ICA Policy on Human Resource Development (1990)



                                                 June 1990

The International Co-operative Alliance has promoted and
organized co-operative education and training programmes for a
long time in accordance with its principle on co-operative
education and its development policy.

Socio-economic changes affecting co-operatives demand that the
ICA redefine its concept of Human Resource Development in order
to better respond to the needs and aspirations of co-operators.
The ICA Executive Committee has formulated this Policy on HRD in
Co-operatives to prepare the co-operatives for the challenges of
the 21st Century.

Concept of HRD in Co-operatives

Demands on co-operatives as a result of changes in the socio-
economic environment require that, in the future, co-operatives
assume wider responsibilities and respond more effectively to
members' needs. Interaction with the members must be intensified
in terms of information and communication. Understanding on the
part of the members of the principles and practices of co-
operation and their active participation in co-operative work
require a deeper commitment. Hence, the need for intensified
education and mobilization programmes for members and
particularly for women and youth which, to a great extent have
been overlooked but are essential to the overall success and
development of co-operative movements. Furthermore, the
increasing needs of products and services by members, and the
competition faced by co-operatives require that staff are able
to perform far better by adopting modern technology and new
management systems and techniques. Also, the work environment of
the employees needs to be substantially improved so as to respond
to their personal aspirations in terms of remuneration,
motivation and future prospects. In the context of the above, the
concept of HRD in co-operatives is defined as follows:

   "  The concept of HRD in co-operatives means all the
      planned information, education, training, mobilization
      and manpower development activities undertaken by co-
      operatives so as to create economically efficient
      organizations capable of providing services required
      by their members. "

Development Objective

The overall aim of the ICA Policy for Human Resource Development
is to contribute to the effective implementation of the ICA
Policy for Co-operative Development, viz. "the establishment and
growth of independent, democratic and viable co-operative
organizations, in which men and women participate on equal terms.
These organizations must be capable of serving their members
efficiently and contributing to economic growth and social equity
in their respective communities and/or countries".

Target Groups

HRD in co-operatives should enable members, committee members and
personnel of co-operatives to realize their potential and enrich
their lives materially, socially and culturally.

1.    Members

The raison d'etre for the co-operative movement are the members.
Its strength lies in the quality of its membership and its
ability to mobilize men and women. Therefore, it is essential

-     members have an awareness and understanding of the co-
      operative principles, practices and values;

-     women and young people are included in co-operative
      activities at all levels and sufficient resources are made
      available for appropriate programmes.

2.    Committee Members

Democratic control is an essential pre-requisite for the
development of economically efficient co-operative organizations.
This can only be achieved through enlightened and capable
leadership. It is therefore essential that:

-     committee members have an awareness and understanding of
      the co-operative principles, practices and values and,

-     they are trained for their leadership roles.

In small co-operative societies, management functions are carried
out by the members of elected committees. Hence it is essential
that committee members of such societies are also trained in
carrying out management tasks relevant to their needs.

3.    Personnel

Employees of co-operative organizations have a vital role to play
in the establishment and management of economically efficient co-
operative organizations. It is therefore essential that:

-     modern personnel policies be applied:

-     they have an awareness and understanding of the co-
      operative principles, practices and values, and

-     they be professionally qualified and given needed training;

4.    Potential Members

Co-operative knowledge should be disseminated among potential
members and the public at large.

5.    Policy-Makers

Policy-Makers in government ministries/departments and
development agencies shall be made aware of co-operative HRD and
other co-operative development policies.

HRD Activities

In order to achieve the objectives stated above, the ICA shall
provide technical assistance to member organizations and co-
operative training institutions in the formulation of HRD
Policies and Plans. The following shall be supported:

(a)   Member education including methodologies for increasing
      member participation;
(b)   Increasing women's and youth participation;
(c)   Development of leadership skills;
(d)   Human resource management;
(e)   Professional management;
(f)   Modern personnel policies - Job enrichment, compensation
      policies, career development;
(g)   Staff training;
(h)   Training of trainers and training directors/managers;
(i)   Introduction of modern/appropriate technology and
      information systems;
(j)   Research.

Role of the ICA

The ICA shall:

(a)   be a catalyst and co-ordinator of human resource
      development programmes for co-operatives;

(b)   organize HRD activities through projects at the Head Office
      and regional offices and identify donor support;

(c)   promote the work of HRD committees in the ICA regions which
      would guide not only the work of ICA's HRD projects but
      also be think tanks on HRD issues in co-operatives;

(d)   promote discussion and action on HRD issues in ICA's
      specialized organizations;

(e)   assist member organizations and co-operative training
      institutions to establish standards for HRD performance and
      systems for assessment and evaluation, and

(f)   maintain close collaboration with UN agencies such as the
      ILO, FAO and UNESCO and with other development agencies
      concerned with HRD in co-operatives.


The priorities for HRD programmes would differ from region to
region. Hence it is suggested that various regional offices
should formulate priorities for their HRD programmes in
consultation with regional HRD committees and councils.


The Executive Committee calls upon the member organizations both
in developing and developed countries to implement the HRD Policy
with vigour and requests the development partners to support the
efforts of the ICA and its regional offices in this direction.
A concerted effort of this nature is enjoined on all engaged in
co-operative development programmes for preparing the co-
operatives to enter the 21st century with renewed confidence and
                     (adopted at the ICA Executive Committee
                      Meeting 18-20 June, 1990 - Strasbourg)