REPORT FROM #coopconference19
Hello everyone,

Almost 80 youth joined the 1,000 participants from over 94 countries in Kigali, Rwanda in October for International Cooperative Alliance Conference 'Cooperatives for Development'. We lived an exciting week meeting with cooperators worldwide. We are pleased to share with you the important actions that youth took during the week.

With cooperative greetings,
Sébastien Chaillou
President of the ICA Youth Network

 ICA Youth Network Executive Committee

The ICA Youth Network held elections for the four members at-large on the Executive Committee. For the first time, we have a full Executive Committee! Click here to contact them.

Workshop in Kigali

On 13 October, young cooperators from different continents gathered in Kigali to exchange and share ideas on how to help drive cooperation. The session preceded the ICA Youth Network Assembly during the Global Cooperative Conference programme in Rwanda.

With the focus on how to help drive cooperation mostly with the young people inside and outside the cooperative movement, the youth workshop delved into the three specific topics for discussions:

  • youth representation in the cooperative movement,
  • how to attract more youth in cooperatives and
  • the hot topics that should be taken up by/for youth.

Youth representation in the coop movement

Youth inclusion in many cooperative activities and youth representation at decision making levels remains a big challenge in the cooperative movement. Most young people are finding it hard to participate in the existing cooperative activities, hence trying to remain relevant by forming their own businesses. The workshop participants felt like it is time the movement give the young people a chance and assistance through creation of a supportive environment for their ideas. Also, the existence of socio-cultural constrains have in one way or the other affected the representation of young people in the cooperative movement; more so affecting women. On the other hand, participants appreciated the fact that some cooperatives are actually engaging youth and having them in their organizational structures but then no budget is being set aside exclusively for youth related activities. Various experiences were shared from different countries and different sectors of the economy that showed how the movement could support youth as well as increase their representation within cooperatives.

How to attract more youth in coops

An interesting engagement was seen when discussing how youth can be more attracted to youth cooperatives. Some youth tend to shy away from some of the existing cooperatives due to their activities or sector. They want to engage with a cooperative that interests them in terms of technology and sectorally. Most of the youth have tend to form their own groups that will create jobs for them. Nevertheless, it was highlighted that youth need to engage, develop and individually commit to the cooperative movement which includes self-identification and self-awareness.    

Hot topics that should be taken up by/for youth

The ICA Youth Network Executive Committee is continuing the project  to map youth cooperatives over the next few months. Information shared through the survey will also be used to produce a book of best practices on youth coops and the inclusion of young people in cooperatives. This was one of the items that was discussed under hot topics that should be taken up for youth.

The participants also pointed out training and mentorship for the youth to be a topic for consideration.

The participants also requested ICA to publicize more about youth in cooperatives and have a dedicated digital platform for youth engagement.

The ICA Youth President Sébastien, took the opportunity to talk about the upcoming Global Youth Forum that will be held in February 2020 in Malaysia stating that the event will  aim at young entrepreneurship, cooperatives, innovation and professional training.

Youth Resolution approved by the ICA General Assembly

The Youth Network presented a resolution to the ICA General Assembly on 17 October to strengthen the ICA Youth Network. The resolution contained the highlighs that follow:
  • reinforce the importance of the regional youth committees and their participation with a vote at the regional level in the ICA Boards;
  • the introduction of the youth action plan in the general ICA Global Strategy;
  • the allocation of resources to support the youth representatives to attend ICA official events and assuring a yearly in-person youth committee meeting;
  • and introducing different meassures and tools to make the Global Youth Network more accessible.
This resolution was presented under the context of the reform of the ICA committees and was aproved unanimously and received by the General Assembly with a standing ovation. Click here to read it.
As you already know, the Global Youth Forum Cooperative Entrepreneurship 2020 (GYF20) is a #coops4dev global event that will take place in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, from 3-7 February. 

We are already working hard at setting up quality training sessions, along with around 40 trainers! Training sessions will be structured around the following 10 themes: IT and social media; social issues; environmental issues; SDGs; business models; methodologies (Training of Trainers, storytelling); Law; Finance; Leadership, Management and HR; and networking. 

More than 200 participants will take part in the event: thank you to all of you that applied! On our side, we can’t wait to meet so many young entrepreneurs and professionals from all around the world! 

Please get in touch with the Youth Representative of your respective region should you have any input to share.
And follow the hashtag #GYF20 to keep track of the updates concerning the event: we will make sure to share the GYF20 experience with everyone! 


The ICA Africa Youth Network President participated in the 3rd General Assembly of African Youth Commission that took place from 23 – 26 March 2019 in Banjul, Gambia. The congress discussed youth empowerment across the continent through engaging the young leaders and youth development actors in crucial conversations around youth voices and youth friendly spaces for young people in Africa and how best to champion their own development agenda. 

The theme was “the future is now, youth are not too young to lead”. The youth once again called for active engagement and participation in policy and decision making processes at national, regional and continental levels and debated on youth development matters with a particular focus on the inclusion and representation of young people in governance (civil, economic and political), peace and security and migration. 


The Regional Youth Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) for the Americas and youth from all over the continent successfully held the Regional Meeting of Youth Cooperators from the Americas entitled : Youth 4.0: Entrepreneurship, innovation, communication and advocacy. This event was co-financed by the European Union through the ICA- EU partnership #COOPS4DEV , this activity was attended by more than 150 youth representing 7 countries. Youth attended different trainings that addressed the issue of Youth 4.0 from different perspectives. During this event, the role of the new generation of cooperators in the transformation as a result of the 4.0 Industry including the “technological paradigm” and the impact on society and economic development in the world was analyzed .


Click here to read an editorial from the ICA Asia-Pacific president, Ahsan Ali Thakur about Future of Empowerment for youth in the ICA: Where does ICA Asia and Pacific stand?

The 12th annual meeting of ICA Asia and Pacific Committee on Youth Cooperation (ICYC) was held on October 12, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. Click here to learn more.


Young European cooperators convened in Izmir, Turkey on the occasion of Young European Cooperators' Network Local Workshop with the support of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Cooperatives Europe. The workshop, facilitated by the Youth Deal Cooperative, brought together 25 young cooperators to kick-start the local network in Turkey and to discuss cooperation plans for 2020. Formed at the Co-operatives Europe General Assembly in April 2015, Young European Cooperators’ Network (YECN) has been working together to support young co-operators and youth-led co-operatives across Europe to thrive, develop and grow. Turkey's young cooperators working to provide next generation social, environmental, economic and livelihoods solutions on the ground expressed their commitment to take active role in the regional network. ILO COOP Unit Manager also sent a video message underlining the relevance of the cooperative business model for youth employment. Young European Cooperators are planning to convene mid-December in Brussels to keep up the momentum and prepare an action plan for 2020.

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