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A Cooperative Model for Peace Education in schools

The primary objective is to help the child grow into a peaceful person so that he not only achieves his dreams, but is also able to contribute to the community. Viewed in this perspective, the key components of the cooperative model for peace education are as follows:

1. Communication Skills

The structure of a cooperative organization is such that the members learn to effectively communicate and work as a team of people towards a common goal. Ability to indulge in sincere dialogue, understand each others perspective and work towards effective solutions are the essential elements of communications skills. At a time when developing the communication skills of school children is emphasized through various strategies a cooperative approach would be very beneficial in this regard.

2. Character Building

The ethical values of cooperatives can be very important in building up the character of the school children. These values must be propagated amongst the school children through various creative methodologies. The value of social responsibilities and caring for others provides the school children an opportunity to be exposed to social realities and understand people’s problems while working with them.

3. Democratic Participation

This particular component can be highlighted to make the children aware of the need to actively participate in the affairs of an organization. Active participation in a democratic institution like cooperative can minimize the potentialities of conflict.The attempt would be here to enhance the participatory skills of the children through a cooperative approach.

4. Self Empowerment

Cooperative organization enables a member to be self empowered so as to make optimal contribution to not only the organization, but also the immediate community. This includes developing skills to respect h others and appreciate them honestly. All this leads to peace. So cooperative approach in which the school children feel self empowered is very important for developing them as peaceful individuals. When self-empowerment comes, then it leads to community empowerment. When community is empowered then it builds up a strong foundation of peace.

5. Sustainable Development

The aptitude for peace amongst the school children can be developed if the stress and strain in their competitive daily routine can be channelized in a positive direction by creating genuine empathy for the environment around. The challenge here will be to develop a child friendly module based on interesting experiences of cooperatives in sustainable development in the country. When children are sensitised that a cooperative approach can lead to fruitful initiatives in sustainable development, then they can themselves involve themselves in such initiatives, which can minimize their chances of indulging in such activities which can lead to friction.

6. Leadership Development

If the children are sensitized to act as agents of change in their community by developing the skills and values of working in cooperatives, then their leadership qualities can be enhanced. They can thus develop their personality based on peaceful foundation so as to make a positive difference though their conduct and action.

7. Building Trust

In today’s era many of the problems in organizations are due to lack of trust, and ego at all levels. If the children are groomed with the values of cooperatives and are made aware of the importance of principles of Cooperation which encourage collective action, they can develop trust amongst themselves which can reduce the chances of their every day conflicts. They can also develop the quality of sharing which can enable them to work for common good.

The above important elements for building a model of peace education through a cooperative approach can provide a new direction to peace education for the children in the schools. Successful case examples of the working of cooperatives in an interesting manner, or may be through a story telling methodology can be incorporated with these elements so as to make the model strong.

Strategic Advantages for Cooperatives

In a scenario when there is urgent need of some organizations or sectors to contribute to make substantial initiatives as far as peace education in the country are concerned, the cooperatives poses a strategic advantage because of their inherently strong value framework. It will be a big challenge for the cooperative sector to make effective forays in this arena by developing peace education modules. Besides, this can be an effective communication strategy for the cooperative sector to make its presence felt in the mainstream school education system of the country by appealing to the psyche of the children whose minds have to be nurtured with elements of peace. The peace education modules for the schools must be formulated in such a manner that not only cooperative principles/values are given significance ,but also the uniqueness of the cooperative structure for the school children comes into a sharper focus.

National Cooperative Union of India’s Initiatives

National Cooperative Union of India is an apex organization of cooperative movement in the country has taken definite initiatives to popularize cooperative model of development amongst the school children. Besides organizing events like Quiz, Debates etc. For the school children, NCUI is also involved to educate the schools about the cooperative societies and empower students with the development of 21st Century skills which will be achieved through project based and activity based approaches. NCUI is also taking serious efforts to ensure that the study of the cooperatives is given prominence in the school syllabus. So this may be the right time to make effective interventions so as to emerge as a pioneering institution in the direction of developing a comprehensive peace education model for the country. If this model is developed taking into account the Indian scenario then this can definitely emerge a s a trend-setter for the other countries of the Asia Pacific Region.

Conclusion

Image building has been one of the biggest challenges of the cooperative sector in the recent times. Making effective intervention in the field of peace through schools can be one of the effective strategies for image building, and also an opportunity to propagate their values and principles within the broader framework of peace.

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Cooperatives in Philippines are devising effective communications strategy

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Please go through the following link to know that the cooperatives in Philippines are devising an effective communications strategy through the medium of TV so as to present an alternative form of media, which can compete with commercial media on equal terms.

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/opinion/2015/02/09/cooperative-television-391200

I think this development may present a strong model to other cooperatives in Asian Region. The cooperatives must wake up to unite themselves so that they are not dominated by mainstream media. I think COOP TV is the need of the hour in every Asian country,as cooperatives need to project their programmes/activities through this medium.

