“Youth, the future of cooperative enterprise”
“Les jeunes, l’avenir de l’entreprise coopérative”
“La juventud, el futuro de la empresa cooperativa”
The theme highlighted how the cooperative model of enterprise can successfully empower youth. It linked to the celebration of the United Nations International Year of Youth, which encourages dialogue and understanding across generations and promotes the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and freedoms, and solidarity.
The International Day of Cooperatives addresses the need for all cooperative stakeholders to promote the participation of young people in the cooperative movement. Too often young people are not aware of the cooperative model of enterprise; they do not learn about the model in school as cooperatives do not often figure into school curricula. Additionally, young people may not realize that the products and services that they use are provided by cooperatives.
Yet, cooperatives provide young people opportunities that address their practical and strategic needs. They offer them a model of enterprise to create their own businesses. They offer the opportunity to be employed by enterprises that address young people’s concerns for more democratic, responsible, and ethical business operations. They allow young people to gain professional employment experience to further their education, build their capacities, and participate in decision-making.
Messages from members
- Message of the United Nations Secretary-General (UN)
- Message of the Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO) in Arabic (website and pdf), English (website and pdf), French (website and pdf), Italian, and Spanish (website and pdf)
- Message from the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and versions in Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish
- Message of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) in English, French, and Spanish
Information on youth and cooperatives
- Youth Reinventing Cooperatives: Book published in 2005
- International Co-operative Alliance Youth Network: Website including information on ICA activities to promote youth participation in cooperatives, links to internships offered for youth, manuals and publications on how to form youth cooperatives, and links to youth networks
- World Council of Credit Unions: Young Credit Union People Programme (annual scholarship)
Country level information:
- Argentina: Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas (ACA) Juventudes
- Panama: Promoción de Cooperativas Juveniles
- South Africa: National Youth Development Agency Support for Youth Cooperatives
- UK: “Inspiring young people” section of sustainability report