CAK together with the other stakeholders launched the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives on the 29th November, 2011 where His Excellency, Hon. Mwai Kibaki, E.G.H., M. P, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya was the Chief Guest of Honor. The event was marked with exhibitions, entertainment and key speeches on Co-operative enterprises. The year 2012 as the year of Co-operatives was greatly appreciated as it offered tremendous opportunity for Co-operatives to take practical steps to reinforce the role of the Co-operative Movement in social and economic transformation of this country, and to strengthen the Co-operative movement through a number of key interventions and activities.
These activities included active advocacy of Co-operative ideals and promotion and formation of Co-operatives; demonstration and showcasing the successes and effectiveness of Co-operative Organizations; integration of Co-operative approaches in policy development; providing Co-operative education in school curricula and in entrepreneurship training; exploring new avenues for Co-operative development and drawing lessons to strengthen this model; and ensuring that the national and international policy and legislative environment for Co-operatives is enabling and not restrictive to Co-operative Growth.
The Co-operative Alliance of Kenya addressed factors that impact negatively on womens ability to join and effectively participate in Co-operatives by incorporating strategies for enhancing women empowerment in the 2013-2017 CAK Strategic Plan. This was in view that women are the majority agricultural producers in agricultural based Co-operatives, yet they remain marginalized as compared to men.
Regarding youth participation in Co-operatives, it is important to note that the youth unemployment crisis has been of key concern during the International Year of Co-operatives cerebrations in Kenya. 60% of the Kenyan population is under the age of 35 while the Kenyan unemployment rate is approximately 40% with an estimated 64% of unemployed Kenyans being youth. We have recognized the fact that the future of the Co-operative movement is in the youth. Consequently together with other stakeholders we have facilitated the registration of over 2,000 Youth Co-operatives.
Other IYC activities that have taken place include: fostering co-operation among Co-operatives for better synergies, carrying out National Co-operative Leaders Meetings, Sports and Family days, National Youth Consultative Forum and organizing and holding the International Co-operative Day Celebrations in Nairobi and in many other regions country-wide.
CAK continues to advocate for the causes of the Co-operative Movement, promote Government actions that are beneficial for Co-operatives and act as the spokesperson of the Movement in general.