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2020 is a landmark year for the global cooperative movement! This year, we have once again stood resilient to the many challenges, and now come together to celebrate 125 years of ICA and 60 years of ICA-AP. August 2020 is particularly special as it marks the birth anniversary of ICA. On 12th August, we also celebrated International Youth Day, to mark the importance of youth engagement in the world community and economy, and especially in the cooperative movement. This month, we highlight the work done by ICA-AP over the past 60 years with youth and educational institutions across the Asia-Pacific. 

 

ICYC

 

Recognising the importance of increasing youth engagement within the cooperative movement, the ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation (ICYC) was established in 2000 to promote and strengthen cooperation among youth in cooperatives. The objectives of ICYC are to:

 

  • Facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity building among youth in cooperatives;
  • Encourage the active membership and participation of youth as employees and leaders within the cooperative movement;
  • Increase awareness on participatory democracy among youth;
  • Strengthen business activities of youth cooperatives through member education, promotion, training, and facilitating exchange;
  • Promote and develop the cooperative community, coop movement and environment for cooperatives to succeed;
  • Provide linkages and networking with cooperatives at all levels (i.e. local, national, regional and global); and
  • Promote the inclusion of youth into the mainstream of the cooperative organization via youth representation at the local, national, regional, and global level.

 

 

ICYC currently has 11 members from 6 countries in the Asia-Pacific. The figure below indicates ICYCs members as of 2020.

 

 

 

 

ICEI

 

The ICA-AP Committee on Cooperatives in Educational Institutions (ICEI, formerly known as the ICA-AP Committee on University/Campus Cooperatives) was established in 2008 at the ICA-AP Regional Assembly held at Hanoi, Vietnam. Before this, it was a sub-committee of the ICA-AP Committee on Consumer Cooperation for fifteen years (1993-2008), and promoted campus cooperatives as an instrument to improve the quality of life on campuses.

 

The objectives of ICEI are to promote the development of cooperatives in educational institutions (university, colleges, and high schools) with participation of teachers, staff and students as members. The Committee facilitates youth integration into the cooperative movement by involving students in cooperatives and making them understand the cooperative values and importance of self-help and mutuality.

 

ICEI has 15 individual members from 12 member countries of ICA. The National Federation of University Cooperative Associations (NFUCA), ICA member since 2002, has played a critical role in supporting the establishment of ICEI.

 

Even before the inception of ICYC and ICEI, ICA-AP and its members have been working with youth, young co-operators and educational institutions to promote youth entrepreneurship, training, education, capacity building, and engagement with the cooperative movement. Over the years, ICA-APs involvement with youth and educational institutions has included:

 

  • The ICA-National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) Cooperative Field Education Project in Indore, India from 1971-1977. The project, funded by the Swedish Cooperative Centre, covered 10 village-level primary cooperatives with the objective of strengthening them through education and extension, focusing on farm guidance workers, women and youth participation in income generation activities. The success of the project resulted in the Government of India sanctioning 50 similar projects for NCUI, 40 of which continued up till 2010.
  • Promoting networking, knowledge and best practice exchange among youth through events and activities targeting youth co-operators and youth in educational institutions.
  • Research and publications on youth engagement in cooperatives, youth entrepreneurship, cooperatives in educational institutions. The Dr. Mauritz Bonow Young Researchers Award is awarded to two meritorious youth researchers in cooperatives every year. The Global Thematic Research on Youth, currently being conducted by ICA across all regional offices focuses on different themes concerning youth, including education, employment, entrepreneurship, and inequalities.
  • Training programmes for leadership development of youth in cooperatives.
  • Global assemblies, conferences and research opportunities focused on youth participation and furthering youth involvement in cooperatives.
  • Providing platforms for interaction, networking, exchange and cross learning through Committees such as the ICYC and ICEI.

 

The timelines below provide a brief overview of ICA-AP and its members’ engagement with youth and cooperatives in educational institutions since the inception of the respective Committees.