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International Cooperative Alliance-Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) along with the ICA-EU Partnership and its membership in the Philippines organised the second Asia Pacific Co-operative Youth Summit, in Cebu, The Philippines from August 18-21. The Summit witnessed participation of 147 young cooperators representing 17 countries! The theme of this year’s Summit was Creative Skills, Co-operative Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development.

The main venue for the Summit was the gorgeous Hidden Valley Mountain Resort located in Pinamungajan, Cebu, owned and run by Lamac Multi-purpose Co-operative. This specific venue was chosen to symbolise the victory of the team from Lamac, Ms. Justine Limocon and Mr. Kevin Palson, at the Coop Pitch competition, as part of the first youth summit that took place in Bali, Indonesia in 2016. Coop Pitch (or Co-operative Pitch) is a unique co-operative business ideas contest where young cooperators pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, and the winners are chosen on the basis of a pre-determined evaluation criterion. Lamac’s winning entry was their idea of Youth Engagement in Organic Farm Tourism. However, they didn’t just stop at the idea but when on to create thriving organic farming facilities including cacao production, coir products, rice plantations etc.

At the opening ceremony, the delegates had a wonderful surprise in the form of Ms. Zoe Clavel, an 11-year old from the SPED Integrated School for Exceptional Children (SPED-ISEC), Iloilo, The Philippines. Ms. Clavel is a star saver of the Aflatoun Program; an initiative thriving in the Philippines with support from NATCCO, an ICA-AP member.

ica ap 1Delegates on their way to the Welcome Dinner. Photograph credit: LGU Pinamungajan

This year we continued the tradition of inviting young and inspiring speakers to share their co-operative journeys. We were joined by Ms. Trinh Thi Ly of the Sinh Duoc Herbal Cooperative, Vietnam, who spoke on the herbal products her co-operative manufactures, and how they’re contributing to sustainable production in their community. Ms. Kanupriya Saigal from BeePositive, India trains rural women to become professional beekeepers and they create and sell products including honey, medicines etc. via beekeeping co-operatives. We were also joined by the Chocolate Queen of Cebu, Ms. Raquel Choa, who treated everyone to her motivational journey of setting up a successful chocolate empire and putting the Philippines back on the global map w.r.t cacao production.

This year’s Coop Pitch saw 12 finalists representing eight countries, and were mentored one-on-one by a group of experienced co-operators from the Asia Pacific and global co-operative movements. The finalists then presented their fine-tuned ideas in front of a panel of five judges where they were grilled on five parameters: compliance with co-operative principles, scalability, innovation, presentation skills and relevance to youth. The winner of Coop Pitch was Mr. Ng Jun Long from Singapore representing the Skyla Energy Cooperative for their idea of producing solar energy and selling it directly to individual households. The second prize was shared by Ms. Trinh Thi Ly of the Sinh Duoc Herbal Cooperative, Vietnam, and the Mifly Airline Cooperative from China. Mifly’s idea was to build a ‘Green Drone-enabled Agriculture Network’ using drones for multiple purposes including crop-dusting and spraying seeds.

One of the key highlights of the Summit was the rural immersion programme planned by Lamac for the delegates, where they created vermi-compost, learnt how to transplant rice saplings, fed cattle, used coir to create strings which would be used to make bags, hats etc.

ica ap 2Completing a task during the rural immersion programme.

ica ap 3All smiles at the end of the four-day Summit.

The last day of the Summit concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Placing Youth at the Centre of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ with interesting presentations about leveraging technology to monitor work undertaken by co-operatives for SDGs, sustainable agricultural practices, achieving youth-centric SDG targets through the Aflatoun Program amongst others. The Summit concluded with a promise to take forward the momentum that had been built by both the first and second Summits and to meet again with fresh ideas and collaborations in 2020!

You can catch the main highlights of the Summit by watching the video here.

