International Day of Cooperatives

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2024 Date6 July 2024
2025 Date5 July 2025

International Day of Cooperatives

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International Day of Cooperatives History

The International Day of Cooperatives in South Africa, observed on the first Saturday of July every year, is a day to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by cooperatives in socio-economic development. The day also aims to raise awareness of the cooperative movement's contributions to resolving various economic, social, and environmental challenges.

Cooperatives have a long history in South Africa. In the early 20th century, cooperatives were formed to support black farmers and small businesses that were excluded from mainstream economic activities. During apartheid, cooperatives played a crucial role in organizing resistance and providing support to oppressed communities.After the fall of apartheid, cooperatives became an important tool for promoting economic development and empowerment among marginalized groups. Today, cooperatives play a vital role in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, and services.

The International Day of Cooperatives in South Africa is celebrated by organizing various events and activities aimed at promoting cooperation, sharing experiences, and building networks. The day provides an opportunity for cooperatives to showcase their work, expand their networks, and share knowledge and experiences with other cooperatives both locally and internationally. The International Day of Cooperatives is observed annually on July 1st.

International Day of Cooperatives facts

  • The theme for International Day of Cooperatives in 2023 was Cooperatives: partners for accelerated sustainable development.
    The theme in 2022 was Cooperatives Build a Better World.
  • Globally, 1 billion people are members of cooperatives according to the IWDC.
  • According to IWDC, in 2023, there are over 30,000 cooperatives operating in every sector of the U.S. economy.
  • South Africa is home to the largest cooperative organization in Africa, the South African National Apex Cooperative (SANACO), which represents over 22,000 cooperatives with more than 15 million members.
  • The first cooperatives in South Africa were formed in the early 1900s, primarily by Indian and African communities who were excluded from mainstream economic participation.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Explore upcoming events near you. The International Cooperative Alliance hosts events that focus on community and societal growth.
  • Watch the UN's 2020 International Day of Cooperatives video if you missed it. The video focuses on cooperative solutions that can help lower the risks of climate change.
  • South Africa is home to many eco-tourism initiatives that operate as cooperatives. Organizations like the Fair Trade Tourism certification program promote responsible and sustainable tourism practices, working closely with local communities and businesses.
  • Visit wine cooperatives in the Western Cape, as South Africa is well-known for its wine industry. Several wine cooperatives, such as Fairview Wine and Cheese in Paarl and KWV Wine Emporium in Paarl, allow visitors to learn about the production process and taste the products.

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