Cooperatives are social and economic organizations that strengthen communities — especially in times of hardship.

In Indonesia, as across the world, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable members of society. It’s become harder for people to feed their families, as they’ve lost their job or their customers, and sometimes even their home. Reviving cooperatives raises optimism, building solidarity and empowering people to help each other, by making the economy a shared responsibility.

This inspiring video by Heira Hardiyanti of the Institute for Indonesian Cooperative Development (LSP2I) showcases how the Cooperative Business Incubation Program is helping cooperatives to identify and realize their potential, in turn creating platforms for women and jobs for young people.in

The video introduces the innovative Koperasi Produsen Masyarakat Muda Strategis (KMMS), which is organized around waste management and recycling, giving families an income while benefiting the environment. The coop provides a creative hub where the community can learn the skills required to recycle efficiently, allowing people to turn waste into a form of currency. “It sparks a new spirit, and shows that we are not defeated by the pandemic,” says Heira.

Next, we meet the Koperasi Kopi Lodra, a coffee producers cooperative that’s bringing fresh hope to people who live in and around the forest beyond the city of Bandung. The coop provides a place for improving skills and knowledge around coffee cultivation, processing, and brewing — empowering members to create opportunities for themselves, rather than relying on employment from others. As Heira says, “Jobs are not easy to get, but very possible to create.”

Last but not least, we learn how the Muslimat Mandiri cooperative offers a lifeline for women who fall into financial difficulties, providing savings and loans without interest, as well as religious education and a place for community, connection, and support.

“The economy does not only belong to some people,” concludes Heira — it belongs to everyone. Cooperatives provide a way for people from all walks to life to participate in the economy while strengthening social bonds, creating sustainable livelihoods, and co-creating a shared future.

Three things you can do right now:

  1. Find out more about the work of LSP2I on their website.
  2. Help promote this article by sharing these posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Sign up here for email alerts when articles like this are shared on social media.
  3. Check out these info and resources on how to start your own cooperative.

 

Teaser photo credit: Screenshot from LSP2I’s video.