Not long ago, Chuck Gould, ICA Director-General, told a co-operative symposium in Jamaica: “We need a more balanced and a more sustainable economic model and the co-operative model is a sustainable part of that solution.”

One member of that very audience has been doing much to prove that the co-operative model is the way forward for countries like Jamaica, where local businesses and livelihoods are being squeezed by foreign-owned corporations.

TIP Friendly Society (TIP) caters for the insurance needs of Jamaican educators. Its objective is to improve the economic, social and health status of members, staff and the wider community by providing thrift and credit facilities as well as sickness, accident and death benefits.

But it has also demonstrated to the wider co-operative movement how it is reinvesting in the community through its scholarship program which assists its members and their dependents in meeting their educational needs. The program is not only for university funding at undergraduate and post-graduate levels, but also for secondary school education.

Just as Gould says: Co-operatives are making a difference in their communities and are having an impact throughout the globe. Local cooperatives have demonstrated vision and commitment towards building sustained organisations at the community level despite harsh economic times.