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International Day of Co-ops: Build a Better Future for All

Posted July 08, 2024


The NATCCO Network joined more than one billion cooperators worldwide under the International Cooperative Alliance to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives (IDC) on July 6.

All over social media, celebrations worldwide ranged from gatherings, recollections, and community work like tree planting, feeding programs, clean-ups, and more.

This year’s theme is Cooperatives Build a Better Future for All, highlighting the inclusive character of cooperatives and an emphasis on the future.

More than 200 NATCCO co-op leaders and staff gathered online from 9 AM to 12 noon, with NATCCO Chairperson Junrey Labatos  giving the welcoming remarks, stating: “Cooperatives are unique in that they prioritize people over profit. We ensure that every member has a voice and a stake in our shared success. This inclusive approach not only strengthens our communities but also contributes significantly to the global economy.  Our Federation, the NATCCO, exemplifies these values. “

He added: “Through our various initiatives, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of cooperatives. From providing affordable financial services to promoting education and sustainable development, our work touches lives and builds a better future for all.”

Messages of solidarity were given by NATCCO’s international partners.  

Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance said cooperatives are organizations that create “Positive Peace” because they foster ‘harmonious relationships among members.’

Baly Iyer, Executive Director of ICA in Asia-Pacific said “The collective action in cooperatives have great impact and will result in the building of a better future for all.”

Elenita San Roque, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions said: “It is the main Mission of cooperatives to improve the lives of their members through job creation, access to savings and financial services.  It is important for cooperatives to manage risks, establish safety nets, and pursue education.”

The theme of the IDC is based on the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 17 Goals.  While cooperatives, by their DNA, are obligated to contribute to all 17 Goals, the ICA has streamlined the list to just five Goals: #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #5 Gender Equality, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, and #13 Climate Action.

For contributing to SDG #13 Climate Action, Santa Cruz Development Cooperative in Ilocos Sur was featured for their integration of environmental preservation in their programs and policies.  SACDECO also finances climate action initiatives, like bicycle loans, for instance.

To help meet SDGs #1 No Poverty and #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, cooperatives must achieve efficiency in its savings and credit operations.  NATCCO has two technology offerings for co-ops.  eKoopBanker banking software performs transactions, keeps transaction records in real time, and produces financial statements on demand.  

KAYA Payment Platform enables co-op members to transact with ATMs, mobile app, over-the-counter, and point-of-sale.  Pandan MPC, Guimaras Brethren MPC, Bacbacan MPC, NEC MPC and Camsur MPC leaders all gave positive testimonies on how NATCCO’s technology offerings improved operations and boosted their competitiveness.

For SDG #2 Zero Hunger, the United Nations seeks to achieve food security and . . .  promote sustainable agriculture.

NATCCO established the Microfinance Innovation in Cooperatives (MICOOP) that hand-holds micro and small cooperatives through financing, training, and technology.  It is clearly a challenge to enable a co-op of farmers into successful credit cooperatives.

Speaking for Lourdes MPC was Manager, Constancia “Cons” Guilas.  She said Lourdes MPC was an agricultural cooperative that came under the MICOOP Program in 2008.  The co-op was advised to immediately activate its registration with the government agencies and build financial records.  Lourdes MPC continued to purchase rice, onions and garlic from its members – mostly farmers.  Within five years, the co-op put up an agricultural supply store that supplied farmers farm inputs at correct prices.  They also received farm machinery and cold facilities from Jollibee Foundation, which purchased the farmers’ produce.

Additionally, their excess production was sold by the co-op to the markets.

Assets of the co-op is now Php 173.5 Milion, from just P 2.16 M in 2008.  The co-op now operated by 46 staff, and the leadership plans to open more branches in 2024.

Through cooperation, the farmer-members acquired a mindset of “collective marketing,” rather than individual marketing.

For SDG #5, Gender Equality, cooperatives are mandated to empower women and girls for leadership.  NATCCO has a separate unit with personnel dedicated or working full-time in advocating gender equality in cooperatives and enabling co-ops to support women-led enterprises.

Giving her testimony was Ms. Hermes Galiguer Vergara, Women Representative in the NATCCO Board, said Oro Integrated Cooperative ensures that policies ensure gender equality is a culture.  All staff go through a seminars on gender equality under the Gender & Development Program.

At the conclusion, the spotlight was cast upon two products of NATCCO’s mass production of leaders.  

First was Venus Lubguban, CEO of Bukidnon Government Employees MPC, who is a product of NATCCO’s Cooperative Leadership and Management Program (Coop LAMP).  She related her journey, beginning as a teller, then bookkeeper, accountant, internal auditor, chief of operations, until being appointed CEO.   

She swears on the transformative power of NATCCO education and consultancy services, how it improved her confidence and decision-making when challenges came.

Lubguban also underwent the Credit Union CEO Competency Course and Development Educators’ Course of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU).

“Cooperatives should look look to their federation for the transformation of their staff to become leaders!” she said.

Next was Moana Alexandra Toubol, a youth leader in the laboratory cooperative of Oro Integrated Cooperative in Cagayan de Oro City.  The laboratory cooperative has 50,000 youth members with Php 120 Million deposits.

She emphasized the mindset that co-op leaders must have: the youth are the successors.  She urges all co-ops to send delegates to participate in NATCCO’s youth camps because it establishes “friendships and connections.”

NATCCO CEO Sylvia Paraguya synthesized the discussions at the celebration: “Cooperatives are building a better environment for all, better access to digital services, better spaces for all, food security, better leaders, and a better future by raising young leaders.”

 “All these are best done in an integrated network!” she concluded.


  • cooperative movement
  • International Day of Cooperatives
  • worldwide cooperative movement

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