Project Update: Governing Women’s Cooperatives

Women's Cooperative Meeting in Ghana

What is the best way to both encourage involvement and efficiently govern a women’s cooperative?

SIRLab is currently tackling this question through a pilot study in 46 communities across Ghana. One of our partnering development organizations is seeking to develop new income generative opportunities for rural women through the collective production of soap, shea nuts, and other products. The challenge that the development organization is facing, however, is how to efficiently govern these cooperatives while maximizing involvement and ownership among their members?

SIRLab’s intervention in this study explores two governance options to this question. One structure is based on a hierarchical, executive approach; the other structure is based on a flat, committee approach. While the first structure comes more naturally to these 46 communities, prior research in this area suggests that the second structure may create a greater sense of involvement and ownership among the members of the cooperative. Participating communities have been assigned one of these two governance options for the next several weeks.

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SIRLab Team