With the theme “Coming Together: Journey Through Time”, the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) celebrated its 38th Anniversary Dinner on 22 September at One Farrer Hotel & Spa with 350 attendees. Guests were seen dressing up in outfits ranging from retro to futuristic, and immersing themselves in yesteryears of how co-operatives banded themselves to address social and economic needs. Interactive, fun fringe activities and snacks relevant to that era helped evoke warm memories.

Anniversary Dinner collage 2


Kk SpeechSNCF Chairman, Mr Kwek Kok Kwong welcomed the guests and together, reflected on the milestones that we have achieved collectively as a movement for the past one year such as collaboration within the co-op ecosystem, and involvement in the international and regional arenas including the hosting of the annual World Credit Union Conference (WCUC) 2018 in Singapore for the first time. He took the opportunity to thank the credit co-operatives for their support like providing volunteers and hosting the field visits for WCUC 2018 which had helped make the event a success.

He also spoke on SNCF’s continuous effort to raise awareness to strengthen the co-operative movement such as working with credit affiliates to launch an instagrammable pop-up art event at Orchard Road in September. Check out the short video on the pop-up art event here.

It was a fun-filled night where everyone enjoyed the dinner and entertainment.

affiliate table1

At the dinner, Mr Kwek on behalf of SNCF presented the SNCF Scholarships Award 2018 to our three awardees, Ms Tanya Ee, Ms Ho Kar Yern and Ms Tammy Lim.

Anniversary Dinner collage 3

We congratulated Mr Clement Christen Wong from Holy Innocent's High School and Ms Peggy Goh from SNCF for winning the best dressed award.

bestdressed male  bestdressed female 

The long awaited grand lucky draw was the highlight of that night. And the lucky winner goes to a member of GP+ Co-operative, a newly formed co-operative. He walked away with a pair of air tickets to London!


It was a fun-filled night where everyone enjoyed the dinner and entertainment. Do check out the pictures here.

Looking forward for SNCF’s 39th Anniversary Dinner next year!

The co-operative never once failed me. They allowed me to take time to repay my loans, and the agreed amount would then be deducted from my salary. I also know my money is safe with them and has been of help to other members, as well.


Mr Mohamed Shariff bin Mohd Ismail, 65, has been a co-operative member since 1991 as he sees that being a member has helped improve his life.

Touching Lives Aupe02 2“I was 27 years old when I joined the public service in 1980s as a Division 4 officer. Singapore then was experiencing our first post-independence recession and I was not sure whether I could keep my job. So, I joined the AUPE Union because I knew that I could turn to the Union for help. It was easy and convenient to be a member of AUPE Credit Co-operative as the union and co-operative are housed under one roof. The union has all my records and that cut down the paperwork.” Mohamed Shariff said.

He continued: “Over the years, AUPE Credit Co-operative has become the place for all of my financial needs. It was the first one I contacted when I got married, when I renovated my home and when I paid fines for having third and fourth kids. The co-operative never once failed me. They allowed me to take time to repay my loans, and the agreed amount would then be deducted from my salary. I also know my money is safe with them and has been of help to other members, as well.”

Joining the co-operative was one of the best moves Mohamed Shariff had ever made: “Their assistance did not stop just at savings and loan products. Being a co-operative member has its benefits and privileges.”

“Back then, I was only drawing a basic salary of $250 a month, and it was tough raising four kids on my salary alone. AUPE Credit Co-operative offers a helping hand … in the form of study awards. The study grants helped to lessen my burden. Today, my third and fourth kids, who are now in the local university, are still receiving the study awards,” he beamed.

“In 2001, I suffered from a heart attack, and the co-operative paid me a daily hospital allowance. This is to assist members meet part of our hospitalisation expenses. AUPE Credit Co-operative has served me well and reliably,” he affirmed.

touching lives aupe01 2

Mohamed Shariff summed up his relationship with AUPE Credit Co-operative. He said: “I love going to the co-operative because I feel at home when I go there. They know me by name, and I have had the best experiences with them. The staff are very friendly, understanding and easy to talk to when you need help. I am glad to be a long-standing member.”

