Local cooperatives connect with Venezuelan counterparts

In 2008, Dane County established a Sister County relationship with the Municipality of Andres Eloy Blanco in Venezuela (the capital city of the region is Sanare). Milwaukee also established a sister city relationship with Carora, Venezula in 2009. Sister relationships are designed to build global cooperation, promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development.

In order to move toward those goals, representa­tives from MadWorC met with representatives from the Venezuelan Consulate, Jesus Rodriguez Espinoza and Mariela Alburges, at the UW Memorial Union on Friday, September 23rd. Also in attendance were representatives from the UW Madison Center For Cooperatives, the US Federation Of Worker Cooperatives, Madison area housing cooperatives, the Liberty Tree Foundation, Family Farm Defenders, and others.

The purpose of the meeting was to establish communication between cooperatives in the Madison area and cooperatives in Venezuela. Jesus and Mariela were advocating building a relationship where knowledge, ideas and technology will be openly shared to stimulate economic development for both areas. The attendees agreed that this relationship will be beneficial for both areas and we should work to get co-ops in contact with each other. To facilitate communications, the PosiPair website was chosen as a tool to assist each coop to identify areas where they are have strengths they can contribute (“haves”) and areas where they would like to improve (“wants”). Coops will be able to view this information via the PosiPair website and communicate with each other to strengthen each other and the cooperative movement as a whole. Cooperatives that are interested in participating in the project should begin by creating an organizational profile on the PosiPair website at http://posipair.com. Please contact MadWorC at madworc@gmail.com for more information on how to proceed from there.

This project embodies several of the seven Cooperative Principles – the 5th (Education, Training And Information), 6th (Cooperation Among Cooperatives) and 7th (Concern For Community). More information on the seven Cooperative Principles can be found at: http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html.

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