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Co-operACTION Toolkit

Co-operACTION Toolkit cover

The IFM-SEI’s international Co-operACTION project, which has been working with groups of young people across the world to set up new co-operatives, has new produced a toolkit for young co-operators. The publication is aimed at youth leaders who want to support groups in setting up a co-operative, but it can also be used as an individual, as food for thought and inspiration, or as a teacher.

Co-operACTION promotes the co-operative model of enterprise to young people at risk of unemployment through education, exchange and practical experience of setting up co-operative enterprises in eleven local communities. Youth groups from Falcon organisations in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe learned about the values and principles of co-operatives, developed their own business ideas and set up small youth co-operatives that are now up and running in their communities.

Some of the co-operatives set up in the framework of Co-operACTION aim to generate more income for children and youth-led organisations, others can even provide first employment for members of our movements, and all are an effective learning opportunity about youth entrepreneurship that is not based on an individualistic strive for wealth, but on the needs of a community and a participatory and democratic effort to satisfy these needs.

The business ideas that the groups came up with are very varied and reflect the different realities the young people live in and the different skills they have. The co-operative of Liepajas Jaunie Vanagi in Latvia organises birthday parties for children, whilst the participants from Antar Bharati India sell handmade bags and offer computer courses. Manque Chile brings tourism into a remote village, Acacia Colombia offers catering services using vegetables from the organisation’s own new wall garden.

The project aims to show young people that another world is already possible and that the economic system does not need to be based on competition and exploitation. On the contrary, through co-operation and fair trade real needs of the people can be better satisfied and no one is left behind. Co-operatives are an example of fair and social business and something that people can start on their own, without waiting for governments to act.

The structure of the publication follows the different steps a group should take when setting up a co-operative:

• Introducing the concept of co-operation.

• Generating business ideas.

• Getting organised within the co-operative.

• Doing business.

• Checking back with the members.

Every section includes inspiration from young co-operators, followed by educational activities which can be used during weekly group meetings, on camps or in seminars, as an experienced group leader, a peer educator or someone who is running a workshop for the first time. All activity plans are just proposals and can be adapted.

To download the toolkit visit