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Cooperative Principles

1st Principle: Voluntary and open membership Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

2nd Principle: Democratic member control Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, one member-one vote, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and woman serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.

3rd Principle: Member economic participation Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4th Principle: Autonomy and independence Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

5th Principle: Education, training, and information Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

6th Principle: Cooperation among cooperatives Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.

7th Principle: Concern for community While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.


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