro-training sessions. The modules covered topics such as “What Is a Cooperative,” “What Is Fairtrade,” and “How to Participate in a Cooperative.” After these trial runs, participants gathered feedback, revised their modules, and prepared for field training.
Day 4: The training with a half-day session was dedicated to member education training at SPOs. Participants were divided into three groups with each responsible for delivering training on Modules 1, 2, and 3 to specific SPOs: SPO Bumi Arabica Gayo, SPO Sara Ate Coop, and SPO Garmindo Coop. This practical field training aimed to put the acquired knowledge and training modules into real-world use, ensuring that SPO members receive valuable education and awareness about Fairtrade and cooperatives.
The immediate impact of this training program was profound and multifaceted. Participants not only had the privilege of gaining a deep understanding of the significance of member education but also acquired essential skills in adult education methods, facilitation techniques, and the management of adult teaching. What made this experience truly transformative was the opportunity for participants to put these newfound methods into practice through micro-teaching sessions conducted at three different cooperatives in the area. As a result of their active participation and dedication, these participants emerged from the training as newly qualified SPO trainers, poised to seamlessly integrate member education into their annual agendas. This commitment reflects a growing culture of continuous learning and an enhanced level of member engagement within their cooperatives. It is evident that all participants greatly valued this learning opportunity, as it provided them with knowledge and skills that had been conspicuously absent in their previous experiences. With newfound expertise, they are now eagerly preparing to initiate member education programs at their respective cooperatives. This plays a vital role in education for fostering vibrant and informed cooperative communities.
“The training we received was invaluable in equipping us to create effective training modules for our cooperative members. As part of IMS, it enabled us to become self-reliant facilitators, a role we once depended on external experts for. The training seamlessly blended theory and hands-on practice, making complex concepts easy to grasp. While we’ve absorbed a lot, we believe further training can sharpen our skills in developing training materials that align perfectly with field standards. We’re grateful for this opportunity and hope for ongoing training to continually enhance our capabilities. Additionally, we’d love to see trainer certification become a standard, recognizing the vital role of expert facilitators in cooperative settings.” – Hairunnas, Koperasi Gayo Arabika Mahkota Indonesia.
“I’m very thankful for this training, as it has been a significant help in my personal development. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and practical experience from both the trainers and my fellow participants. This training has given me a boost of positive energy and motivation to improve myself and contribute positively to others. I want to express my gratitude to Fairtrade and the organizers for making this growth opportunity possible. One specific topic that stood out for me was the one about POD (Adult Learning Approach). It made me realize that educating adults is quite different from educating children and requires a different approach. Understanding the concept and context of POD is crucial when working in the field. Education aims to empower people, and when applied in cooperatives, it translates into making members more involved. This training also allowed me to gain valuable experience as a facilitator in the field, where I had the chance to meet farmers directly and share insights about cooperatives, Fairtrade, and other related subjects.” – Jamiul Khasanah, Gayo lauser Antara Cooperative, Indonesia.