Agreement of intention for the formation of the Cooperative Communication Network of the Americas
Cooperatives are preparing to communicate in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Within the framework of the XXI Regional Conference of Cooperatives of the Americas, the “Communication for the Sustainable Development Goals” laboratory was held, a space that brought together nearly one hundred attendees and was supported by the “Cooperatives in development Program ”, of the Partnership co-financed by the European Union and the International Cooperative Alliance and implemented in the region through the Regional Office of Cooperatives of the Americas COOPS4DEV 🌎.
This activity was carried out in order to strengthen the capacities of leaders, professionals and people dedicated to the field of communication through opening scenarios for intercooperation. Innovative initiatives, strategies and methodologies were presented that help cooperatives to reflect their impact in clear metrics and communicate them effectively through an innovative storytelling to position the model before public opinion.
One of the biggest challenges the global cooperative movement faces is its lack of presence in the informative agenda of the traditional media. Although recently there is a greater interest, thanks to the better performance of cooperatives compared to other types of companies, there are still difficulties to capture the attention of the mass media. Similarly, there are also regional junctures that prevent a coordinated level of communication.
In the laboratory, different cases of how the cooperative sector communicates and how this communication can be more effective and with greater impact in the face of international dynamics were analyzed. There was a sensitization phase about the 2030 Agenda as well as different examples of how some cooperatives make efforts to inform about sustainability and the impact of the model on sustainable development.
Lorena Barrantes, was in charge this sensitization phase. The speaker is director of Legatos Mundi, an organization that seeks to promote and enhance in the Costa Ricans fundamental values of respect, solidarity, equity and competitiveness in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In her speech she highlighted “Inequality is a clear result that we have been doing something wrong over time. They teach us to compete, there isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t have his share of responsibility. Despite being in compromised situations, there is no path that does not use the resources of the next generations, that is fair to others. Cooperatives have to take advantage of the moment that presents the 2030 Agenda. Cooperatives contribute to the SDGs naturally, but they also need to communicate.”
Making efforts for intercooperation is a challenge but cooperate between cooperative media sounded impossible, however, it was not for the project La Coope, Tracy Correa Flores, Producer of the Coope Program and journalist of INFOCOOP, National Institute of Cooperative Development, public entity responsible for the development of cooperativism in Costa Rica, said “The program arises as a proactive strategy against the relative indifference of the mass media towards the cooperative sector. Three cooperatives that had their own means of communication COOPEALFARORUIZ, COOPELESCA and COOPESANTOS, allied with the objective of disseminating the impact of Costa Rican cooperativism.” Visit their YouTube channel here.
Another case presented was Constructores de Sueños (Dream Builders) of Costa Rica, the first communication agency aligned with the SDGs, an advertising agency specialized on social economy companies; Hugo Figueroa Madriz presented the project “Hands of my country” which has allowed to generate quality jobs, inclusive education, learning opportunities, peaceful societies, an ecologically sound management of products, and techniques to reduce future economic, environmental and social costs.
The session ended with an active participation of the attendees, there was an emotional discussion about the responsibility of effectively communicating the contributions of cooperatives to the 2030 agenda, consequently Liseth Guzmán Director of communications of Infocoop together with Natalia Gonzalez, communication officer of Cooperatives of the Americas led the presentation of the Project of the Communication Network of Cooperatives of the Americas, which seeks to “Promote the relationship between the Network with the networks and / or committees of communicators of the region, advise cooperatives of the Americas at editorial level, facing issues and problems of the cooperative sector or the global context, promote the coop brand as the largest emblem of cooperative identity in the Americas and consolidate the communication department of Cooperatives of the Americas ”. In the end, six member entities of Cooperatives of the Americas signed the “Agreement of intention for the formation of the promoter team of the Communication Network of Cooperatives of the Americas.” (INFOCOOP, CENECOOP AND CONACOOP of Costa Rica, FEDECACES of El Salvador, ASCOOP of Colombia, and CONPACOOP of Paraguay). The following member organizations also expressed their will and their signature is still pending: NCBA CLUSA of the United States of America, CONFECOOP and COOMEVA of Colombia, CONFECOOP of Guatemala and CUDECOOP of Uruguay. In the same act twelve representatives of different cooperatives supported the agreement, and also seek to work together for the formation of the network promoter team, which represents a very good signal for the construction of a great strategy of joint communication and rich in diversity that gives the cooperative sector of the Americas its own voice in order to position before the public opinion.