International Co-op Summit in Cebu’s rugged mount

By Malou Guanzon Apalisok |July 09,2018 - 08:23 PM

Malou Guanzon-Apalisok

Young delegates from cooperatives based in some 16 countries from Asia Pacific are set to arrive in Lamac, Pinamungahan in southwestern Cebu next month for the 2nd edition of the Asia Pacific Co-operative Youth Summit.

The international event slated in August 18-21, 2018 is organized by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA Asia-Pacific (ICA-AP) in collaboration with Philippine affiliates.

Needless to say, the regional cooperative movement is all excited because the venue is the famous Hidden Valley Mountain Resort owned and operated by the highly diversified agricultural co-op that bears the name of the rugged mountains of the southwestern town – the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Why a Co-op youth summit?

According to the ICA-AP website, 60% of people aged between 15 and 24 live in Asia and the Pacific.

That’s about 700 million young people with varying levels of education including access to information technology.

That’s a huge capital resource that should propel the Asia Pacific region to economic heights if only these young people are exposed to cooperative enterprises that go beyond the traditional scope of skills that bring a fat paycheck.

Of 700 million, over 85 million young people in the region live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day.

The urgent task is to address high rates of “youth unemployment, under employment, vulnerable employment and informal employment”.

Co-op leaders think this can be achieved by cultivating and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of the young thru noteworthy co-op education and by developing networks of young entrepreneurs at international, regional, national and local levels.

Such communities are known to “foster knowledge among young people about their rights and responsibilities in society” and enable them to “secure their livelihoods and simultaneously contribute to sustainable development” at the same time bolstering the enterprise with their passion and energy.

As a co-operator who had been blessed by a number of learning exposures here and abroad, I can say that co-op education is unbeatable and inimitable.

It’s a blended instruction of engaging talks by A-list resource speakers, experiential learning through interaction and team building exercises that create lifetime friendships plus outdoor exposures in showcase enterprises and notable cultural destinations that enable the visitor to engage with the local community.

The output of the participants is channeled in an exercise worthy of a nosebleed.

In “Co-op Pitch,” young participants look for a business solution that “provide tangible results with redistributable revenues, show a high degree of innovative and novelty ideas, and highlight sustainable leadership qualities and measures.”

The proposed business enterprise must tap on the participants’ innate creativity using digital technology bound by co-op principles.

All of these and many more are in store for participants of the 2nd Cooperative Youth Summit which has for its theme, “’Creative Skills, Co-operative Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development.”

I often hear Co-op leaders feeling anxious that their organization is running out of new blood because the attention of young people is glued on social media. Moreover, they generally think coops are low-tech, old fashioned and run by old people.

Well, the success of the Bali experience is a testament to the relevance of the Youth Coop Summit and the appeal of the event to the millennials.

Why Lamac?

The event takes up from the gains of the first edition held in Bali, Indonesia in September 2016, an event that gathered participants from 17 countries including four young people belonging to two Cebu co-ops.

One of them was Justine Lyn Limocon, head of Lamac MPC’s Business Development Center who bagged the major prize through her business solution in the area of sustainable farm tourism.

In recognition of Justine’s winning the international contest and Lamac MPC’s global renown as innovative and remarkable self-help enterprise, organizers chose the coop-run Hidden Valley Mountain Resort as venue.

What a proud moment for PH cooperatives and especially Lamac MPC! Kudos to all members, GM Ellen Limocon, Board Chairman Delfin Tuquib and Lamac youth!

Allow me to pitch for the advocacy show, Co-op TV which I co-produce for CCTN Channel 47.

Justine will appear in this week’s episode dedicated to the forthcoming international Cooperative Youth Summit.

Stay tuned!

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