International Co-operative Day 7 July

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) was formed on or around this Day in 1895, and since 1927 has observed the first Saturday of July as International Day of Co-operatives to highlight the contribution that co-operatives make across the world.

The ICA’s definition of a co-operative is: “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise”. Co-ops range from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses in over 100 countries across the globe, employ more than 100 million people and have more than 800 million individual members.

Each year, International Day of Co-operatives has a different theme – in 2011 the theme was “Youth, the future of co-operative enterprise”.

Through co-operative systems people can work together to support themselves in moving out of poverty, rather than being dependent on aid, for example. Studying co-operatives can link in with issues of trade, business management and workers’ rights.

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