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How Lamac MPC Engages Youth

DAVAO CITY - Co-op Youth Leader Justine Limocon of Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Cebu Province, spoke at the Cooperative Summit before more than 3,000 co-op leaders from all over the country, urging them to engage the youth in their cooperatives.
Citing her primary cooperative, LMPC as a prime example, she said: “Representing the youth as  future leaders,  I present to you today the cooperative expectations and contributions of the youth to the co-op movement.  As a youth representative, my task is to present to you what are the youth expectations and contributions.
There are 1.8 billion young people, 87% in developing countries.  That’s 700 million.  The Philippines is one of the youngest countries next to Laos and Cambodia.  If you want our movement to sustain and to exist ten years from now, youth inclusion in the co-op is necessary.  I remember Balu Iyer said: “It has been very challenging for co-ops to encourage the youth, since for the youth, the co-op is for the old and is run by the old people.”
Also at the Summit, ICA-Asia Pacific Director, Balu Iyer reported: “There is a decreasing member base for cooperatives worldwide.   Rather than increasing, it’s decreasing.  One reason is not many young people are joining.  This is a cause for concern.”
“The Cooperative is a beautiful model of inclusivity and sustainability, and that no one is left behind.  We succeed together,” Limocon stressed.
Limocon comes from a community, Lamac, in the interior of Cebu Island, where there were no roads, no potable water, no electricity during the 1970s.  And miraculously, Lamac has become a self-sustaining and resilient community because of Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC).  The farmers of Lamac combined their meager resources to put up a cooperative to “achieve their social, economic and cultural needs and aspirations.”
Today, the Hidden Valley Resort is a tourist destination in Cebu for local and foreign visitors.  This is just an example how co-ops create change.  And there are many stories there of touched lives and transformed communities.
“We, the youth, definitely, has been part of this wonderful change . . . to continue the great works of the cooperative not just in our communities, but to our country and to the whole world.  Cooperative enterprises build a better world!” she said.
In 2004, Lamac Cooperative leaders embraced the idea of having a youth program called the Co-op Youth Planet (CYP).
CYP was introduced to us by NATCCO Network, and I am one of the products of that program.  
“I was 13 at that time, undergoing intensive leadership training.  We felt there was a need for our fellow youth to be more engaged in the cooperative.  In August 2013, the CDA recognized our Youth program which has now become Lamac MPC Youth Planet Laboratory Cooperative,” she recalled.
Lamac leaders made the cooperative youth friendly that will allow the new generation to fall in love with the movement.  They did it by offering holistic services to young members with the goal in mind to build a community of young cooperators to make them active contributors to sustainable community development .
LMPC has five components in its Youth Program:
1. Aflatoun Program – in partnership with Deped and NATCCO, we teach financial literacy to children.  This also encourages teachers to be members of the cooperative.   Right now, our youth have combined savings of P15 Million.  Who said the youth don’t have money?
2. The CYP Performing Arts Club.  They perform cultural presentations at events, and the talent fee goes to their savings.  The enterprise is very successful.
3. The CYP Production House organizes events like camps, team-building, and other training.  Some clients pay hundreds of thousands.
4. Entrepreneurship - the Hub teaches young cooperators to become young entrepreneurs.  We have a dormitory for transients in Cebu City owned and managed by the youth.  We have printing services and costume rentals.
5. Gender Equality – we advocate Gender equality in our co-op, where both males and females work together toward success.

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