By Bisi Klah
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared Saturday, July 1, as International Day of Cooperatives to be observed throughout the country as a working holiday.
She called on all Liberians as well as international organizations concerned to join the cooperative movement of Liberia through the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA) in executing appropriate programs befitting the observance of the day.
Based on the principle of cooperation, cooperatives helped create new ethics and values in business and economics and are important in the world’s economic and social development, said a release from COOP. In 1895 ICA was formed, and since 1927 it observes the first Saturday of July as International Cooperative Day.
In 1994 the United Nations recognized and reaffirmed that cooperatives were vital in the world’s economic, social and cultural development. However, two years earlier – on December 16, 1992 – the UN General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 as the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of ICA’s establishment.
She admonished the CDA to continue to play important roles in the country’s economic and social development which is vital to creating new ethics and sustaining values in business and cultural development.
Cooperative enterprises are based on ethics, values, and a set of seven fundamental principles that keep people, rather than profit, at the center of their businesses.
Cooperatives can be a self-help tool for people to create their own economic opportunities through the power of the collective and pull themselves out of poverty.
They re-invest in communities in which they operate, securing not only the livelihoods of their members but also increasing the wealth of the community as a whole. By being sources of decent work, spaces for democracy and peace building, and an economic force (the top 300 cooperatives alone generate US$2.5 trillion in annual turnover, more than the GDP of France), cooperatives are truly a partner in transforming the world.
To create awareness and share cooperative solutions for inclusive development, here, in Liberia, under the auspices of the CDA, the day’s activities will feature a Radio Talk Show.
According to the CDA, the discussants, all agricultural experts with a focus on cooperative education, will delve on the topic “Inclusion” as the theme of 2017 International Cooperative Day.