Worker Cooperatives, Answer To The Future

According to the Population and Census survey carried out in 2019, the data from the exercise revealed that individuals under the age of 35 comprised of 75 percent of the 47.6 million total population. The survey also indicated that the labor force aged 15 to 64 years, made up for 57 percent of the total population in Kenya, of which 29 percent comprised of the youth. This shows that youths have potential capabilities of shaking up the cooperative sector and leaving a footprint in the sand of the industry for other youths to follow.

A worker co-op is a form of co-operative where the members are employees, as the management is concentrated on the commercial aspect of the business, they focus on the social-economic aspect of the workers. Worker cooperatives can provide ways for organizing new forms of work with less dependence on the employer and increased flexibility and collaboration among workers (ILO). Members contribute funds to the cooperative and share ownership costs and liabilities that include but are not limited to risks of ownership. Worker cooperatives are similar to service cooperatives in the sense that, worker co-ops are a type of service co-op offering services to other businesses.

Through the lens of the unemployment rate among the youth in Kenya that was 7.17% as of 2019, worker cooperatives which are becoming embraced globally as an opportunity to take on the service based entrepreneurial journey becomes ideal for youths with start-ups.

In addition to the benefits that a worker co-op offers to a youth in Kenya is the creation of a workspace for them to combine their talents, ideas, and perspectives to achieve common goals such as creating jobs for other youths, performing community service, or promoting workplace democracy.

What makes it successful? Yet the key components that determine the success of worker cooperatives are trust, communication, and cooperation because members form the policies that dictate the cooperative’s daily and long-term operations. Therefore, the question that should really be lingering in the mind of the youth to answer for himself or herself is not whether to join a worker cooperative or not but rather, when he or she will join one.

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