Cooperatives Support Programme (CSP)


The CSP focuses on building the capacity of 100 cooper­atives working in the value chains of maize, beans, Irish pota­to and horticulture. This four year programme, funded by the Dutch Embassy in Rwanda started in May 2013. Through training and coaching the programme will en­hance these co-operatives to increase their farms rev­enues.

The total budget for this programme in Rwanda is €2.1 million. SPARK has developed in-depth training materials (Cooperative Management & Membership, Ac­cess to Markets & Entrepreneurship, Access to internal and external- Finance) for cooperatives. Furthermore, SPARK has a cadre of cooperative trainers and coaches who work closely with the cooperatives themselves, and is supporting other or­ganisations working on strengthening these value chains and cooperatives. Business Development Services (BDS) is the second component of CSP and specifically focused on the agri-businesses and agri-cooperatives provided by high quality certified agri BDS professionals that are the key to transform Rwanda’s agriculture sector from sub­sistence to a commercial viable sector.

In Rwanda SPARK puts in focus enterprise develop­ment, youth entrepreneurship and agri-business de­velopment that are geared to support economic devel­opment. The aim is to assist people to access stable income generating activities. Entrepreneurship devel­opment for example, is one the strategies to increase business starts-ups in Rwanda. The focus is on training people with vocational skills in entrepreneurship. But in a country whose people are frequently referred to as not having an entrepreneurial mind-set and where access to finance is a big challenge there is a key role for devel­opment partners and NGOs like SPARK. When it comes to doing business, there is a push to become a self-em­ployed entrepreneur, but access to information, knowl­edge and support for new entrepreneurs is a challenge.

SPARK’s Cooperative Support Programme (CSP), es­pecially SPARK’s Access to Finance was designed to give agro-entrepreneurs the tools and skills they need to expand their business models. Revenues are increas­ing and so far they have met every repayment deadline, thanks to the expanded networks of buyers and mar­keting strategies they have utilised after undergoing SPARK’s Access to Markets module.