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ICA-AP Committee on Youth Co-operation

Global Youth Workshop in Kigali

Written by Admin, 2020-01-16 09:18:19

On 13 October 2019, young cooperators from different continents gathered in Kigali to exchange and share ideas on how to help drive cooperation. The session preceded the ICA Youth Network Assembly during the Global Cooperative Conference programme in Rwanda.

With the focus on how to help drive cooperation mostly with the young people inside and outside the cooperative movement, the youth workshop delved into the three specific topics for discussions:

  1. youth representation in the cooperative movement,

  2. how to attract more youth in cooperatives and

  3. the hot topics that should be taken up by/for youth.

  4. Youth representation in the coop movement

Youth inclusion in many cooperative activities and youth representation at decision making levels remains a big challenge in the cooperative movement. Most young people are finding it hard to participate in the existing cooperative activities, hence trying to remain relevant by forming their own businesses. The workshop participants felt like it is time the movement give the young people a chance and assistance through creation of a supportive environment for their ideas. Also, the existence of socio-cultural constrains have in one way or the other affected the representation of young people in the cooperative movement; more so affecting women. On the other hand, participants appreciated the fact that some cooperatives are actually engaging youth and having them in their organizational structures but then no budget is being set aside exclusively for youth related activities. Various experiences were shared from different countries and different sectors of the economy that showed how the movement could support youth as well as increase their representation within cooperatives.

How to attract more youth in coops

An interesting engagement was seen when discussing how youth can be more attracted to youth cooperatives. Some youth tend to shy away from some of the existing cooperatives due to their activities or sector. They want to engage with a cooperative that interests them in terms of technology and sectorally. Most of the youth have tend to form their own groups that will create jobs for them. Nevertheless, it was highlighted that youth need to engage, develop and individually commit to the cooperative movement which includes self-identification and self-awareness.

Hot topics that should be taken up by/for youth

The ICA Youth Network Executive Committee is continuing the project to map youth cooperatives over the next few months. Information shared through the survey will also be used to produce a book of best practices on youth coops and the inclusion of young people in cooperatives. This was one of the items that was discussed under hot topics that should be taken up for youth.

The participants also pointed out training and mentorship for the youth to be a topic for consideration.

The participants also requested ICA to publicize more about youth in cooperatives and have a dedicated digital platform for youth engagement.

The ICA Youth President Sébastien, took the opportunity to talk about the upcoming Global Youth Forum that will be held in February 2020 in Malaysia stating that the event will aim at young entrepreneurship, cooperatives, innovation and professional training.