Canadian NGO, SOCODEVI, has taken steps to support women in the northern part of Ghana through the creation of the Rice Parboilers Co-op, all in an effort to empower them economically and improve their livelihoods.
The creation of this co-op, made up of more than 1,400 women, is supported by the Canadian NGO SOCODEVI as part of the Development Program for Inclusive and Sustainable Model Cooperatives (PROCED) funded by Canada. Through this programme, Ghana witnessed the birth of the rice parboilers co-op of Bolgatanga, Bawku and Navrongo (the BBN Cooperative).
New investments have also been made to help all BBN members get through the unpredicted lasting covid-19 pandemic and reduce their risk of contamination during post-harvesting and processing works. Thanks to additional funding from Canada, SOCODEVI could buy five times more ovens to the women parboilers than initially planned; 500 improved ovens were distributed to allow the women to work in smaller groups during rice parboiling activities.
The improved ovens will help protect the environment by fighting deforestation and desertification as the stoves consume little to no wood. It also contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions since it allows to get rid of rice husks in an environmentally friendly way. The oven is also user-friendly and timesaving for women, as one only needs to fill the stove’s main drum with rice husks and ignite it with a simple piece of paper. Those 500 improved stoves send the value of donations to the BBN co-op to GH¢130,000.
To accompany this initiative, intensive training on the use of these ovens were offered to all 1,409 BBN Coop members at the end of 2020. These training also detailed covid-19 protocols and offered open spaces for women to talk about gender-based violence. Workshops were done in partnership with the Bawku and Navrongo health directorates and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU) in Bawku, Navrongo and Bolgatanga.
An inclusive, sustainable and regional program
Through the PROCED program, SOCODEVI is implementing five model cooperatives in key sectors of the economy of three different west African countries: two in Senegal in the housing and agri-food sectors; a model cooperative in Ghana in the rice sector; and finally, two model enterprises in Côte d’Ivoire as part of the cashew and cocoa value chains.
Operating over a five-year period, the PROCED also supports people in implementing mitigation and adaptation measures to climate change. Through the Farmer Field Schools, SOCODEVI’s capacity-building program, people are informed of specific strategies and techniques to, among other things, increase agricultural yields and adopt climate-smart economic activities. SOCODEVI’s activities are also aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
SOCODEVI, a network that cooperates
SOCODEVI is a Canadian NGO that was created in 1985 from the desire of the cooperative and mutualist network to put into practice one of the founding principles of cooperativism: intercooperation.
In 35 years of existence, SOCODEVI has executed more than 400 projects in 40 countries located on four different continents. In total, SOCODEVI has supported more than 800 cooperatives around the world thanks to the collaboration of its network of member institutions.
For three decades, SOCODEVI has contributed to improving the living conditions of families in developing countries by supporting the creation and strengthening of inclusive, autonomous, profitable, sustainable, and innovative cooperatives. Consolidation of value chains, capacity building, gender equality and adaptation to climate change constitute the essence of our interventions.
SOCODEVI promotes sustainable access of families to resources and tools, while strengthening the power of women and men in decision-making structures to enable their economic autonomy and social inclusion. We work with various stakeholders to generate inclusive and synergistic partnerships between civil society organizations, governments, and the private sector for the benefit of communities.
An official handover ceremony of the ovens from SOCODEVI to the BBN Coop was done in SOCODEVI’s Bolgataga office.