253. “Les Choix de Marguerite”, winner of the Ruralia-Desjardins Award

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Coop Name: Desjardins Group N° of Employees: 45,219
City: Lévis N° of Members: 5800000
Country: Canada Year of formation: 1900
Website: http://www.desjardins.com Twitter: Link
About this coop:

With more than 6 million members and clients, Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada. As an International Co-operative Alliance member, Desjardins shares the same ideals as thousands of cooperatives around the world. These ideals are expressed through a set of values that defined the cooperative identity since the very start. For more than 40 years, its component Développement international Desjardins (DID) has been working with developing and emerging countries towards the goal of sharing the expertise and experience of Desjardins and helping local communities set up their own financial cooperative networks. DID’s goal is to provide disadvantaged communities around the world with access to secure, diversified financial services that fit their needs. Find stories from Desjardin Group and DID below.

Desjardins and Solidarité rurale du Québec presented the fisrt-ever Ruralia-Desjardins award to the Coopérative de solidarité de Baie-Johan-Beetz for creating “Les Choix de Marguerite”, a local multiservice centre. After the town’s only grocery store closed, residents were forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to stock up on food and supplies. Not exactly convenient! That’s why, a few years later, the community rallied together and opened “Les Choix de Marguerite”, a co-op with a grocery store, gas station, post office and Internet café all under one roof. “Small communities need cooperation and community spirit to prosper… While we got a lot of outside help, the members of our community really worked hard on this project. Without this community involvement, I don’t think the other organizations would have taken up our cause”, says Anne-Marie Tanguay, spokesperson for the Coopérative de solidarité de Baie-Johan-Beetz. Each year the Ruralia-Desjardins award, which offers a $25,000 bursary, will be given for an innovative, citizen-initiated project that brings residents of a rural community together to achieve sustainable prosperity.

Author of this story
France Michaud
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