How industrial, health and services cooperatives contribute to reduce inequalities

Session organized by IHCO and CICOPA in the framework of the «Cooperatives for Development» conference of the International Cooperative Alliance
16 October 2019 | 14:30 – 16:30 | Kigali, Rwanda

Cooperatives have a long tradition of promoting equality, being it among the population or at the workplace. Their values of «equality and equity» go beyond members’ equal voting rights. Cooperatives guarantee that goods and services that are essential for a dignified life, such as health, social services, education etc, remain accessible and affordable for everyone.

Cooperatives in general and industrial and service cooperatives, in particular, contribute to the equal redistribution of wealth in communities where they are rooted. Particularly sensitive to vulnerable population, they ensure their inclusion and participation in the society and providing them with work opportunities.

In addition to creating a viable enterprise model that generates productivity and income, cooperatives are well placed to help tackle social inequalities, discrimination and exclusion based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and differential abilities.

Health and inequality are intrinsically related. Many bad results of health indicators outcomes, like life expectancy, maternal mortality or obesity are strongly linked with the higher levels of social and income inequality of a given population. Otherwise, health is instrumental to economic growth, and in reducing inequality and poverty.

Economists and health experts have known for years that people who live in more impoverished societies live shorter lives. Moreover, there is evidence that people live longer in nations with lower levels of inequality. Health is a holistic concept; social, economic and environmental conditions in which people live strongly influence health between groups. Health inequalities can largely be explained by the consequences of unequal access to decent housing, proper education, adequate income, and healthy food. These conditions are known as the social determinants of health.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages countries to implement policies addressed to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (SDG3), decent work (SDG8) and reduce inequality within and among countries (SDG10). Cooperatives at the industrial, services and healthcare sectors contribute to achieving these goals.

Goals and objectives
The Session will bring together leaders, experts and representatives of cooperative experiences in the industrial, services and healthcare domain to review and reflect on the role that cooperatives play in ensuring healthy lives, promoting well-being, decent work and reducing inequalities.

Practical information
Detailed session program will be available soon
Conference venue: Kigali Conference Center (KCC) KG 2 Roundabout, Kimihurura – Kigali, Rwanda
Interpretation will be provided in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Kinyarwanda
Registration to the ICA conference is required in order to take part in the session.
Full program of the ICA conference (14-16 October) is available here.