Lab CoJY Background Cooperatives have been flourishing in the Philippines as early as the time of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. Way back, cooperatives has been associated with the farmers who are the intended and original beneficiaries of the cooperative movement. But as time goes by, it is defined by the law as a vehicle for promoting self reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic development and social justice (Art. 2, R. A. 9520, Philippine Cooperative Code of the Philippines). Cooperatives is an institution that could be an instrument for socio-economic upliftment and sustainable development.
With all the corporations owned by financially capable persons, cooperatives give people with limited resources to come together and pool out their resources and put up a business that they can call their own- member-owned. Although the cooperative is designed for legal adults, even the young ones nowadays are caught by the principle of cooperativism. Laboratory cooperatives are established as an affiliate of an adult cooperative to cater the needs of the minors and serve as a training ground for young entrepreneurs.
Laboratory cooperative is a cooperative that is organized by minors and must be affiliated with a registered cooperative. It is a venue for students to develop the habit of thrift and savings, leadership competencies and business management. According to Sr. Leontina Castillo, OSA, founder of the cooperative program in ASOLC schools, in her guidebook Supervising Laboratory Cooperative Junior Youth, “Lab CoJY is one of the potent avenues in schools where the students learn and live values while at the same time hone their leadership and business skill.
Operating and managing the Lab COJY is a challenging and enriching task that require the living out of values like thrift, wise use of money, orderliness, prudence, sacrifice, love for coop and honesty. A deep sense of responsibility, as fidelity to duties and responsibilities, is developed. ”(2) Investing on people while they are still young is worthy in the long-run. According in an article by Gumban, NATCCO’s Aflatoun (Youth) Program Coordinator “investment requires the element of wait.
Waiting could take weeks, months, even year. Truly, investing in the young people takes a lot of wait. Take for example the simple savings program. The money saved is actually secondary, but the values of thrift and responsibility slowly honed through constant practice are something of great value. The fruits of this cannot be seen overnight, and maybe not even in the adult cooperators’ lifetime, but certainly would manifest as they go through their chosen careers”(Services for Children and Teenagers, Why invest on Young Members? ).
In the same article she made mention that exposing the young members to conferences, trainings and mentors, as well as the co-op environment would give them the chance to learn, to speak their minds, and share their dreams with their fellow youth cooperators in a wholesome and fun way. In some schools, DepEd puts up a co-curricular program that promotes entrepreneurship and cooperativism which aims to establish a shift from the employment creation culture by nurturing the entrepreneurial and cooperative environment, skills and competencies of the students.