ILO COOP Manager Simel Esim provided a special message at the NCBA CLUSA ’s annual Cooperative IMPACT Conference that brings together hundreds of cooperative developers, financers, community and city leaders, innovators, economists and policymakers. This year’s conference, held virtually, focused on how cooperatives can and do address their obligations to create diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and boards. The speakers elaborated on how cooperatives can better meet the needs of communities that have been excluded from economic participation and advancement.
The ILO's special message was featured at an international session on October 8 on "Mitigating Impacts; Keeping Members Safe” focusing on cooperative responses to the pandemic from providing PPE and health care, to financial needs and priority issues such as gender violence. The panel also included a discussion about the role youth have played in both the response and recovery from the pandemic. The panel brought speakers from Land O’ Lakes Venture 37, NCBA CLUSA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and HealthPartners Uganda.
In her message Ms. Esim noted that values of cooperation, mutualism and self-help witness a surge in popularity during times of crisis. She provided examples of response strategies undertaken by cooperatives in production, finance, health, social services, and retail. She pointed out how cooperatives are also partnering with local governments, public and private sector initiatives in building resilience of their communities and therefore need to be included as partners in government measures for recovery from the pandemic.