For many, cooperatives represent the past, not the future. But young people around the globe are challenging that notion. At the International Cooperative Alliance Conference, held in November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, members of the Youth Network, a multilingual, diverse, global initiative to connect and empower youth to join and create cooperatives around the world, spoke passionately about why it is imperative to invest in a youth-driven cooperative future. The role of young people is crucial to the future of cooperatives, which are being increasingly seen as critical to not only addressing income inequality, but meeting sustainable development goals. Campaigns like #Coop4Dev are pushing cooperatives around the world to participate to help attain the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
We spoke to three members of the Alliance's Youth Cooperative Network, the youth wing of the Belgium-based International Cooperative Alliance: Sebastien Chaillou, a leader in the French student co-op movement; Ieva Padagaite with the Blake House Filmmakers co-op in the United Kingdom; and Ali Ashan Takur from the Pakistan based Karachi Cooperative Housing Societies Union, about how young people can play a role in bringing about a more cooperative, democratic global economy.