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Safe Spaces for Youth: Here are some of the youth co-operative initiatives in Africa

The world has never been this young and even getting younger each and every day. Therefore, for us to have a sustained and developed tomorrow, it will depend on how well we nature and support our young women and men hence the saying ‘the youth can walk fast but the old knows the way’. Economic empowerment of youth remains to be a priority in our Africa continent since the growing economy needs the productive capacity of their labour force.  Despite the efforts made by some of the African countries, it has not contributed much to the realization of Agenda 20163 ‘The Africa We Want’.

As we celebrate this year’s Youth Day 2018 themed “Safe Space for Youth”, calling for safe spaces for the youth to collaborate and engage in activities that relates to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freedom of expression without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Co-operatives being key actors that support the achievement and implementations for the Sustainable Development Goals, the youth day theme specifically targets Goal 11- Sustainable cities and communities that emphasizes on the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization.

This Youth Day, we present to you some of the youth co-operative initiatives in the region of Africa.

Minds Cooperative – Botswana

Youth co-operative that empowers young men and women in agribusiness drive with different economic diversification and Food Security. It helps in building long term relationships with customers and clients and provides exceptional customer services by pursuing business through innovation and advanced technology. They also work also work towards building the confidence of women and empowering them, to fight the youth unemployment rate and help in the economic diversification drive through co-operatives.

Farmers League Co-operative Society – Ghana

Is an agro-based Co-operative Association registered under the laws of Ghana. It helps smallholder farmers in Ghana to minimizing the activities of middlemen along the distribution channel by linking them to shoppers through the first ever farmers online market established in Ghana called Akuafo Market.

E-farm Co-operative Society ltd – Kenya

E-Farm is an Agribusiness Co-operative Society, owned by members from all walks of life, the aim is to Agribusiness with an intention to add value to members Land, supplement members income, create employment and enhance food security. E-farm co-operative conducts Site visits every Saturday, and gives its members an opportunity to own a part of our current project at an affordable price.

COOBAKAMU Coffee Co-operative – Rwanda

Zipora Nyituriki is the founder COOBAKAMU Coffee Co-operative, which has now more than 400 coffee farmers working in the district of Muhanga in Southern Rwanda. Zipora now owns a coffee processing plant in the same district that helps farmers in coffee husks removal, washing, fermentation, drying and linking them to the buyers who are NAEB (National Agricultural Export Board), RwaCof Export (Rwanda Coffee Export) at Kigali. The reasons why she started this plant is because 98% of coffee that the buyers received were not processed while they prefer to get processed coffee only 2%processed coffee received. Also 90% of coffee farmers in Muhanga District sold their coffee at a very low price, they struggled to find a market because they lacked value additions like removing the husks and drying their coffee, removed the coffee husks themselves by using their hands, and had transportation problem where they used to carry the coffee sacs on their heads which was requiring them 4 hours to reach the washing station.

Pottery & Zellij Tile Co-operative – Morocco

Morocco is historically known for its Moroccan tradition of zellij tile design and hand thrown pottery. The co-operative makes tiles, decorative and art of hand cut geometric mosaic designs in   richness of colors and patterns highly in forms of artistic expression in Moroccan culture and the Islamic world. In the recent years, they have inspired interior designers and gained momentum as an international design trend. This has led to introduction of artisan classes to enable other young people to learn the traditions of this beautiful craft.

Source: International Cooperative Alliance 

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