The ILO undertakes activities supporting the development of cooperatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

A Cooperative Support Programme (CSP) in the OPT is launched with support from the Italian Government

News | 09 November 2021
The ILO has launched a new programme to support the development of Palestinian cooperatives for sustainable development in the OPT. The Cooperative Support Programme (CSP) is a part of the 3-year “Be the Impact” programme that is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

The ILO activities supporting cooperatives in OPT are aligned with Recommendation 193 on the Promotion of Cooperatives (2002). The activities of the Programme are also aligned with the National Policy Agenda (NPA) and with the Cooperative Works Agency (CWA)’s Strategy for “Reform and Development of Cooperatives (2018-2022)”. The CWA was established as the new regulatory and promotional body for Palestinian cooperatives.

The Programme will support the CWA and its subsidiary bodies, Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) and the Cooperative Development Fund (CDF) to fulfil regulatory and promotional functions to create a conducive environment for cooperatives. It will also provide technical support to the newly founded General Cooperative Union (GCU) and its five sectoral unions, in planning, training, governance, effective leadership, and exchange of expertise with international partners.

Achievements of the ILO project to date
  • The ILO supported amendments to the draft Cooperative Law of 2017 and its bylaws to establish two promotional entities, CDF and CDI. These were submitted to the Board of Directors of CWA for deliberation and endorsement.
  • The ILO established a Steering Committee (SC) to ensure that the project maintains coherence with national priorities; and to provide strategic direction and oversight for the implementation of the Cooperative Support Programme (CSP). The SC members notably include two representatives from AICS (Director and Economic Development Officer), two representatives from CWA (Chair and Executive Director), and two representatives from ILO (Programme Analyst and Project Coordinator. The SC will meet three times per year, chaired by the CWA Chairman.
  • The ILO established technical advisory committee (TAC) of the project which will advise the SC on technical matters. TAC meetings will be held prior to SC meetings with sectoral Cooperative Unions (Agriculture, Housing, Savings and Credit, Consumer, Handicraft, new Cooperative Union for Marketing Palestinian Cooperative Products) and the General Cooperative Union (GCU) participating.
  • The ILO conducted visits to 35 cooperatives to inform them of the project, relay the importance of environmental management for quality controls, and for marketing and to invite them to present their products at the launch.
  • The ILO established an online community of practice with more than 50 people from different cooperative institutions to encourage discussion and exchange of views on cooperative development in the OPT.
  • The ILO completed the training needs package for CWA. Two training sessions on cooperative audit and strategic planning were scheduled.
  • The bidding process for conducting the communication and visibility activities was completed.
Upcoming Activities of the Project

Assessment of Palestinian Sectoral Cooperative Unions and the GCU in relation to their internal governance and service provision to primary cooperatives: The purpose of the assignment is to better understand the performance and governance of sectoral cooperative unions and the GCU in regards to the provision of services to primary cooperatives, and seeking recommendations for project’s future action to support them.

Provision of Technical Assistance, Design, and Implementation of Visibility and Communication Action Plan for be the impact Programme: The aim of this activity is to prepare a communication plan including branding for programme, and design of programme promotional material (folders, notebooks, pens, posters, newsletters) to boost the visibility of the programme through proper coverage of events/activities, development of visibility products and documentation of programme main achievements.

Capacity Development for the CWA, GCU and sectoral cooperative unions: The capacity development activities under the project will focus on training for staff of these institutions to enable them to better support cooperatives in building and executing strategic plans within their respective sectors. Staff, members and leaders of primary cooperatives will also receive training to improve the management of their cooperatives.