International Day of Cooperatives

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International Day of Cooperatives
International Day of Cooperatives


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Annually observed on the first Saturday of July, the International Day of Cooperatives aims to increase awareness of cooperatives and advocate for the movement's principles of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and global peace.

Although the United Nations officially marked the day in 2005, the celebration has been a tradition for the International Cooperative Alliance and the global cooperative movement since 1923.

Origins and History

  • Inception: The International Day of Cooperatives was established by the United Nations and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) to recognize the significance of cooperatives in achieving sustainable development goals.
  • Date: It is celebrated on the first Saturday of July each year. The first Coops Day was observed in 1923.

Purpose and Objectives

  • Raise Awareness: The day aims to increase awareness about cooperatives and their positive impact on communities, economies, and individuals worldwide.
  • Promote Cooperative Values: It highlights the cooperative principles of self-help, equality, democratic governance, solidarity, and ethical business practices.
  • Celebrate Achievements: Coops Day celebrates the achievements of cooperatives in addressing social and economic challenges, promoting job creation, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.
  • Advocate for Cooperation: It encourages cooperation among cooperatives, governments, and stakeholders to address global challenges such as inequality, climate change, and economic instability.

Theme and Campaigns

  • Annual Themes: Each year, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) selects a theme to focus on specific aspects of cooperative enterprises and their contributions to society and the economy.
  • Campaigns: Cooperatives and organizations around the world organize events, campaigns, conferences, and community activities to celebrate Coops Day and promote cooperative values and achievements.

Importance of Cooperatives

  • Community Empowerment: Cooperatives empower communities by promoting economic self-sufficiency, providing access to essential services (such as healthcare, education, housing, and finance), and creating jobs.
  • Sustainable Development: They contribute to sustainable development through environmentally responsible practices, ethical business conduct, and resilience to economic shocks.
  • Social Inclusion: Cooperatives promote inclusivity and social equity by empowering marginalized groups, promoting gender equality, and fostering local development.
  • Democratic Governance: Cooperatives operate on democratic principles, giving members a voice in decision-making and ensuring transparency and accountability.

Types of Cooperatives

  • Consumer Cooperatives: Owned and controlled by consumers who use the cooperative's products or services (e.g., retail cooperatives).
  • Producer Cooperatives: Owned and controlled by producers or workers who engage in joint production activities (e.g., agricultural cooperatives, worker cooperatives).
  • Financial Cooperatives: Provide financial services to their members (e.g., credit unions).
  • Multi-stakeholder Cooperatives: Include diverse membership from different stakeholder groups (e.g., community-based cooperatives).

Global Impact and Examples

  • United Nations Support: The United Nations recognizes cooperatives as key actors in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and promoting inclusive economic growth.
  • Examples of Success: Examples of successful cooperatives include Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (microfinance), Mondragon Corporation in Spain (worker-owned cooperative group), and Coop Italia (consumer cooperative).
  • COVID-19 Response: During the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperatives played a crucial role in providing essential services, supporting local economies, and maintaining jobs in many communities.

How to Participate

  • Support Cooperatives: Purchase products or services from cooperatives in your community or online.
  • Promote Awareness: Share information about Coops Day on social media using hashtags like #CoopsDay and #CooperativeEnterprise.
  • Get Involved: Join a cooperative or volunteer with cooperative organizations to support their initiatives and community activities.

The International Day of Cooperatives celebrates the cooperative movement's values, achievements, and contributions to sustainable development, social equity, and economic resilience globally. It encourages individuals, communities, and governments to recognize and support the cooperative model as a powerful tool for building a more inclusive and sustainable future.