Cooperatives: Collective Way Out Of Poverty & Its Social Economic Impact

social responsibility and economic impact of cooperatives

Cooperatives: Collective Way Out Of Poverty & Its Social Economic Impact

According to the United Nations, cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and concern for others (https://www.un.org).

A Brief History Of Cooperative Societies

Generally, cooperatives date back to the 1840s when the Rochdale Society of Equitable Partners in the United Kingdom was formed. The society comprised of a group of men who came together after losing their jobs to the industrial revolution in Europe at the time with Great Britain leading the way. These men put their resources together to open a store that provided goods they all needed but couldn’t afford individually. Their actions gave birth to a set of operations still being used today to manage the realism of poverty in an organised and productive manner.

However in Nigeria, the cooperative movement did not begin till almost a century later in the 1930s. The cooperative movement or cooperative society as it’s popularly called where members come together to make contributions and work towards a common goal is being referred to in diverse terms and various languages with the prevalent ones being ‘Adashi’ ‘Esusu’ or ‘Ajo’ and ‘Isusu’.

How Does The Cooperative Society Work

The cooperative runs on a joint ownership and management model meaning it cannot be stirred to serve the interest of anyone person. Cooperative societies more than anything help members to develop a savings culture and is not necessarily about the amount saved but the development of the savings habit. It strongly supports the habit by making sure members contribute regularly without default. Part of the cooperative structure ensures that such contribution is usually deducted directly from members’ income. So, irrespective of their personal needs, savings become an obligation.

Some cooperatives use the funds accrued to fund a couple of projects both as a service to the community and as means of growing the cooperative’s funds.

Furthermore, the cooperative looks beyond enriching its members to contribute to the society and the nation at large. It does this by using projects to generate jobs in various sectors of the economy like agriculture amongst others to provide a means of livelihood for people. So, in the wake of continued downsizing resulting from globalisation and technological changes, jobs are generated and preserved.

The cooperative also actively supports government initiatives and policies in the areas of public transportation, job creation, housing and infrastructure provision.

Benefits Of the Coopeartive To Individuals & The Society At Large

Cooperatives offer a couple of benefits some of which are mentioned below:

  • Cooperatives act as anchors that that distribute and multiply local expertise, resources and capital. Independent cooperatives go to the rural areas to reach the poorest people in the community, offering them upward mobility and basic infrastructure ignored by bigger businesses.
  • They encourage collaborative entrepreneurship and promote economic growth. The culture of culture of shared productivity, decision-making and creative problem-solving fostered by the cooperative helps to mitigate the individual risk in much needed business ventures.
  • In the wake of banks putting stringent measures in place to reduce the number of loans given to individuals, cooperative societies have now stepped in to fill that void. More than oft, these loans are needed by individuals and small businesses to finance operations. It is important to note that these small businesses help local economies to grow. Generally, cooperative loans are comparatively easier to access and the interest rate and repayment terms are not as crushing as that of the banks.

Consequently, both developing and developed countries depend on cooperatives as an empowering model that helps to promote collaborative social change.

In the wake of this, Flapcoop is also championing collaborative social change by opening its doors to members that want to develop a savings habit, grow their funds, participate in landmark projects such as the “Agrolandvest” and contribute to the economy at large. Futhermore, the Agrolandvest initiative engages youths of the community in agricultural practices thereby providing jobs and contributing to the food supply of the nation.

Click here to learn more about becoming a member of our cooperative. Futhermore, our monthly subscriptions are super affordable plus they come with earnings of up to 30% per annum….. how fantastic!

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