Seven Ways To Build Up Image of Indian Cooperatives

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We all know that the cooperative movement in India is the largest in the world. With more than 6 lakh cooperatives, and covering 100 % of the villages, the cooperatives have huge network and reach. However, the cooperatives have not been able to build up their image, due to which cooperativess are ignored in the planning process. They are still struggling to make their voice heard. The public opinion of cooperatives is not favourable. Here are the seven steps how coops can build up their image.

1] There is general perception that cooperatives are unprofessional organizations. The cooperatives have to improve their functioning. They have to bring in professionals who can visualize, and act accordingly. They need passionate cooperators, not those who just think working in cooperatives is like any other job. Even if they have limited resources, they have to think of ways to improve productivity. They must bring in innovations, and adopt technology in their functioning.

2] The people are not aware of the good work of cooperatives. People generally identify cooperatives with Amul, a highly successful milk cooperative, or IFFCO, a world class global fertiliser cooperative. The other success stores are not effectively communicated to the people. The success stories of other cooperatives do not come up into limelight because of weak communication strategies. The cooperatives must work hard to portray their growth pattern/ success story in a most effective way. Then only people will connect with them.

3] The cooperatives must unite to project their succeed stories. The mode may be website, or a newspaper/magazine/electronic channel. Isolated efforts will yield only individual results, but not change the image of the sector. Social media is a good medium which can be of a great help. The unlimited growth stories can be tapped through social media. The stories of the beneficiaries can be disseminated far and wide through social media only. Each organisation must have a Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin Page. If mainstream media ignores cooperatives, then they should employ good PR people who can supply positive stories to mainstream press. There is dearth of good cooperative writers. Journalist workshops must be organized regularly to tap good talent. The views/vision/experiences of top dignitaries in the cooperative sector do not come into sharp focus, because there are not effective communicators who can interact with them, and produce good stories. Similarly, the stories of good g4] 4]The cooperatives don’t have good visibility in the government, and other non-cooperative organizations, including international organizations. The issues/grievances of the cooperative sector are not given serious attention because lobbying is weak. For example, cooperatives are ignored in the planning process, and every year the budget ignores the cooperatives sector. The cooperative-government interface is weak. There is no mechanism which can sensitise the parliamentarians who could be effective cooperative lobbyists. Despite their wide reach, the cooperatives don’t make substantial attempts to participate in the government schemes/projects. The international organizations ignore cooperatives, because the cooperatives do not make attempts to fit in their agenda. The cooperatives tend to glorify themselves within the cooperative domain. There is no attempt to find linkages with non-cooperative organizations, which can lead to effective collaborations. As a result, cooperatives are not considered effective collaborators. The cooperatives must improve their image as far as advocacy/lobbying/collaborations is concerned. The required skills can be developed through change in organisational strategic thinking, which can lead to desired action.rass-root cooperative workers also don’t come into focus due to weak communications.

5] Cooperation among cooperatives is an important principle. The cooperatives in India, with large numbers, work in isolation in most of the cases. They must collaborate with each other. They must find common areas of interest. Then only other organizations will understand their strengths. For example, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility, is a concept which is attractive to the private players. Cooperative Principle ‘Concern For Community’ is a more powerful concept than CSR. Cooperatives must collaborate to show their concern for community. The private sector should not capitalize on CSR to show its brand value, the cooperatives have inherent strengths to show their supremacy here.

6] India has a strong youth population, as compared to other organizations. If cooperative youth brand is strongly developed, then it can give a big boost to image of Indian cooperatives. Cooperation as a subject should be popularized in the schools, colleges and universities. Wide-ranging collaborations must be forged so that cooperatives are set up in educational institutions, so that youth manage them based on cooperative principles.

7] The statistical profile of cooperatives in india is weak, despite presence of large number of cooperatives. For example, the share of cooperatives in GDP is not clear. Similarly, the research plank of cooperatives is weak. Studies/in-depth research reports have become fewer, and sporadic. We don’t have a quality research study on Primary Agriculture Cooperatives, which are the foundation of the cooperative movement. The statistical facts and figures which can show the strengths of Indian cooperatives vis-à-vis other private players/non-cooperative organizations are absent. The research findings are not communicated to the people, and those who work for non-cooperative organizations. A professional approach for raising the statistical profile of Indian cooperatives is the need of the hour.

Cooperative Week Celebrations In India

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When you go through the link http://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/policy/government-to-bring-bill-for-making-cooperatives-more-autonomous-radha-mohan-singh/articleshow/45233231.cms,you can see that mainstream media does not neglect cooperatives,more if it is related to a big event like Cooperative Week celebrations.
The Cooperative Week celebrations from 14th to 20th November in India are an important image-building country, for the cooperative sector every year, organized by National Cooperative Union of India[www.ncui.coop],an apex organisation of the cooperative movement. The celebrations provide an opportunity for cooperatives to talk about their achievements, success stories, problems/issues, etc. The Cooperative Week is celebrated in every nook and corner of the country, not only in cities, but in also in towns, districts and villages. The Cooperative Week celebrations in the towns and villages have a deeper significance. They symbolize the deep attachment of grass-root workers who are attached to the cooperatives in these areas. The state and district level celebrations involve cooperatives of all sizes, big and small. During the seven days of the Cooperative Week, from 14th to 20th November, the celebrations cover all the areas of cooperative development which are incorporated in the Guidelines of Cooperative Week, formulated by NCUI. Seminars/symposia/conferences/workshops, competitions for youth, cultural programmes on cooperative themes, etc are organized during all the seven days. During these celebrations, the Chief Ministers/Governors of States/cooperative officials, etc are invited as esteem guests. Even high-ranking officials, not associated with cooperatives, are invited to these vents so that they can understand the significance of cooperatives ,and collaborate with them

