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ICA-AP Committee on Youth Co-operation

Values and 7 Principles of Co-operative:

Written by Ahsan Ali Thakur, 2019-02-06 11:03:48

Every established organization has one of the pillars vested in the values and principles. They are necessary to maintain a sustainable working environment and diligent services to provide the user and/or customer.


Why Do We Need Values and Principles?


According to John Heenan, “The word value, in terms of moral beliefs and attitudes, has two distinctive meanings; personal preferences and objective principles. Preferences and principles are opposites. Preferences are subjective while principles are objective. Values, that are preferences, are something "to have," but values that are principles, are something "to be."”


Values define the manner the way we want to achieve our goals and principle is more related to the day to day decision making guidelines.


International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and the General Values and Principle of Co-operative:

Globally, the values and principals were adopted by using the International Co-operative Alliance ICA recommended standard, developed in 1995 which is stated as mentioned below:-



Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.




The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.


1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership


Cooperatives are voluntary organizations; open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.


2nd Principle: Democratic member Control


Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.




3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation


Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.


4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence


Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.


5th Principle: Education, Training and Information


Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of cooperation.


6th Principle: Cooperation among Cooperatives


Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.


7th Principle: Concern for Community


While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.


These principles are applicable almost everywhere. Namely; USA, France, China, United Kingdom, Japan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina etc. These principles represent the basic guidelines in a co-operative industry.


Article  by:

Ahsan Ali Thakur