Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Chapter 3. Developing groups

The focus of the previous chapter was on setting up new groups; in this chapter it is on developing existing groups. As the group develops, employees might have to be recruited (3.1), you may want to work on the motivation of the group members (3.2), you may have to resolve a conflict between several group members (3.3), or you may want to develop links with other organizations (3.4). If there are several milk producer groups in the area, the groups might want to think about setting up a milk producer group association (3.5). Other issues on developing groups have already been dealt with in chapter two, technical dairy issues will be dealt with in chapter four, other possible group activities in chapter five, and participatory tools in chapter six.

FAO group promoter's resource book
FAO group enterprise book
FAO inter-group resource book

3.1. Staff recruitment

As the group grows, a management team can be formed, which includes the leaders of the group and paid professional management staff. Members should keep the ownership of the group, but they can leave the controlling work in the hands of the elected leaders. The leaders in turn can leave the day-to-day management in the hands of an appointed manager.

The role of the manager is very important and it is crucial to select the right candidate. Managers must have management, leadership and organizational skills. The function of the manager must be clearly defined. When the manager is selected he/she must be given the right on-the-job training to get to know the group members, the management committee and the activities of the group. A trial period of three to six months should be given in order to find out whether the right candidate is selected.

The group has to decide on procedures and techniques to select, appoint, evaluate and reward performance. Each position should have a job description and the candidate must have the necessary technical skills and personal qualities. Training on the job must also be provided where needed.

3.2. Group motivation

Motivation of the members (especially in the long-term) is important for the sustainability and success of the group, and you might want to organize specific activities to keep and increase the motivation of the members.


One of the first steps in trying to increase motivation of the members, will be to increase participation. Participation of all members in decision- making and group activities is very important (see chapter six ’participatory tools‘).

increasing activities

Increasing the activities of the group can help to motivate members (see chapter four and five). You might want to find out from the group members in which activities they would have the most interest.


Training and learning tours can also assist in motivating members; this will be dealt with in section 5.3: ’information and advice services‘.


Some examples of activities to increase group motivation and ownership, which are not dealt with in chapter four and five are:

3.3. Conflicts

Focus in this section will be on the management of internal group conflicts. In every group there are different people who have different interests. It is therefore not surprising that conflicts arise. If conflicts disturb the activities of a group, they can, in the long run, even threaten the existence of the group. In this case, timely action is needed to resolve these conflicts.

why do conflicts arise?

Before doing something about a conflict, it is very important to find its root cause. You will need to know the group members well in order to do this. There are several reasons why conflicts arise:

1. communication problems

Communication problems can arise for example due to different languages, dialects or jargon that some don't understand.

2. lack of information or transparency

Many conflicts arise because people are not informed e.g. if the leaders don't provide transparency on the financial records, mistrust from other group members might cause a conflict.

3. ignorance of members' needs and interests

For example if the leaders are only concerned about their own interests.

4. social power differences

Conflicts can also arise if there are differences in social status, for example a “superior” clan within the group makes all the decisions.

5. different laws are conflicting

Conflict arising for example from laws in the constitution which clash with local customs or other laws.

how to prevent conflicts?

Participation of all group members in the decision-making processes right from the start can largely prevent conflicts. All the interests of all group members should be acknowledged, and all-important decisions should be taken by voting. Participation and participatory tools are dealt with in chapter six. Proper record keeping (see section 2.3 ’keeping records‘) and the sharing of important information with all members are other factors you should consider if you want to prevent future conflicts.

how to deal with conflicts?

The group leaders or group promoters can deal with the conflict in several ways:

3.4. Developing links with other organizations

Links with other organizations and programmes are very important because they can assist and complement the activities of the group. Strong links with other organizations can give the group financial or political benefits and can facilitate the access to information. It is important to know which milk production related activities there are in the area. To improve links, you can:

dairy institutional diagram

A dairy institutional diagram (see section 6.3) can help in exploring possible links with other organizations. A collaboration matrix (see section 6.8) can assist in working out in more detail the specific collaboration activities between the group and another organization.

collaboration matrix

3.5. Milk producer group associations

As mentioned before, one of the advantages of a group is in economies of scale, and this is even more significant for “a group of groups”, which we will call ’group associations‘. In an association of groups, a number of groups can pool their resources. Below it is explained what an association is, what it can do, and how to proceed when starting one. If you want to know more about how to start a group association, an excellent reference is the FAO Inter-group resource book.

FAO inter-group resource book

What is a group association?

A group association is a self-governing association of milk producer groups at, for example, a district or regional level. At a higher level, the association may be linked to a national milk producer union. The association provides services and benefits to improve the economic and social conditions of the group.

The advantages of forming a group association include:

It is important to clearly establish the functions and responsibilities of the associations at district, regional and national levels to avoid overlap and a waste of resources. As in the case of individual groups, a set of objectives must be agreed and bylaws established to facilitate the smooth functioning of the association.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page