343 words, approx. 1.5 minutes to read.

The last month has seen devastating floods in Southeast Asia and hurricanes across the Caribbean. The loss of life and destruction of homes and infrastructure is heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine what these people are going through.

Charities like the International Red Cross are on the ground providing food, shelter and medical care, but the reconstruction, especially in poor countries like Bangladesh and Cuba, will take a long time.

That’s why the Co-op has agreed to give a £50,000 donation to Co-operatives UK’s emergency appeal – to fund co-operative development in the most affected and in-need countries. Money raised through the appeal will be distributed directly to co-operatives on the ground, through the International Co-operative Alliance.

As soon as my team heard about the appeal, which was kicked off by Southern Co-op, we knew the Co-op had to do something. Co-operatives are really important to economic development in general – but when disaster strikes, they’re vital. When the international focus on a country goes away, it’s the local charities, co-operatives and credit unions that are still there, rebuilding communities and supporting local people. A good example of this co-operation was following the Indian Ocean tsunamis of 2004.

Co-operatives UK’s appeal is also a brilliant way to live our co-operative values, especially the sixth co-operative principle of ‘co-operation among co-operatives’, so I’d encourage all UK co-operatives to get involved and make a donation to the appeal, however big or small.

5 October update

The global appeal fund has now reached £117,395 thanks to co-operatives around the world.

After such tragic events, the response has been heartwarming. Even some of the smallest co-operatives in the country have contributed, like CASE, a co-operative development agency in Leicester.

The team at Co-operatives UK has been liaising with the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) who are identifying where the money is needed. The focus of the appeal has been on medium-term reconstruction, so that when the emergency relief agencies leave, local co-operatives are ready to respond to people’s needs on the ground.


Thank you.

Rufus Olins
Group Community & Campaigns Director

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. […] to support our Fairtrade farmers affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, this is in addition to the £50,000 we donated to Co-operatives UK emergency appeal, to fund development in the most in-need […]

  2. […] told you a few weeks ago about the Co-operatives UK appeal we were supporting, to re-build co-operatives in flood and hurricane hit […]

  3. The lead given by the Co-op on the appeal is ever so welcome. I’m pleased to say that the appeal has now gone worldwide through the International Cooperative Alliance.

    And on a personal note, thanks again Rufus for letting me disturb your weekend and then having you disturb others on the same basis! Solidarity is not 9-5 and I do appreciate the efforts you in particular have made around this emergency.

  4. So good to see Southern Co-op kicking off the appeal and getting the ball rolling. It really does illustrate Co-operative Values are as relevant and as needed today as they have always been. Makes one proud to be a co-operator and a member of a Co-operative Society.

    Not to forget the good work of our own Co-operative Party in lobbying for Co-operatives both home and abroad. I would just to take this opportunity to wish the Party a very Happy Birthday for next months Centenary Conference.

  5. Excellent initiative and to adhere to the Co-op principle of @Co-operation between Co-operatives’ and direct the finance at other co-ops probably adds significant value to the contribution. I’m glad I am a member of the Co-op.

  6. Well done Coop – proud to be a member.


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