Community services, such as health, education, housing, environment, social services and labour integration of disadvantaged citizens cater to basic needs all over the world. Over the last few years, the cooperative movement, through member-based and democratically controlled businesses, has been meeting the challenge of satisfying them in a more intensive manner, while at the same time contributing to economic development, sustainable employment and social cohesion in communities.
The cooperative model, especially when several stakeholders are involved in its democratic control governance system, is particularly well adapted to community services. They make it possible to create synergies between different actors such as, service users, service providers and in some cases, public authorities.
To make this reality known, CICOPA, the International organisation of industrial and service cooperatives, and IHCO, the International health cooperative organization, have launched the campaign “Social needs, cooperative answers”. Up until 2020, answering the call of the cooperative movement compiled in the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade, cooperatives providing community services will say out loud how and why they contribute to more dignified and secure lives for millions of people worldwide.