Cooperatives have become larger, more diversified, and integrated to match similar advances in the marketplace and on the farm. In the early years, local cooperative managers not only supervised operations but also maintained accounting records waited on customers and swept floors. Boards of directors knew little about off-farm businesses. Many cooperatives failed because of inept operating management and poor monitoring by the board. Specific examples included overextension of credit and unsound collection practices, poor technique in grain marketing, inadequate attention to keeping products in condition, overexpansion of facilities, underfinancing, over advances to growers in pooling operations. Cooperatives have increased in size and diversity of products and services, and have departmentalized their operations. The cooperative sector has over one billion members in more than 90 countries worldwide. 9,330 credit unions serve 184 million members in 97 countries and have combined assets of $1.35 trillion. 

The cooperative’s primary purpose is to coordinate resources across its platform groups and to deliver products and services to better the lives of individual cooperative members, their customers, and their communities. We believe that devolving power and resources as close to a customer or challenge as possible while still remaining true to our mission is our “secret sauce” to building our culture of ownership. Further, we believe that our structures of working together must be fluid and responsive to meet many challenges. 


  • The non-transparent decision-making process within cooperatives 
  • Limited information and awareness of existing policies, laws, internal rules and regulations, and even decisions made within the cooperative movement (Confederation, Federations, Unions), creating disconnects between the leadership and the membership base; 
  • Limited leadership, managerial, technical, IT, and other soft skills required for effective management of cooperatives. 
  • Mismanagement of cooperative resources, due to poor financial management capacity, embezzlement of some cooperative leaders and employees, lack of transparency, and limited accounting skills. 
  • There is no clear limitation in terms of members of a single family allowed to participate in one Cooperative, especially in the decision-making committee.


Cooperative management systems are designed to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and overall success of cooperative enterprises. In Rwanda, which has a growing cooperative sector, such a system can have several advantages: 

  • Economic Development: Cooperatives often play a crucial role in the economic development of a country. A well-managed cooperative system can help boost local economies by providing employment opportunities, generating income for members, and stimulating economic growth.
  • Poverty Reduction: Cooperatives in Rwanda can help reduce poverty by empowering individuals to work together and create economic opportunities. Members of cooperatives often have access to resources and training that they might not have on their own, improving their livelihoods.
  • Access to Markets: Cooperative management systems can help cooperatives access larger markets both domestically and internationally. This can be especially beneficial for small-scale farmers who may struggle to enter larger markets on their own.
  • Increased Bargaining Power: By pooling resources and negotiating collectively, cooperative members can often secure better prices for their products and services. This increased bargaining power can lead to higher incomes for members.
  • Resource Sharing: The cooperative system facilitates resource-sharing among members, such as machinery, storage facilities, or transportation. This can lead to cost savings and greater efficiency in production and distribution.
  • Training and Capacity Building: The cooperative management system provides training and capacity-building programs for members. This helps improve their skills in managing the cooperative, financial literacy, and sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Risk Mitigation: Cooperatives help members mitigate risks associated with agriculture or other industries by sharing risk and loss. For example, in the event of a crop failure, members can collectively absorb the losses.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Cooperative management systems encourage sustainable practices within the cooperatives, such as environmentally friendly farming methods or responsible resource management.
  • Access to Finance: Well-organized cooperatives are often more attractive to financial institutions and donors, making it easier for members to access credit and funding for investment in their businesses.
  • Empowerment of Women and Marginalized Groups: Cooperative systems can empower women and marginalized groups by providing them with opportunities for leadership and economic participation that they might not have in traditional business structures.

CSM in CMIS at Rwanda: 

The RCA was currently using a web-enabled system named WEMIS, which helps the RCA to do the core activities. In WEMIS, RCA found some shortcomings, for which RCA wants to enhance the workflow and needs an advanced system so that the gaps can be mitigated. We at CSM made this application advanced and fully automated to promote an autonomous and economically viable cooperative movement founded on cooperative values and principles that enhance social integration and uplift the standard of living of its members. With that regard, RCA promotes business entrepreneurship in the cooperative organizations sector through the CMIS system. 

The Cooperative Management Information System is implemented to automate the end-to-end tracking process of cooperatives and their activities in a manner that will guarantee efficiency, transparency, and simplification of different modules.

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