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Cooperatives can access about E400 000 funding from CoopAfrica

Business Section


MBABANE –The Cooperative Facility for Africa (CoopAfrica) has called for funding proposals from local cooperative organisations

The Cooperative Facility for Africa (CoopAfrica) has called for funding proposals from local cooperative organisations to stand a chance to benefit from funding ranging between E150 000 ($20 000) and E380 000 ($50 000).

This request in not limited to cooperative organisations, as cooperative support organisations such as unions, federations and colleges, as well as other stakeholder close to the cooperative movement are also eligible to apply. The application period opens today and the deadline for submissions is October 18, 2009.

The fund is called the Challenge Fund and proposals can be submitted in three different categories; namely the services, innovation and training categories. CoopAfrica’s Country Focal Point Charles Hlatshwako said funding requests between E150 000 ($20 000) and E380 000 ($50 000) are collected twice a year through calls for proposals and this was the fourth call for proposals since the initiative was introduced last year. “Calls for proposals are open to eight African countries, including Swaziland, under a highly competitive bidding process.

Three calls have been organised so far, with the first one in June 2008, the second in November 2008 and the third in May 2009,” Hlatshwako explained. Elaborating on the previous three calls for proposals, he said 55 organisations had already been selected for CoopAfrica grants for a total funding of approximately E18 million ($2.7 million). “Funding may, in exceptional circumstances, be extended to approximately E1.1 million ($150 000) during these calls when organisations that have been or are in the process of being recognised as ‘centres of competence’ and are involved in the implementation of the project or are requesting capacity building assistance through the Challenge Fund for Training,” he said.

He went on to explain that the maximum project duration was nine months, adding that all projects were expected to be finalised by November 2010. CoopAfrica is a partnership programme implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and it aims at improving governance and efficiency of primary cooperatives in order to strengthen their capacity to create jobs, generate income, reduce poverty, provide protection and give people a voice. Interested people can contact the CoopAfrica Country Focal Point Charles Hlatshwako by emailing hlatshwako charles@yahoo.com or by calling 602 2642.

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