.....The Selva in Action Cooperative Project
.....The Cooperative Model and Principle
.....Cooperativa del Río Momón - Members Roles and Responsibilities
The Selva in Action cooperative project targets villages along the Rio Momón. The Rio Momón is a tributary of the river Nanay which flows into the Amazon near the city of Iquitos. This population along the Rio Momón is isolated and largely ignored by the authorities.
After an original feasibility study The SIA team concluded that a cooperative model promised the best means to assist the communities to increase access to health care and a better way of life. A health care cooperative is based on the concept that if a group of people pay a bit little at a time, then the bill for what otherwise might not be affordable is already paid. Health care can then be available when needed. In essence, the cooperative acts much like an insurance product.
Defining a Cooperative:
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Basic Cooperative Values:
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and unity. Ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others are promoted for all cooperative members. The members are the owners, the decision makers and the beneficiaries.
Self-help is based on the belief that all people can and should strive to control their own destiny.
“Self –responsibility” mean that members assume responsibility for their cooperative – for its establishment and its continuing vitality. Members have the responsibility of promoting their cooperative among their families, friends and acquaintances. Members also ensure that their cooperative remains independent.
Cooperatives are based on “equality”. Members, whether an individual or a group, are all equal. The social and economic status of the member is not relevant. Each member has one vote.
Achieving “equity” within a cooperative is a continuing, never-ending challenge.
“Solidarity” ensures that cooperative action is not just a disguise for limited self-interest. This means that the cooperative has a responsibility for the collective interest of its members.
A Health Care Cooperative:
A health care cooperative is based on the concept that if a group of people pay a little bit at a time each period, then the bill for what otherwise might not be affordable is already paid. Health care can then be available when needed. In essence, a health care cooperative is a local group of people who come together to share health care costs. The cooperative acts much like an insurance product.
After researching failed projects, SIA developed their mission, the team’s responsibilities and their activities. (see “About Us”)
Members & Leaders must fulfill their responsibilities to build and maintain a successful cooperative:
Elect the cooperative leaders
Approve legal documents
Identify the services that are most important to the community
Make decisions on major cooperative issues
Follow the bylaws and rules set by the cooperative
Recruit other members
Finance their own cooperative by paying their dues on a timely basis
Promote the activities of the cooperative
Utilize the services offered by the cooperative as needed
Attend Cooperative General Meetings
Express opinions to the leaders and vote for the interest of the community
The Leaders should have the following attributes:
Respected and trusted by the community
Thinks independently and can clearly communicate their views
Place the community and cooperative interest first
Make good business decisions
Make the most of available resources
Promotes the Cooperative
Get along with others
Have time to perform their responsibilities
Being a leader is an extremely important function in a cooperative and it must be taken seriously. In addition to the “Members’ Roles”, the leaders are also responsible for the following:
Attend and actively participate in the Cooperative Leadership meetings
Develop future plans to better serve the community
Receive feedback from the community members
Share decision made by the cooperative leaders
Communicate with the members, providing updates from the leadership meeting and discussing Cooperative plans
Supervise the activities of the cooperative
Develop operational and organizational policies
Make big view decisions
Provide direction for the Cooperative
Preserve and demonstrate the core values and principles of the cooperative
Educate the members on Cooperative procedures
Collect membership dues
Protect members’ investment
Make sound financial decisions
Hire an accountant
Management Cooperative Resources
Help resolve problems, such as miscommunication
Elect Board Officers
Teach the strategies for developing, implementing, and managing a cooperative
Conduct Leadership Development training
Facilitate and coordinate Cooperative Leadership Meetings and Membership General Meetings
Assist in establishing and maintaining relationships and follow-up with strategic partners such as MINSA and the Mayor of Punchana
Maintain records, and reports
Educate the members
Assist Leaders in developing business plans
Keep the PAMS team informed of the progress of the Co-op