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Recently, in an email, a member asked me to send information about the theme for International Co-operative Day this year. Without giving much thought, I asked my colleague to forward the link on the ICA website. The real import of the theme struck me when I was recently in conversation with Sylvia Paraguya, CEO of National Confederation of Co-operatives Inc. (NATCCO) in Hangzhou, China. She was talking about the Kaya platform they were developing to provide mobile banking access to members in hilly and rural communities. She talked about driving along the winding roads checking for data access to see if the platform was working. To what end? The members in the rural communities had no access to banks to transfer money to their children and had to take a bus to the town, spend a good part of the day in making the transfer at a steep cost. Sylvia passionately talked about how the platform would help these communities save time, money and effort. NATCCO did not have to go through this effort; they were doing fine without having to care for the remote communities. But, they did! This is where the co-operative difference comes in. Keeping the needs of members, all members, at the forefront. If we are of value to each of our members, we needn’t have to worry about growth. If we don’t leave anyone behind, we don’t have to worry about numbers. If we care about members we don’t have to worry about retention. The co-operative principles embody all that co-operatives stand for and the difference they make to the world. Let’s make a different world!


Happy International Co-operative Day! Please do share with us (email how you celebrated the Day. We would love to feature it in our next newsletter.