Cooperatives In The Changing World

Over the years the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) has acted as the voice of cooperatives worldwide. Established in 1895, ICA represents an estimate of three million cooperatives. It’s a platform for cooperatives to collaborate more effectively through networking and exchange of ideas. ICA has its presence in Africa and the continental headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya.

A cooperative is a people-centered enterprise jointly owned and democratically controlled by and for its members (with a common bond) to realize their common economic, social, and cultural needs as well as aspirations. Even then, it is important to note that with changing times we have cooperative societies with an open bond (they might not be having the same background) but they have a common goal.

The bloodline of cooperatives is collaboration managed by its stakeholders who may include members, workers and associations. According to the world cooperative monitor, at least 12% of the world’s population are members of cooperatives. Labour statistics also indicate that cooperatives employ approximately 10% of the working population. The three hundred largest cooperatives mutual collectively generate $2.146 billion in revenue while providing the services and infrastructure that society requires to survive.

Poverty and food insecurity problems are better solved through cooperatives due to the strength in unity that comes with these movements. International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that about half of the world’s rural agricultural produce is sold through cooperative societies. This increases revenues and local expertise by creating and passing on business experience because they are run by and for local people. Profits are reinvested in the cooperative, the local community, or distributed to the cooperative’s members. Strong cooperative networks allow practitioners from all over the world to share their knowledge and best practices. Cooperatives are also pivotal in creating decent jobs. They employ about 100 million people worldwide, and 3 billion rely on them for their livelihood.

Providing low-cost financing credit unions and other financial cooperatives provide long-term financing to persons who are unable to access traditional banks. Credit unions offer a safe approach to savings and loans because they are run by and for people in the community, and they lend cautiously. Cooperative businesses are based on the philosophy of mutual help. They aren’t just about uplifting the members economically, but also morally and socially. Membership instills a spirit of independence, cooperation and tolerance.

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