Barriers towards Enterprising of Cooperatives in Sesheke District of Zambia

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Simamba, Habeenzu
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to explore on barriers to the enterprising of cooperatives in Sesheke District. This was against the background that cooperatives were not enterprising for over a decade. Thus, the study enquired on; what cooperatives were doing in their quest to enterprise, why they were in their current state of nonenterprising and what practical solutions would help resolve the problem. The study took a phenomenological approach and generated data by enlisting nighty two (92) participants. These included eighty (80) participants from executive boards of cooperatives through focus group discussions and twelve (12) key informants through a workshop. The participants were sampled using Maximum Variation Sampling of whicThe findings revealed that cooperatives of Sesheke District were not enterprising as its members were not collectively engaged into any activity. The non enterprising of cooperatives is attributed to six (6) internal and three (3) external barriers. Internally, the enterprising of cooperatives is impeded by lack of; a vision, business plans, internal resource mobilization, cohesion amongst members, good leadership and profitable investment decisions. While externally, a weak legal framework, lack of access to external aid and a conducive market environment are factors affecting the enterprising of cooperatives. Cooperative members were not collectively engaged into any activity as they disregarded the cooperative ethics, values and principles. Besides cooperatives did not have vision statements and business plans as members lacked skill on how to formulate them. Apart from this, there was poor internal resource mobilization as members were reluctant to buy shares for fear that their money would be abused by their leaders. Further, lack of cohesion was due to the infighting among the members of cooperatives. While, poor leadership and unprofitable investment decisions were due to high illiteracy levels of its members. Externally, a weak legal framework, lack of access to external aid and poor market environment affected the enterprising of cooperatives due to the prevailing unfavorable policy framework. To overcome the internal and external barriers towards the enterprising of cooperatives in Sesheke District, the study recommended for the strengthening of the cooperative legislation, capacity build cooperatives and establishment of village cooperative banks.