A glimpse from the Global Workshop on Building and Strengthening Cooperative Identity among Youth through Cooperatives
in Educational Institutions

‘Catch them Young,’ is a popular premise on which strengthening of any movement rests. The cooperative movement, too, needs the infusion of young blood. Educational institutions, in general, and higher education institutions, in particular, make young people aware of principle-based - enterprises like cooperatives, through the integration of cooperative elements in the curriculum. However, the learning about cooperative acquired in the classroom will be much more appreciated and the cooperative values ingrained if they are complemented with hands-on experiences. Educational institutions, together with cooperatives functioning within their campuses, can be effective catalysts in building the cooperative culture and strengthening the cooperative identity. While the curriculum gives youth an overview of the functioning of cooperatives; cooperatives in their schools and universities promote self-help, create a participative environment for the campus community, support education and more importantly, make young people realise the value of and need for the cooperative - principle and value - based ways of doing business.

The ICA-AP Committee on Cooperatives in Educational Institutions (ICEI) organised a one- day global workshop to bring perspectives from cooperative experts on global best practices and to make recommendations to build and strengthen the Cooperative Identity among youth through cooperatives in educational institutions. The workshop organised in collaboration with the Korea Federation of University Cooperatives (KFUC) and the Office of International Programmes at Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi, was attended by around 70 participants from across the globe.

The first session on ‘Building Cooperative Identity from the Grassroots: Global Practices’ featured presentations from Asia and Pacific, Africa and Europe. It included (a) Overview of cooperatives in educational institutions in Asia and Pacific presented by Dr. Yashwantha Dongre, ICEI Co-Secretary and Visiting Professor at Ritsumeikan University, Japan; (b) Cooperative Identity for the Millennials presented by Ms. Gemma Obeng, Head of Projects at the Cooperative College UK who also discussed the curriculum developed at the College to engage youth in cooperatives; and (c) Overview of the school Cooperative Model in Lesotho and Kenya presented by Ms. Hilda Ojjal, President of ICA Africa Youth Network. Ms. Oh Meehye from Sungsil University Cooperative, South Korea walked the participants through campus cooperatives in South Korea via an exciting e-tour which was greatly appreciated by the participants.

The second session featured a panel discussion with Ms. Andreea Teodara, Coordination Officer for International Development at ICA Global, Mr. Charles Bodwell, Enterprise Development Specialist at International Labor Organisation (ILO), Mr. Roeland Monasch, CEO of Aflatoun International, Dato Kamarudin Ismail, Vice President of ANGKASA, and Mr. Osamu Nakano, International Relations Officer at Japan Worker’s Cooperative Union (JWCU) on how to promote cooperation among children and youth for the future of work and explored opportunities for partnerships. The following recommendations were provided by the panelists: