There are over three million cooperatives around the world, each with an individual story to tell. In January, researcher Sara Vicari and filmmaker Andrea Mancori of Aroundtheworld.coop started a year-long adventure in search of some of these stories with the support of the ICA – EU partnership #Coops4Dev🌎. The result is twelve inspiring short documentaries showcasing the work of – and the people behind – cooperatives across the globe making a difference in their communities.
Last night (Tuesday 15 October) delegates at the ICA International Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, were introduced to the project, through a Coop Cinema showcase playing some of the documentaries produced.
On their journey, the pair met a coop fighting criminal organisations in Castel Volturno (Italy), an aboriginal artists’ cooperative in Australia, electric coops in Costa Rica and many more. They also spent time in Rwanda, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and USA, spending 3-4 weeks in each location, getting to know members though focus groups, letting them tell their own stories and witnessing first hand the impact of cooperation and collective action.
“Positive messages of solidarity are not fashionable anymore,” says Sara, who has researched cooperatives and their role in poverty reduction. “We wanted to stress and convey positive messages. When people come together through collective action, they can transform their lives and their communities. The stories we are telling show indeed that solidarity, reciprocity and mutual approach is not old-fashioned at all.”
But in addition to telling the stories of the coops themselves, the project sought to debunk the myth that coops are not successful business models.
The pair posted updates from their journey through the aroundtheworld.coop website and on their social media channels.
“The idea was to showcase a message of hope,” said Marc Noel, ICA International Development Director.
“Around the world.coop is a bit more than a project, for us it’s a dream that we managed to turn into reality with the support from the ICA and #coops4dev,” added Sara Vicari.