ILO contributes to the Global Youth Forum Cooperative Entrepreneurship through a video message

The message from ILO COOP Unit Manager focused on the current concerns around youth employment and the role cooperatives can play in creating work opportunities and better working conditions for youth.

News | 10 February 2020
Participants at a training session
The Global Youth Forum Cooperative Entrepreneurship (GYF20) was organized in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from 3-7 February 2020, within the framework of the partnership between the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and EU on cooperatives for development (coops4dev).

The GYF20 aimed at bringing together young cooperative entrepreneurs and professionals from around the world to provide training sessions to improve their skills and knowledge. The event aimed at addressing the needs of young entrepreneurs and making the cooperative model as relevant as possible to the global challenges in the changin world of work.
“The Global Youth Forum has been both exciting and inspiring. Sharing the experience of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Cooperative Federation with young cooperators was an excellent experience and also taught us a lot of what we can do to be more inclusive” – Salonie Hiriyur, Senior Coordinator at SEWA Cooperative Federation in India.

Hosted by Angkasa, the national apex organization of Malaysian cooperatives, and supported by the National Federation of Saving Banks (FNCE) in France and the International Summit of Cooperatives, the event brought together 140 participants and 35 trainers from 50 countries.
“At the first Global Youth Forum 2020 in Malaysia, for me it has been amazing to see how an idea can excite people from completely different countries: it is a sign of the thirst that this world – young people at the forefront – has of alternative models to the dominant economic and political one. This is the thirst for models that are capable of guiding not only the brain, but the heart too.” – Francesca Martinelli, Director of the Fondazione Centro Studi Doc in Verona, Italy.

The training sessions were structured around ten topics: IT and social media; social issues; environmental issues; Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); business models; methodologies (training of trainers, storytelling, etc.); law and legislation; finance; leadership, management and HR; and networking.
“The GYF 20 is an important milestone in my life since this was the first time that I have been together with fellow young co-operators from four continents and 50 countries. I learned a great deal on digitalization, mapping and governance of cooperatives. I will share all that I learned with co-operators in Turkey.” – Mehmet Kuzu, Youth Deal Coop in Turkey.

A video message from ILO’s Cooperatives Unit Manager Simel Esim was screened at the closing session of the event. In her message, Ms Esim highlighted the fact that youth employment is one of the biggest policy issues in many countries with young people being one to three times more likely to be unemployed than adults are and the quality of jobs for youth in decline. She noted that young people want quality education and a chance for meaningful and rewarding work She also touched on the recent findings that most of millennials consider measure of business success should not only be in terms of financial performance, but also in social and environmental impacts.

Ms Esim elaborated on how cooperatives can create work opportunities and better working conditions for youth, including through organizing self-employed workers and expanding provision of professional training to young people by the international cooperative movement. She explained the ILO’s role in promoting cooperative development and introduced some of ILO’s cooperative management tools available for youth organizations and their support institutions. The full message is available here.

Group photo of the participants