The Role of Cooperatives and Other Self-Help Organizations in Crisis Resolution and Socio-Economic Recovery

Setting up cooperatives and self-help organizations
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This paper presents the conclusions of the study undertaken for the ILO InFocus Programme (IFP) on Crisis Response and Reconstruction and the Cooperative Branch (COOP Branch). It reviews the role of cooperatives and other self-help organizations (Coops/SHOs) in responding to crisis and reconstruction, with a special emphasis on the employment challenges resulting from four types of crisis covered by the ILO InFocus programme on crisis response:

  • Difficult social movements and political transition;
  • Armed conflicts;
  • Economic and financial downturns;
  • Natural disasters.

The report also examines, the role of Coops/SHOs in creating (self) employment, providing basic social protection, fostering or restoring social dialogue and democracy, integrating ex-soldiers, displaced persons and refugees, protecting natural resources etc.

The report provides guidelines for those helping to design programs and projects, such as:

  • A demonstrated willingness to cooperate on the part of would-be participants is essential;
  • Financial commitment on the part of the participants needs to be demonstrated;
  • Human resource development is a priority;
  • A withdrawal strategy, based on achieving sustainability needs to be built into projects at the design stage.

The author concludes that as part of the overall strategy to confront the opportunities to achieve positive development outcomes in the wake of a crisis, or in mitigation of an impending crisis, the deployment of cooperative and self-help organizations needs to become fully integrated into crisis response programs.

About this Publication

By Parnell, E.