NEED TO GROW ACTIVE CO-OPERATIVE MEMBERSHIP

Now that there are indications that the COVID-19 pandemic curve is being flattened gradually, it is necessary for stakeholders to begin exploring new ways of revitalizing the Co-operative Movement wherever its (potential) exists.

One way of going around this is by adopting or customizing the “coopedia” ‘tool kit’ developed by the ICA-EU to provide a ‘one-stop shop ‘ solutions for promotion and modernization of cooperatives moving forward .

Since this kit has been developed by the ICA-EU, it is incumbent upon cooperatives in other regions of the world to customize it to enable them give the Cooperative Movement a new lease of life. It is also tailored to be responsive to the rapidly-changing business environment driven by technology and therefore anticipates to endear the youths to the Cooperative Movement.

Related Post: Survey report: COVID 19 impact on cooperatives

Is the Cooperative Movement Growing or Dying?

To paraphrase the words of Lou Holtz, we will need to establish whether the active membership in our Cooperatives is growing or declining particularly in the aftermath of the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has led to massive loss of lives and destruction of livelihoods worldwide.

In Kenya, for instance, a total of 1.7Million jobs have been lost and counting! This has especially had an adverse effect on the Cooperatives in the hospitality and airline sectors that continue to reel from the impact of this unprecedented attack.

However, it is not lost on us that the active Cooperative membership in Kenya has for the longest time been estimated to be 14Million persons but this is likely to decline in view of the foregoing circumstances.

While this is no mean achievement, it should be noted that the active Cooperative membership in Kenya is only equivalent to the total number of customers or account holders of Equity Bank , a local Bank that has spread its branch network in the Eastern and Central Africa regions.

The Bank’s CEO, Dr James Mwangi, was this week (on 8th September 2020) awarded the “Oslo Business for Peace Award” for championing the financial inclusion of the unbanked communities and for his unparalled humanitarian efforts in the region.

While we are proud of this ‘son of the soil’, this revelation should also serve as wake up call for cooperatives to embrace transformative and innovative ideas in order to grow active membership in our Cooperatives and more so, introduce new types of Cooperatives guided by the newly-launched “Coopedia” developed by the ICA-EU.

Related Post: Coopedia Knowledge Base launched

All in all, it is no longer tenable and justifiable to seek solace in COVID-19 disease. We now need to move swiftly to assess the impact of the pandemic and subsequently develop Cooperatives of the future that should, more than any other time before, endeavour to mainstream the youth and female gender into the cooperative movement guided by the said coopedia!

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