Last week saw the culmination and celebratory event for the end of the UN International Year of Cooperatives with the Cooperatives United World Festival and Expo in Manchester, UK. Over 10,000 delegates attended the Festival. This was another inspirational event that brought cooperators together from over 90 countries.
One of the main attractions at the event was the “Cooperative Living” area. The aim of this area was to provide a fun way of introducing the general public, in particular families and young people, to various forms of cooperatives that exist in every day life. These were all types of business that people use every day but often without being aware of the fact that they are using a cooperatively run shop, restaurant or pharmacy and so on.
ICMIF collaborated with the UK organisation The Co-operative Group to actively participate in the “Cooperative Living” area and ICMIF created a live TV Studio within the cooperative village. In the studio, aptly named “Money Matters”, we offered children and families visiting the Expo the experience of reading news stories from financial cooperatives from all around the world.
The stories were all “cooperative” ones; all of them originating from the stories.coop website which ICMIF and its members have contributed to throughout the International Year of Cooperatives. The purpose of our studio was to share “good news” stories from the global cooperative and mutual credit union, banking and insurance sector. Most of the stories recorded during the event last week featured good news stories from ICMIF members and the remainder came from other credit unions and cooperative banks.
As well as having the opportunity to be filmed reading one of the financial news stories, visitors also enjoyed the chance to play with two financial capability games Fun to Save and Saving Squad – both devised here in the UK.
The children (and adults!) loved being in the studio and learning about financial cooperatives and we collated almost 40 videos of our “good news” stories being read by children, families. Even the Chair of the Board, President and CEO of one of our members, Monique F Leroux of Desjardins Group, joined us in the studio to record a story. The videos can be viewed on the ICMIFTV YouTube channel.
All the stories read by children and their families have been entered into a global competition whereby the video which gains the most “likes” on YouTube will win a prize. The closing date for the competition is Saturday, November 17. So far this campaign has attracted 1574 views, 119 ‘Likes’, 18 comments and 21 ‘shares’. All our members are warmly invited to view the stories, vote for their favourite by “liking” the video and posting comments on how well the children and their families have done.