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You are here: Home » News » Youth Engagement with Africa's Co-operative Revival

Article on Youth Engagement with the Co-operative Revival in Africa

Kigayaza Youth Co-operative

Can the African co-operative revival provide an opportunity for youth? Dr Sally Hartley and Open University Professor Hazel Johnson examine this question in a recently published article and contribute to debates about co-operatives in development and their potential to provide alternative routes for young people.

Seen as an alternative to improve people’s livelihoods, co-operatives have had a mixed record in Africa, due to initial control by the state and later structural adjustment policies. However, African co-operatives are now experiencing a revival, and some countries have developed policies to engage youth in co-operatives.

Combining extensive field data from Uganda and Lesotho with situated learning and human development theories, the authors find that contemporary co-operatives and their networks provide and expanded learning space for youth, although there is differentiation by education and gender and type of co-operative.

Dr Sally Hartley was the the first student to complete a PhD with the Co-operative College, co-supervised by the Open University, and she shared her experiences of meeting youth co-operatives in Africa on the Young Co-operatives website at
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