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The following research-based activities were undertaken by ICA-AP from the beginning of 2019 as  part of the ICA-EU partnership to improve knowledge on the cooperatives, strengthen the cooperative movement and its capacity to promote international development.

 

 

Regional thematic research on Cooperatives in Industrial and Service Sectors (CIS)

 

ICA-AP successfully completed the regional thematic research on Cooperatives in Industrial and Service Sectors in collaboration with CICOPA, the International Organisation of the Industrial and Service Cooperatives. The research was conducted in twelve member countries in the AP region with the objective to understand the contribution of cooperatives to work and employment; role in promoting decent work and in providing workplaces and tools to young people to realize their dream of securing employment and better economic conditions. The research looked into issues relating to   membership, capital, ownership structure and autonomy in cooperatives.

The preliminary insights from the study are presented in this snapshot The full report will have  a detailed analysis of the models of CIS that have emerged, ecosystems in which they thrive and set of recommendations which can be used for advocacy. The report will carry case studies of individual cooperatives, national reports of some countries, and inputs from the Second Cooperative Registrars’ Conference held in Vietnam in April 2019.

 

Legal Framework Analysis Study

 

The Legal Framework Analysis (LFA) study was launched in 2018 to understand the environment in which cooperatives operate. The objectives of the study are threefold:  acquire knowledge of the national legislations on cooperatives, evaluate the national jurisdictions based on “cooperative friendliness,” and provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks. The aim of the study is to provide cooperatives with concrete tools for their advocacy. After the conclusion of the pilot phase in Kyrgyzstan and Vanuatu in 2018, the study has now been launched in all our member countries in the region. Once completed, all national reports and the regional report will be made public on the #coops4dev website.

 

Global Research on Youth

 

The global research on youth was launched in five countries- India, Indonesia, Iran, the Philippines and South Korea in March 2019. Through this research, we seek to gather insights from 100 young people (aged between 18 to 35 years) on the challenges faced by youth in their country; actors who they think can help address their issues; young people’s views on cooperatives; and the role that  cooperatives can play in addressing their issues and challenges. We also asked the respondents if cooperatives are youth-friendly and promote growth and development of young professionals. In this research, we approached a mixed group of young people comprising of cooperators, working professionals, students, academicians and NGO professionals to understand diverse perspectives from both within and outside the cooperative movement. 

 

The initial results from India and the Philippines (which were amongst the first targeted countries) show commonality in terms of challenges faced by youth, solutions proposed, and suggestions for ways in which cooperatives could enhance engagement with youth. Unemployment, lack of adequate job skills, an inadequate or inefficient education system, addiction to drugs, social and cyber-crime, mental health issues – juxtaposed with overarching poverty, were some of the common challenges faced by the youth from both within and outside the cooperative movement. The needs and challenges of youth vis-à-vis the cooperatives were a lack of information about what cooperatives are, how they are formed, and scepticism about career growth in cooperatives.  The suggestions for ways in which cooperatives could engage with youth were: youth-based training programs to develop knowledge and skills of youth on cooperatives or cooperative entrepreneurship, tie-up with schools and universities for information exchange, and involving youth in leadership and governance of cooperatives.  

 

Mapping Research

 

ICA-AP launched a pilot exercise to map cooperatives in member countries in 2018. The mapping of cooperatives is a global exercise undertaken to collect national level data on cooperatives across sectors. The aim is to provide a broad and reliable picture of the cooperative movement to both cooperators and external stakeholders, use the data to inform policy, and undertake activities to strengthen the movement. The data from each member country will be published on the #coops4dev website in the form of national reports and key highlights. Two pilot studies were undertaken in Iran and the Philippines and the reports will be made public soon. We will be carrying out the mapping exercise in other countries from June 2019 onwards.