Cat Johnson: We recently came across an inspiring video report by Agence France-Presse about a honey cooperative run by women in Afghanistan. It offers a glimpse into the life of an Afghan mother of seven who runs a beekeeping enterprise. She is just one of an estimated 200 women in the Bamiyan province working in honey production jobs.
Cooperatives in Afghanistan were banned for a number of years and were allowed again only 15 years ago, according to the International Co-operative Alliance based in Brussels, Belgium.
“Since then more than 3,000 co-operatives were re-registered,” the ICA noted. “However, many one these are not familiar with co-operative values and principles and also need support for capacity building.”
The cooperative beekeeping industry is an example of how co-ops can transform the lives of people with limited access to resources — those who have historically been unable to create entrepreneurial ventures. As new worker co-ops continue to redefine the cooperative movement, through platform co-ops, cabby-owned taxi cooperatives, artist co-ops, freelancer collectives and more, co-ops are increasingly being used as a tool to empower underserved communities and create an equitable and sustainable economy that works for all.