Co-ops prepare to celebrate European Development Days

The annual ‘Davos of development’ includes discussion of co-ops in post-conflict Rwanda, providing work for refugees and tackling gender inequality

Cooperatives Europe will join a series of events at the European Development Days (EDD) where it will showcase the role co-ops play in development.

Taking place on 18-19 June in Brussels, the annual event gathers the development community to share ideas and experiences, build new partnerships and create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

This year it will address inequalities, and look to build “a world which leaves no one behind”, with speakers including Belgian government officials, European commissioners, MEPs, experts and grassroots activists.

On 18 June, Cooperatives Europe hosts a session on the latest research into co-operatives and peace building – with a focus on its own report, Cooperatives and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation and Trust.

Agnès Mathis, director of Cooperatives Europe, will talk about the organisation’s perspectives on political aspects and partnerships while Amanda Benson, projects and research officer at the Co-operative College, will talk about co-operatives in post-conflict Rwanda.

Samar Khalil, project manager at AVSI Lebanon, will describe his organisation’s work providing employment opportunities for refugees through the Aamal Project. The session will also feature a presentation from Juan Cuervo, executive secretary at RevoluSolar, who will discuss the formation of a renewable energy co-op in a Brazilian favela.

Another session will encourage participants to come up with ideas for concrete actions to tackle inequalities in the labour market, access to credit, mobility and peer-to-peer training. Speakers include:

  • Tom Gelade, Microinsurance programme coordinator, Belgian Raiffeisen Foundation
  • Valeria Rainisio, European project expert, FILSE – Financia Agency of Liguria Region
  • Tapiwa Nyandoro, capacity-building coordinator, Impact Hub Global
  • Goda Neverauskaite, advisor, International Trade Union Confederation.

Cooperatives Europe will have its own stand at the EDD village, offering information on projects implemented worldwide and the chance to meet co-operators working in the field.

On 19 June, the organisation joins Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) to host a panel discussion of the way renewable energy co-ops can tackle gender and environmental inequalities.

Speakers include Juan Cuervo, executive secretary at RevoluSolar; Katharina Habersbrunner, senior coordinator, Sustainable Energy at WECF; and Yolanda Picazo, co-president, Mujeres con Energia Jos Harmsen.

A participatory programme, EDD started in 2006 as a European Commission initiative and has been referred to as the “Davos of development”.

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