PRESS RELEASE: International Youth Day



Members of the World Cooperative Congress 25 Voices launch a video to mark International Youth Day

  • 12 August is International Youth Day
  • Cooperatives meet many of the challenges faced by young people around the world
  • Ahead of the World Cooperative Congress in December, the International Cooperative Alliance is speaking with 25 young people under the age of 25 to help get their voices heard

The world marks International Youth Day on 12 August, to highlight the challenges facing young people – and campaigners are highlighting the benefits of working together through cooperatives. The cooperative model – which brings the benefits of mutual support, economic ownership and autonomy at work – is uniquely placed to help young people negotiate their uncertain future of work. It can also help Generation Z work to realise its ideals for a more just and equitable world.

To help drive this agenda, the World Cooperative Congress on 1-3 December will include youth events to inspire the next generation into a more sustainable way of working.

Throughout the year, the organisation is showcasing 25 Voices, featuring the stories of 25 members of the cooperative movement who are under the age of 25. These powerful stories, which come in the form of short videos photographs and other digital media, offer real-life examples of how cooperatives make a difference.

They include Guilherme Gimenez de Oliveira, 21, from Brazil, who is taking a degree in cooperative management and working at Sicredi, a finance cooperative with 4 million members which works to improve local incomes.
He said: “The cooperative business model showed me a different way to look at money and people. Before I felt that to achieve goals, people had to do things for themselves, and as individuals. But I learned that through the cooperative model we can achieve goals by doing things together.”
Another member of this group, Parinaz Asareh, 20, from Iran, belongs to the Raheroshd Cooperative, which works to improve the teaching system and school curriculum.
She said: “As long as there are people who have the same goal and share the same concerns for themselves and their community, forming a cooperative is the smartest way to achieve said goal.”
Smayah Uwajeneza, 22, from Rwanda added, “Cooperatives are the best way to forge equality, diversity and inclusion.”
And from the United Kingdom, Iwan Doherty, 23, feels strongly that, “Cooperatives are the building blocks that allow power to be equally distributed which creates a society that is fairer and more prosperous.”
Meanwhile, the ICA #CoopYouth Network, formed in 2003, has been working hard on a series of initiatives to help young people form their own cooperatives and find a voice in the cooperative movement.
The Youth Network is finalising four major projects as part of its Action Plan: the creation of the ICA Youth Committee, the Replication Project to create new youth cooperatives, a mapping project to help people find cooperatives and support bodies, and the publication of best practices and a toolkit.

The best practices and toolkit will be ready for the #WorldCoopCongress, a hybrid event which will be held online and in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, from 1-3 December. A workshop will be held before the Congress in Seoul to discuss the online, interactive document, designed to provide inspiration and advice for youth to form and develop cooperatives.

Also, the publication “Young people and cooperatives: a perfect match?” was released earlier this year, presenting research and analysis based upon the direct input of young people in 20 countries. Produced in the framework of the ICA-EU Partnership (#coops4dev), external support for the research was provided by the Co-operative College (UK), with conclusions and recommendations developed in collaboration with the ICA Youth Network.
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For further information or request interviews with spokespeople, please contact:
Zuraidah Hoffman
Communications Manager - World Cooperative Congress
International Cooperative Alliance

More info
About the International Cooperative Alliance
  • The International Cooperative Alliance is a non-profit international association established in 1895 to advance the cooperative social enterprise model. The International Cooperative Alliance is the voice for cooperatives worldwide, representing more than 310 cooperative federations and organisations across 110 countries.
  • 12% of people in the world are cooperators. Through its membership, the International Cooperative Alliance represents 1.2 billion people from any of the 2.94 million cooperatives worldwide. The largest 300 cooperatives in the world have combined annual revenues of 2.16 trillion USD (2015) and 280 million people around the world (10% of the employed population) secure their livelihoods in cooperatives, either through direct employment or by organizing through a cooperative.
  • The International Cooperative Alliance works with global and regional governments and organisations to create the legislative environments that allow cooperatives to form and grow. Towards media and public, the International Cooperative Alliance promotes the importance of people-centred cooperatives’ values-based business model.
  • Operating from a global office in Brussels, Belgium, the International Cooperative Alliance is organised with four Regional Offices (Europe, Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific), and eight Sectoral Organisations (Banking, Agriculture, Fisheries, Insurance, Health, Housing, Consumer Cooperatives and service and industry cooperatives)
  • Further information can be found at
About the World Cooperative Congress
  • The International Cooperative Alliance organises World Cooperative Congresses every 5-10 years to bring together the global cooperative movement. The 33rd Congress is taking place as a hybrid event, hosted in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and online.
  • The theme for the 33rd World Cooperative Congress is “Deepening Our Cooperative Identity”, looking at how this can help the world “Rebuild Better Together”, addressing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, sustainable development, peace, and equality. The Cooperative Identity is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance within its Statement on the Cooperative Identity.
  • Using the current global crisis as a framework, discussions will aim to deepen the cooperative identity by examining its values, strengthening its actions, committing to its principles and living its achievements. 
  • Further information can be found at

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