The Ilígora Cooperative is located in Montora, a town of 10.000 inhabitants in the province of Córdoba, Spain, where it works in various aspects of the service sector. It was created in 2005 by the Jesús Nazareno Hospital Foundation and the El Yate Cooperative. Since then it has increased its activities, becoming an important source of employment for local women, who make up 90 of the 100 workers.
At the beginning, Ilígora continued the social work being conducted at the Jesús Nazareno Residence, integrating the existing female workers as members of the cooperative. This center, now operated by the Ilígora Cooperative, has been a pillar of the community for centuries. The headquarters is a building built in 1699 that has functioned as a hospital, health center, maternity ward and school. Now it is the only residence for seniors in the area.
In 2008 Ilígora increased its activities to include services on behalf of the municipality for home services in Montoro. To satisfy the needs of this population, the cooperative added 52 workers. Further, Ilígora also now provides cleaning services for various municipal facilities such as the Center for Social Services of the Provincial Institute for Social Wellbeing of Córdoba.
Work training is at the core of the Ilígora Cooperative. Since 2007 the cooperative has offered two professional occupational training courses: one for in-home social and health services and one for geriatric nursing assistance. The objectives of both training programs are work integration (currently higher than 60%) and further specialization for those already in the workforce.
The president of the cooperative, Nieves Fernández, recently participated in a conference organized by CECOP-CICOPA Europe at the European Social and Economic Committee, where she presented the work being done by social cooperatives in Spain and the challenges they face to an audience composed of European parliamentarians and representatives of various European Commission committees as well as representatives of social cooperatives from across Europe.
Fernández predicted a future with potential for further growth. In just 8 years Ilígora has already gone from managing one residence to four and is now preparing for the development of a complementary center for the production of food in collaboration with the El Yate (a cooperative from the same enterprise group). Long term plans include the creation of a large cooperative group along with other enterprises to energize the economy in the province of Córdoba.