Why cooperatives is beneficial for transgender community. The cooperatives is a form of collective action that is stronger from an individual action. Some of the benefits include shared workload, pooled resources, stronger negotiating power, cost saving and knowledge sharing."Simel Esim, Head of ILO Cooperative Unit (COOP)
The webinar was facilitated by the ILO Cooperatives Unit (COOP), headed by Simel Esim, Head of ILO COOP. Simel emphasized that the ILO has recognized the importance of cooperatives as a means to achieve social justice and full employment for all since its creation in 1919.
“Why cooperatives is beneficial for transgender community. The cooperatives is a form of collective action that is stronger from an individual action. Some of the benefits include shared workload, pooled resources, stronger negotiating power, cost saving and knowledge sharing,” she explained.
The ILO COOP team also shared the experiences of transgender cooperatives models in three countries: Argentina, India and the Philippines. They also encouraged the participants to learn challenges and opportunities from these countries, particularly the Philippines as Indonesia’s neighbouring country.
In Argentina, the cooperatives deals with fashionwear as the main line businesses, while in India, the cooperatives is supported by the local government focusing on social welfare of transgender communities. In the Philippines, the cooperatives aims to provide financial management assistance for its members trough financial training, advice and assistance as a good way for peer learning.
Learning from previous failuresResponding to the lessons learnt, the participating transgender communities shared their main challenges in the development of cooperatives in their communities. They identified lack of management capacities, lack of members’ commitment and lack of fixed incomes as the main barriers to develop cooperatives that benefit its members.
“It is difficult to find individuals who are capable in managing the cooperatives. As a result, the cooperatives could not operate as it should be,” told Rully Mallay, Kebaya Foundation . Different story shared by Rere Agistya from Sanggar Suara. “Our cooperatives should be closed as members did not have commitment to return their loans,” she said.
Learning from our failures, we now focus on our permanent members who have fixed employment and income. For the first year, we collect funding from our members to be used as the cooperative capital in the second year."Barby Gita from Srikandi Pasundan
“Learning from our failures, we now focus on our permanent members who have fixed employment and income. For the first year, we collect funding from our members to be used as the cooperative capital in the second year,” shared Barby Gita, adding that they also plan to expand the cooperative by recruiting non-permanent members, particularly from our community with no fixed income.
The webinar concluded with the ways to move forward. Tendy Gunawan, ILO’s programme officer for equal employment opportunity, highlighted the importance of good understanding about cooperatives and its challenges as well as opportunities for transgender communities as an initial step. He also discussed three ILO’s modules related to cooperatives: Think Coop, Start Coop and Manage Coop.
“The ILO can support the cooperatives models for Indonesian transgender communities by utilizing the ILO modules. For example, the ILO’s Think Coop Module is perfect for those who still need to learn about the cooperatives and how it works, while the second module, Start Coop, is the right module for those who have initiate the development of cooperative like Srikandi Pasundan,” explained Tendy.
To date, Indonesia has more than 150,000 active cooperatives, focused on empowering communities. Cooperatives offer members access to capital with low-interest rates and flexibility of repayment.