The Cooperative Development Authority introduced the “KOOP KAPATID PROGRAM,” which was formerly known as “Big Brother-Small Brother Program,” wherein the “Big Brother” extends assistance to “Small Brother.” All assistance arising from this Program will be stipulated by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) duly signed by the between a partner-cooperative and beneficiary cooperative to help the latter accelerate its development adopted Cooperation Among Cooperatives, the sixth principle of cooperative. If applied, this principle can be beneficial to serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
Article II. Section 9 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that: “The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the nation’s prosperity and independence and free the people from poverty through and an improved quality for all” and Section 2. Legal bases “It is the declared policy of the State to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice, and economic development. The State also recognizes the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) as primarily responsible for cooperatives’ institutional development and regulation through a partnership with cooperative sectors. Accordingly, the State recognizes the right of cooperatives to initiate and foster within their own ranks cooperative promotion, organization, training, information gathering, audit and support services with government assistance where necessary.”
Additionally, the Koop Kapatid Program aims to improve cooperatives’ management, governance, and business operations by providing technical, financial, or other assistance forms. As stated in the Work and Financial Plan, one of the programs implemented is the Big Brother – Small Brother Program, now the KOOP-KAPATID PROGRAM. So the first step of the program is to identify one large or medium cooperative as Big Brother and one micro or small cooperative as Small Brother. Upon evaluation, Free Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, an agricultural cooperative, medium type category, and a Hall of Fame “Siglat Awardee!” during the Ilocos Kannawidan Festival of the Arts” adopted the Cuancabal Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a micro cooperative of the same municipality.
In May 2019, Dr. Josefina B. Bitonio, Regional Director of Region 1, and Ms. Jacqueline De Leon, Sr. CDS of CPDAS, discussed the program’s features to both parties (board of directors) at the office of Big Brother. The Big Brother Cooperative were very much willing to help their small brother cooperative and gave all the support technically and financially. The manager said that they were once also a small cooperative and encountered many problems and challenges. Because of their firm determination to grow, passion for serving, and cooperation among the officers, they overcame it.
After the orientation, the parties signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in the same month. Before the MOA signing, the small brother gave the Training Needs Analysis and presented a calendar of activities to Big Brother for their approval.
The first activity implemented was in December 2019. Training on Fundamentals of Cooperative and followed by Cooperative Management and Governance was attended by the officers of Cuancabal MPC and some Officers of Free Farmers’ Cooperative. After the training, the small brother cooperative officers realized that there were many things to be done in running their cooperative, especially in the governance.
After a week of implementing the mandatory training, officers of the small brother were again invited to coach on loan products. They have learned the different loan programs of Big Brother to adopt and implement what particular products are best suited in their cooperative. And last technical assistance provided at the end of 2019 was the preparation of an action plan.
The small brother officers were very thankful to their big brother for the all-out support from financial to technical assistance. In return, the small brother promised to implement what they have learned to improve the quality of life of their members and their community.
Herewith is a quotation from Mattie Stepanek, which says, “Unity is strength … when there are teamwork and collaboration, we can achieve wonderful things”.
The partnership journey is still ongoing and will undertake more activities to further strengthen the beneficiary cooperative. (Raymund N. Pilorin, PCDS Ilocos Sur)