ILO pilots an orientation tool on cooperation in Cambodia

Actualité | 19 septembre 2017
Think.COOP workshop in Cambodia
On August 25, a new ILO orientation tool on the cooperative business model was piloted in Cambodia. Supported by a local partner organization Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), the training brought together over 25 participants to discuss and learn about the benefits of cooperation for improving their livelihoods and economic opportunities. Most of the participants were workers in the informal economy, including tuk-tuk drivers, market vendors and community organizers from Phnom Penh, the capital. In addition, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and a microfinance institution participated in the training.

The piloted module, Think.Coop – An orientation on the cooperative business model is the latest ILO tool to promote cooperative development. It aims at providing a basic introduction to cooperation and collective action. At the end of the training the participants are expected to become more aware of the cooperative option and can decide if the model suitable for their needs. Think.Coop is the very first step in initiating an understanding about the cooperative model. It is intended to complement other training tools from the ILO.

Participants discussing with each other
Think.Coop has a strong participatory nature. It does not need an external facilitator, as it uses self-facilitating training techniques to enable the participants to reflect on their own experiences while learning from those of others. The pilot training showed this method to be suitable for the purposes of Think.Coop where everyone works in collaboration with others in their personal and work lives. Most of the participants could relate to the favourable nature of doing business together for achieving economies of scale, sharing decisions, risks and responsibilities, gaining negotiation power with authorities and other benefits.

As one participant, a tuk-tuk driver, said at the end of the training, “Learning more about entrepreneurship and the relationships that affect our businesses is very important to improve our incomes. Discussions in the group were good and showed us how important it is to work together to make us stronger”.

A second pilot training is scheduled to take place in November this year. The development process of training materials and tools continues, and other modules for the Think.Coop family will be ready for further testing and dissemination by the end of 2017.