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Co-op Mic is an initiative of ICA-AP to highlight the impact co-operatives, as value-based enterprises, bring to members and the communities within which they work. Co-op Mic is a platform where experts, entrepreneurs and friends of the cooperative movement, share their experiences, ideas and thoughts on mainstreaming cooperatives within the development discourse. The fulcrum of Co-op Mic is to create and spread co-operative consciousness and show how co-operatives can address multiple concerns of financial stability, education, health and overall welfare of communities.


The format of Co-op mic involves an hour-long talk to an audience in New Delhi followed by a brief Q&A session. The talk is aired live using Facebook to an online audience.


The first Co-op Mic was organized on May 31 and the invited speaker was Dr. Gopi Ghosh. He spoke on the topic on ‘Cooperatives in India and their potential in the 21st century. Dr. Ghosh is a strategic consultant in agriculture, sustainable development, knowledge management, cooperatives and creativity. A Fulbright scholar, he has extensive experience working with a variety of co-operatives in India and abroad.


In his presentation, Dr. Ghosh spoke of how despite phenomenal progress and transformation in the global economies, we are still witnessing extreme poverty and glaring disparities. He made a case for the role co-operatives can play in improving this situation. He gave the example of Amul as a successful cooperative that imbibes the values of member-centrality, innovation, diversity in products and marketing strategies. He reflected on the problems ailing cooperatives today like poor understanding of the concept of co-operatives, poor communication strategies, local challenges and lack of institutional support. These challenges need to be addressed for cooperatives to successfully operate. The future of cooperatives in the 21st century lies in making them attractive and appealing to the youth. In the specific context of India, co-operatives can tie up with government livelihood, water and biodiversity conservation initiatives as well as change the structure of traditional co-operatives by forming hybrid joint ventures.


The talk was followed by an interactive Q&A session moderated by Mr. Balu Iyer, ICA-AP Regional Director. The live video on Facebook garnered close to 831 views (the video reached 2645 people across) and generated simultaneous comments. We had a team in place which was also tweeting important snippets from the talk on Twitter.

Co-op Mic is supported by the ICA Domus Trust and the ICA- EU partnership on ‘Cooperatives in Development- People centred businesses in Action.’