Cooperatives are critical to reducing poverty. All cooperatives, social or economic, are mechanisms that ensure the growth and prosperity of communities. In developing and transitioning countries that lack access to capital, education, and training, cooperative structures allow communities to pool together their resources to solve problems, identify common goals and target the causes and symptoms of poverty.
What Are Cooperatives?
Cooperatives, or co-ops, are organizations of all types that address a wide range of issues — from food producers and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, to credit and hybrid cooperatives all around the globe.
Anytime people have common concerns, face similar struggles or are looking for solutions bigger than they alone can accomplish, cooperatives offer an answer via strength in numbers. This is why cooperatives are important to poverty reduction.
When Did Cooperatives Begin?
Co-ops date back to the 1840s when the Rochdale Society of Equitable Partners came together after losing their jobs to industrialization. This group decided to band its resources together and open a store that provided goods they all needed, but couldn’t afford on their own.