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408. Powerful national co-operative movement looks to young to grow global movement

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One in three Singaporean residents is a member of a co-operative, explains Dolly Goh.

But when the lively chief executive of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) talks about her “McDonalds strategy” she is not only talking about the island nation.This federation has been quietly taking one of its concepts for 2012, the UN International Year of Co-operatives, global.

“The McDonalds strategy is to reach out to adults through children,” Goh explains.

The SNCF commissioned a well-known children’s book writer, Emily Lim, to write a series of children’s books celebrating co-operative values.

“This was conceptualised two years back when we heard about the IYC and was trying to put up a whole year programme for Singapore,” she says. “It is the SNCF’s way to contribute to the co-operative movement. It is our way of creating co-operative awareness throughout the world.”

The books are difficult to find in Singapore’s libraries because they are so popular and are constantly on loan. On November 2, 2012, the books were presented to the Rochdale Mayor James Gartside and will be available in all 17 libraries in the Rochdale area and will go on display in the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.

“By creating engaging stories and a delightful and fun reading experience for children to learn about co-operation and sharing gratitude, we hope to instill essential values for character building among the young that will in time, foster a more compassionate and resilient generation,” says Goh. “This event not only marks a milestone in SNCF’s history, it holds great significance to present the book to the city of Rochdale as this is the birthplace of the modern-day co-operative movement; which is also declared as the world capital of co-operatives by the International Co-operatives Alliance at the Co-operatives United event in Manchester. We are so honoured that a piece of Singapore co-operative movement is coming home to where it all began.”

Now the book is available in Korea and there are plans to translate it into Bahasa for a Malaysian audience.

Author of this story
Kate Askew
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