The Role of Craft and Artisan Cooperative Societies in the Socio-Economic Advancement of Its Members in Abia State, Nigeria
AbstractThis study has been undertaken with the purpose of assessing the role of craft and artisan cooperatives in the socio-economic advancement of their members in Abia State. The paper specifically identify and describes the socio-economic characteristics of members of the cooperative societies; find out the ways that members benefit from the cooperative group; examine the contributions of the cooperatives to rural economic activities in the study area; identify the constraints limiting the optimum performance of the cooperatives in the study area and make recommendations for greater effectiveness of craft and artisan cooperative societies in the study area. Survey design was adopted to conduct this study. Data was collected with the help of a self-administered researcher-constructed Questionnaire administered on 400 members of craft and artisan cooperative societies that were purposively selected. A pilot test of the instruments gave reliability estimates of 0.79. Data was analyzed descriptively using frequency, simple percentage and rank-order respectively. Results obtained (partial listing) indicated that education (of members) is a significant indicator that can effectively mobilize cooperative societies to attract government presence for assistance, lack of educated members could hinder the leadership structure of the group. Meeting frequently (usually weekly) could help to sustain cooperative societies and also serve as a catalyze for sharing of knowledge and new ideas which could be effective in improving business, solving personal and group challenges as well as increase work productivity. The Osusu scheme could help to abate poverty and solve the problem of insufficient and lack of fund which a significant population of craft men and artisans face often times. Finally, result shows that insufficient fund, migration, non governmental support, corruption among leaders etc. are some of the limiting factors to the optimum performance of craft and artisan cooperative societies in the study area. It was therefore concluded that organize effort to mobilize craft and artisans for cooperative spirit in the study area, and anywhere else, could assist to increase access to fund, dissemination of information and innovations, and reduce poverty.
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