At the national level,the apex cooperative organizations organize Cooperative Week celebrations by organizing seminars/workshops/other events on themes related to Cooperative Week activities. These are generally inaugurated by high-ranking Ministers/officials. The policy pronouncements from the high-profile Ministers, cooperative officials, etc have deeper significance for cooperative development. At the valedictory function of Cooperative Week, organized by National Cooperative Union of India, Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister for Agriculture gave due emphasis to issues like ensuring cooperative utonomy, strengthening cooperative education/training, need fro technology upgradation, active involvement of women and youth, etc.
The Cooperative Week celebrations are over. Now, it is important to ensure implementation of various pronouncements, and action-points which emerged during these celebrations. As the year is ending, an honest stock-taking exercise should be undertaken to find the strengths, and weaknesses in the functioning of cooperatives. This exercise is important so that fresh agenda for cooperatives for the new year is being formulated.

Electric Coop Tours in USA; Implications for India

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When I went through this link http://www.jamestownsun.com/content/co-ops-send-students-dc,I felt a strong urge to see a similar type of situation in India.Electric Coop Youth tours in USA appear to a very good practical experience of associating youth in the working of cooperatives.The students learn how the cooperative principles help in effective functioning of cooperatives. That they learn democratic skills to act as potential leaders is a smart way to instil cooperative values in them.The long tradition of Electric Coop Youth tour shows how strong is cooperative ethos embedded in student culture in USA.ha

In India,there are many successful cooperatives working in all the areas of socio-economic activities.the number,and reach of cooperatives is more here than USA.The dairy cooperatives are most successful cooperatives in India.The dairy coops produce many products like ice-cream,soft drinks,pizza,etc which are quite popular amongst youth.The dairy cooperatives must design youth tours,where students from schools and colleges come to see the functioning of dairy cooperatives.Mother Dairy,a highly successful cooperative in Delhi is visited by many school students.But,the visits are short,and not long,and intensive as in US.A professional approach in designing long paid youth tours in which students are imparted cooperative dairy skills ,based on cooperative principles,is absent.Similarly,the cooperative youth tours can be designed for those successful cooperatives in rural areas,where the farming community is immediately benefited. The Primary agriculture cooperatives in India,based in the rural areas are working well,though there are some good exceptions.For
example,Mulkanoor Cooperative Society is a successful rural cooperative in Andhra Pradesh.The rural cooperative youth tours can be an effective way to give practical experience to students in cooperative functioning.

See the latest on cooperatives in Nepal

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The news link http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=79712 clearly shows the need for amending the cooperative Act in Nepal.I think the cooperative sector in Nepal too is facing many challenges,the more pertinent being professionalisation,and a conducive legal climate.The need for more regulations is felt to correct the cooperative lapses.Self-regulation itself is the best remedy to improve the quality of coopertaive governance.
India offers a good cooperative model for Nepal to follow.The education and training aspects of cooperatives can bes strengthened in Nepal through Indian assistance,the role of NCUI is important here.I think

UK Student Cooperative Housing Development;Asian Angle

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When you go through this link http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/birmingham-students-housing-cooperative-exploitative-landlords,you feel this UK example can be indeed replicated in not only UK,but other parts of the world,too more particularly the coops in Asia.While this may be a far-fetched visionary outlook,but,I feel the student cooperative housing societies can really turn out to be one of the most successful cooperative housing models.

The social aspect of student housing cooperatives as shown in the UK example is so important.In India,the cooperative housing movement is successful,but the student perspective has yet to be developed. The main problem is that awareness of cooperatives amongst the student community is very less in India,though the cooperative movement has a huge network,and outreach.

Implementing ICA Blue-print for Cooperative Decade;A Canadian Perspective

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I recommend the below linn as it talks of implementing ICA Blue-print for Cooperative Decade.Ontario cooperative in Canada’s strategic planning deserves attention in this regard. http://www.ontario.coop/all_about_cooperatives/coop_identity_and_the_cooperative_decade

Ontario Coop has adopted the new international coop marque,and is using dotcoop domain to promote cooperative linkages.It is playing a real a leadership role in formulating a plan or other cooperatives so that they implement iCA Blue-print for Cooperative Decade.I find this is so important,as the cooperatives at all levels need to be given a clear-cut strategic direction to implement ICA Blue-print for Cooperative Decade.

The apex cooperative organisations,which have a promotional role,must galvanise themselves into action so that cooperatives a t all levels implement ICA Blue-print for Cooperative Decade.In Asia-Pacific region,this is much needed,as the cooperatives have a big challenge to enhance their visibility.