Help us find your Co-op Champions

It’s not a popularity competition, we want to find the human side of co-operation. Who are the people that make co-ops happen and thrive?

When writing articles in Co-op News, we invariably focus on the co-operative itself. We focus on the purpose and the needs of the co-op itself – but very rarely do we delve into the human side and learning more about the people behind those co-ops.

Who are the people (or groups of people) behind co-operatives? Who are the people making a real difference? Why are they making a difference? Why have they chosen co-ops?

We want to celebrate these people who make co-ops happen and thrive. We want to show that ordinary people around the world are making a big difference through small actions.

Suggest some great co-op champions here, and please don’t be shy if you want to choose yourself! It’s not about choosing winners, nor a popularity contest, it’s about showing the best of our movement.

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When thinking about somebody who has done something extraordinary for the benefit of their co-op, members or the wider co-op movement, it may be a good idea to reference the Seven Co-operative Principles. Do you know anyone that shines under any of these principles?

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership: Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control: Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
  3. Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  4. Autonomy and Independence: Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
  5. Education, Training and Information: Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
  6. Co-operation among Co-operatives: Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Concern for Community: Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.