SUPPORTING COOPERATIVES : The international principles of cooperatives supported by
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Solidarity & cooperation



Since its beginnings nearly 40 years ago, One Village has especially tried to support and encourage cooperatives.

    Cooperatives supported by One Village are societies of worker artisans that exist for the collective benefit of all those who work in them.

      Through cooperatives, people with very limited capital resources can join with others to form a common society that, so long as a satisfactory market can be secured, offers hope against the inequality that is the normal outcome of privately owned businesses.

    In private business, the business owners are usually the principal beneficiaries, whilst in a properly working cooperative the benefits are much more equally shared, openness of information abounds and everyone has a share in the decision-making processes.

    As well as common support for all members, international cooperative values also state that societies are to recognize responsibilities to promote the cooperative spirit in community at large. Cooperatives therefore work for the common good, building up the quality of life for all.




Cooperatives throughout the world share a universal set of values and principles:

1. Honesty. From the formation of the first modern cooperative society in the mill town of Rochdale in northern England, «honesty» meant truthful weights and measures, and purity of quality. This still applies today, but other qualities of honesty include honesty of information and accounting practices; that all the business of the cooperative is conducted in a thoroughly honest manner. 2. Openness. Information about how the cooperative is run, its trading practices, and other relevant information is available to members. Openness is also seen in the way the cooperative communicates with the wider community.

3. Social responsibility. Cooperatives are supportive of community at large. They are to support activities that bind communities together and promote wellbeing for all.

Based on these values are seven internationally agreed principles through which cooperatives operate:

1. Voluntary and open membership.
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic member control.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights – one member, one vote.

3. Members economic participation.
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital. Members allocate surpluses for developing and safeguarding their cooperative, and for returning to members as dividend.

4. Autonomy and independence.
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members.

5. Education, training and information.
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

6. Cooperation among cooperatives.
Cooperatives serve their members and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together with other cooperatives, and through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for community.
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Through its support of cooperatives, these together are values and principles that One Village sets out to foster.

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