Elective session on cooperatives in rural areas in the Academy on Rural Development

News | 14 December 2017
Participants of the elective
The third Academy on Rural Development: Towards Decent Work in the Rural Economy, was held in Turin, Italy between 27 November and 8 December, 2017. Jointly organised by the ILO and the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO), this edition of the Academy brought together close to 80 participants from across the world, representing ILO’s tripartite constituents, practitioners, policy makers and others interested in promoting the rural economy. Over two weeks, participants were exposed to a wide variety of topics related to decent work in the rural economy, such as the elimination of child labour, rural tourism, access to sustainable finance, or South-South cooperation, among many others.

In the second week of the Academy, ILO in collaboration with ITC-ILO and FAO, organised an elective session on the roles of cooperatives in rural areas. Twenty participants, eight of whom were female, came from across the world, from Cameroon to Georgia, and Panama to Thailand. Using highly participatory methods, the participants were provided space for sharing and mutual learning on experiences form different countries.

On the first day the discussions focused on the cooperative definitions, cooperative principles, and the different functions cooperatives have especially in rural areas. Using the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental functions as the starting point, a number of examples were shared from across the world. On the second day, ILO and FAO approaches and tools on cooperative development were briefly presented, after which the participants were introduced hands-on to the My.Coop training package, through playing the Marketing Mix Board Game. This game is an entertaining way to learn about the “5 Ps of the marketing”, namely product, price, place/distribution, promotion, and people. On the third and final day the elective looked on the role of research in supporting cooperative development and policy making, particularly from the sustainable investment point of view. The examples were from Bolivia, Uganda and Zambia, with the latter two presented by participants to the elective.