Building a solid basis is the most important thing so that we can sustainably continue to operate when the project is over.
Seda is an active member of the new cooperative established recently within Oxfam Economic Justice Programme in Getahovit village. She lived there all her life. She worked in military Prosecutor’s Office in Ijevan city for many years, but left the job due to the Office restructuring. Her husband is a former policeman and is retired now. Seda’s family is large. All of them live in one house together – Seda, her husband and her in-laws. She has two sons, two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. The oldest member of her family is 80, the youngest is just 6 months old. Seda’s family is friendly and hard-working; even the elderly in-laws still take care of cattle during summertime in summer sheds. Just like many young men of the village, Seda’s sons too work abroad – one in Kazakhstan, and the other in Russia. Life is, nevertheless, difficult in the village so they look for additional income.
Seda has expectations related to her involvement in the cooperative and this is what she told us: “When villagers learnt about the cooperative, many did not dare to join the initiative. But I signed up without hesitation. Our household is well-off to certain extent – we breed cattle, make dairy products and hand them for sale in Ijevan shops. My elderly in-laws are mainly engaged in that, however due to old age they experience difficulties. Hence, I am forced to think of new ways how to earn additional income for my big family. Children are growing and the house is becoming small to accommodate everyone. We dream of saving some money to build a new house for my eldest son. So, cooperative is just the perfect chance I need.
Building a solid basis is the most important thing, and opportunities for that exist. We rely on Oxfam for the initial stage. We can learn and achieve a lot through this project, including gaining of experience, so that we can continue to sustainably operate after the project is over.
We expect a lot from the cooperative’s functioning. We are thinking of planting small quantities of various vegetables first, and then follow which vegetables will yield good harvest, which vegetables will be sold most and what type of consumption markets exist. For instance, few people grow cornichons and there is a high demand for them. Moreover, if there is big harvest, we can pickle cornichons and sell canned pickles of cornichons. Marketing knowledge received during Oxfam trainings will, indeed, help us in sales. It would be great if we could purchase a refrigerator and a sun drier in the future. If planned and managed well, we can produce a lot. A lot of things depend on how we will distribute roles and responsibilities in the cooperative. We will do it just like it happens in a family – every person must engage in whatever he/she is good at. I will most probably deal with sales and marketing issues as I have certain sales experience gained from selling produce from my household. I am quite good at negotiating with clients and manage to sell our dairy products.
The cooperative has eleven members now. Nine are women. We all live in one neighborhood and trust each other. I am sure we will succeed because none of us is scared of work; we all use in our daily work the knowledge and skills gained during Oxfam trainings; and most importantly village municipality supports us.”