Young people from across Argentinian co-operatives discussed the future of the movement at their annual Youth National meeting, in which representatives from other sectors of the social economy also took part.
Marking the 30 year anniversary of democracy in Argentina, participants explored how co-operatives could help to redistribute wealth, justice and democracy. The meeting was themed “Transitioning the decade: projecting transformation. Youth in democracy for national co-operation”. Co-operatives play an important role in promoting democracy as well as social values and justice, said the youth taking part in the meeting.
The meeting also featured a presentation by Gabriela Buffa, the president of Youth of Cooperar and recently elected as the youth representative on the International Co-operative Alliance board. She congratulated young people for getting involved in the debate, which she said was fundamental to the development of new ideas and projects. She encouraged co-operatives to change their statutes to enable youth to have a greater say and be able to vote, achieving integration.
“We have to promote greater participation, targeting particularly those young people that we haven’t reached yet. Participation is not something concerning youth, but something that concerns all members of a co-operative, a federation or confederation. Maybe these debates that we started could lead to other debates in other spaces,” she said.
The meeting focused on four key topics: participation, communication, integration and local development. Participants assessed issues related to the four themes during various workshops.
Summarising what has been discussed during the debates, Gabriela Buffa said young delegates had called for more youth participation within the Boards of Directors of co-operatives. Directors should try to mentor young co-operators and help them become the leaders of the future. The youth can help to achieve transformation leading to a real and truly democratic society, she said.
“I see here a rich exchange. All young people spoke, expressed their views, proposed ideas and listened to others. We have to continue to improve our participation and encourage those who haven’t participated to get involved.”
Delegates also debated the importance of communication as an integration tool. Nicolás Martín, representative of the Argentinian Federation of Health and Solidarity Institutions said: “Communication is a social service that serves the development of dialogue and exchange of awareness”.
The meeting ended with a plenary session where the youth suggested various ways of facilitating decision making for collective action.
Youth director of Cooperar, Gabriel Di Francesco said the event marked “a very good moment” for future generations to “make progress in terms of decision making”.