Effect of women cooperatives on livelihood of members in Abia state, Nigeria
Effect of women cooperatives on the livelihood of their members was assessed using descriptive statistics. The study covered Ohafia, Umuahia and Aba Agricultural Zones in Abia State. Respondents comprised 180 members of cooperatives (cooperators) and 180 non-members (non- cooperators) respectively for comparison, giving a sample size of 360. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools such as means scores, percentages, frequencies and tables. Results showed that all (100%) of the respondents were literates but 93.3% were married, while age range of the respondents was 40 – 59 years. About one half (50%) and 36% of the respondents were farmers and traders respectively. Effect of the cooperatives on the livelihood of members revealed that 74% of the cooperators acquired higher educational qualification as against 44% of the non-cooperators. Similarly, 66.7% of the cooperators and 23% of the non-cooperators lived in houses with rugged palours. Cooperative members had about seven (7) contacts with Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) per month while non- cooperators had about three contacts with AEAs per month. Cooperators earned 50 – 90.9% higher income (N21,000 – N 30,000/ month) than non- cooperators (N 11,000 – N 20,000/ month ). Consequently, cooperators had 100 children in higher institutions as against 48 children of non-cooperators suggesting that cooperators are economically advantaged over non- cooperators. From the foregoing, it is concluded that membership of women cooperatives is a roadmap to improved livelihood of rural women and their farm families and therefore should be encouraged among the rural women.
Keywords: Women Cooperatives, Livelihood Activities, Effect on Members.