Listen, and you will hear voices empowered

One of the most important committees of each cooperative is the Supervision Committee. It is their function to hold the cooperative management accountable to the membership. This is not an easy role to play in Haiti where presidents (even in cooperatives) tend to impose a kind of kingly authority over the cooperative.

Pierre Richard Pierre, pcH Adult Literacy Coordinator, conducted the two-day training seminar held at l’Église Bapitste de Robert at the Chinchiron cooperative. The methodology employed is that of Global Learning Partners (GLP), which embraces the concept of “learning to listen, learning to teach.” The principles of this methodology/training are to answer the question: “How do we know that they know?” Can they do what has been taught? Can they ask the right questions? Can they fill out a form? It is training over teaching. The principal player in this methdology is the person themselves. The trainer (pcH) is the facilitator of the learning.

Participants identified the ‘fruits of the cooperative’ (health, economics, finance, change); resources needed (pencils, notebooks, rulers, calculators, receipt books); documents required (bylaws, constitution, contract copies, credit policies, outstanding loans) and other planning tools (inventory counts, calendar of visits, chronology of activities, reporting forms).

Participants were learning how to do their job, how to supervise and how to hold their administration accountable. They came to understand that the Supervision Committee is the most important one of the cooperative. They are not formed to judge or accuse, but to hold the truth. They are to prepare fair and accurate reports to present to the General Assembly. They understand that they have a right to call a meeting at any time if findings reveal discrepancies or misdoings.

It was an empowering seminar to witness. Each group performed a skit that posed questions to an often resistant administration.

How profound the learning! How profound the ability to read and write! How profound the building of community, of realizing equal opportunity that comes through learning. How profound the lessons of exercising accountability, the power inherent in self esteem, in hearing your voice making a difference. This is the beginning of democracy.

And I was watching it unfold…

Editorial by Betsy Wall, Executive Director

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