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You are here: Home » News » 2012 International Year of Co-operatives

Get ready for 2012, the International Year of Co-operatives!

International Year of Co-operatives logo

2012 has been designated the United Nations’ International Year of Co-operatives, so why not start thinking about events your Young Co-operative could hold to celebrate and raise awareness of co-operatives?

The IYC has the theme Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World, so it’s an ideal chance to tell everyone in your school or community just what it is about co-operatives that make the world a better, more equal and democratic place to live in.

Co-operatives are owned and run by ordinary people and the IYC aims to inspire new co-operatives to form, so why not see how many new co-operatives you can inspire people around you to start by showing off your good work and telling people about what you do? The year also aims to encourage countries to pass laws and regulations in support of co-operatives.

You could celebrate the IYC and raise awareness of co-operatives in all sorts of different ways: through assemblies and presentations or by holding special events such as selling cakes baked co-operatively using Fairtrade ingredients, or even going out into the community to spread the message of co-operation.

Whatever you get up to, we’d love to hear about it. We are happy to help publicise any events you might be holding by putting them on our website, and will publish any news stories, event write-ups or photos you send us so fellow Young Co-operators across the world can see what you are up to!

The global co-operative movement currently has nearly one billion individual members and a combined turnover of US$1.3 trillion – equal to the tenth largest economy in the world, and there are co-operatives in just about every sector you can think of, from housing co-operatives to school co-operatives, agriculture co-operatives to leisure and entertainment co-operatives, film screening co-operatives to food co-operatives, phone co-operatives to energy co-operatives, fishermen's co-operatives to architects' co-operatives, credit unions to office space co-operatives. The IYC aims to raise public awareness of co-operatives’ socio-economic impact across the world.

Among events being held in the UK to celebrate the IYC are a week-long expo event at Manchester Central Convention Complex, which will include exciting events for schools and young people to get involved in, and the remaking of the classic co-operative film Men of Rochdale, which tells the story of the Rochdale Pioneers who set up the first successful co-operative shop in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1844, by the British Youth Film Academy.

The International Year of Co-operatives will be officially launched at the UN headquarters in New York at the end of October. Find out more, keep up to date with news on the IYC and get involved at