What role can youth play in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges? And how can cooperatives become a means to empower them to drive change for the better? These were some of the topics discussed at the Global Youth Forum Cooperative Entrepreneurship 2020 (GYF20) in Kuching, Sarawak, where young cooperators from around the world met between 3-7 February.
With over 180 participants from 50 countries, the forum was designed to offer young people new practical skills through 110 interactive sessions with trainers from around the world. Workshops looked at business models; environmental issues; finance; IT and social media; law, leadership, management and HR; networking; SDGs; methodologies and social issues.
The opening ceremony featured Dato’ Abdul Fattah Abdullah, President of apex body Angkasa, who welcomed participants to Kuching, located in the state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.
“Use the forum as an opportunity to develop as a person with big dreams,” Mr Abdullah told participants.
ICA president Ariel Guarco also called on young entrepreneurs to join the global cooperative movement, which, he said, was the largest business network in the world.
“I hope many of you after the training days become convinced about the advantages of our business model and come up with solutions,” he said.
In a written statement Abang Abdul Rahman Johari Abang Openg, Chief Minister of Sarawak, provided an overview of the local cooperative movement, which is almost a century old. Malaysia is home to over 14,470 cooperatives with six million members.
The Chief Minister argued it was important to promote cooperatives and encourage youth to be part of cooperative enterprises, which are resilient at times of crises.
Over the course of the forum, participants worked on drafting a Youth Agenda for Advocacy. Through the agenda, which was adopted during the final plenary session of the forum, GYF20 participants pledge to continue working on creating sustainable economies, drive collective action, use technology as an inclusive tool, promote co-operative education and connect the cooperative movement with social and environmental movements.
The forum was organised by #coops4dev?, the partnership on international development between the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the European Union, in collaboration with the ICA Youth Network, and was hosted by Angkasa and supported by the FNCE (Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne) and the International Summit of Cooperatives.
Stay tuned on gyf20.coop: more content will be posted in the following weeks!