The first Saturday of July each year is celebrated by the UN as International Cooperatives day and each year a specific theme to celebrate is chosen. This year the theme is INCLUSION.
Inclusion captures the people-focused nature of co-operatives, which provide a space where all people, regardless of race, gender, culture, social background or economic circumstance, can meet their needs and build better communities.
Indeed 2012 was designated by the UN as the International Year of Cooperatives because, as their theme stated "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World".
Co-operatives are a key tool for development everywhere because they provide employment locally and keep the surpluses for the local good; they are all democracies and the co-op value of equality means that women as well as men get to have a say in things that affect their lives.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in 2012, “Through their distinctive focus on values, cooperatives have proven themselves a resilient and viable business model that can prosper even during difficult times. This success has helped prevent many families and communities from sliding into poverty."