Credit co-operatives are not-for-profit organisations with a social mission i.e. to provide members with access to affordable financial solutions and better their lives.

The AUPE Credit Co-operative Ltd operates on the Co-operative concept of mutual help and assistance where members pool their limited individual savings to help each other. Co-operative members enjoy the following:

  • Credit facility and loan services.
  • Good returns on shares, subscriptions, savings and term deposits.
  • Hospitalisation Benefit of $20 per day when warded in a Singapore hospital capped at $5,000 per year or $10,000 per person.
  • Study Grants ranging from $100 to $350 for members' children from Primary to University level.

This year marks the fifth year since 2014 that the Asian Credit Union Forum (ACCU) takes on the leadership to integrate the credit union networks in Asia. In conjunction with the 200th year anniversary of F.W. Raiffeisen, the founder of credit unions, ACCU 2018 opened their three-day forum themed “Rekindling Raiffeisen’s Ideologies in the Heart of Every Credit Union” on 13 September at Manila, The Philippines.

 accu opening  accu sg reps
ACCU 2018 Opening Ceremony Representatives from Singapore at ACCU 2018

Through this forum, ACCU aims to provide credit unions’ leaders and employees an opportunity to meet experts and learn about the latest developments in the credit union movement. Ms Dolly Goh, CEO of SNCF together with Mr Terence Pan, Relationship Manager of SNCF, were invited as panellists. Ms Goh presented on the topic of “Purpose Driven Leadership - Discovering Why You are in a Credit Union”. She expounded that co-operatives and credit unions address social needs and empower people through the principle of self-help and mutual help. Mr Pan, presented on the topic of “Understanding Millennials and How to Woo them to Credit Unions”. He spoke how having a clear and transparent progress or achievement recognition, embracing technology in work, collaborative culture, development of opportunities and good remuneration would foster greater interactive experiences between millennials and credit unions.

 accu st martin accu st martin group photo 
Field visit to St. Martin of Tours Credit and Development Cooperative Field visit to San Jose Del Monte Savings and Credit Cooperative

The organisers also organised field visits to credit unions to provide learning and networking opportunities. Delegates are divided into 10 groups with each visiting a different co-operative. The 10 co-operatives hosting the visit for each group are Manatal MPC; Bagong Barrio MPC; San Jose Del Monte Savings & Credit Cooperative; St. Martin of Tours Credit & Development Cooperative; Most Holy Rosary Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Holy Cross Savings & Credit Cooperative; San Juan dela Cruz Parish Savings & Credit Cooperative; Our Lady of Fatima Credit CooperativeGMA Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Pasig Parish Credit Cooperative.

Some representatives from Singapore, together with delegates from Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Philippines also had the chance to visit St. Martin of Tours Credit and Development Cooperative on 13 September. Through this learning journey, they get to understand more about St. Martin Co-operative and learn from them their best practices.

You can view a short video of the visit here.

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What is peer-to-peer lending? How can robotic process automation help to improve productivity? What are the advantages of using robo advisors compared to traditional channels?

These three topics were covered in the networking session themed “Co-operatives and Fintech” on 6 September 2018. As technology is playing an increasing role in the financial world, SNCF together with Singapore Fintech Association, organised this networking session to encourage affiliates to capitalise on fintech and technology to increase productivity and better serve members.

Fintech1More than 30 attendees including 27 from affiliated co-operatives attended the seminar. The CEO of Culum Capital, Ms Ginnie Chin spoke on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. With P2P lending, borrowers are matched directly with investors through an online lending platform. Mr Jae Hong Park from UiPath touched on the topic of robotic process automation (RPA). In taking on predictable and repeatable tasks, software “robots” have the potential to vastly reduce costs, improve process quality and consistency, and enable greater scalability. Representing Moneythor is Vivek who spoke on artificial intelligence for digital banking including the use of robo advisors.

The event was a success: attendees had the chance to discuss with industry experts and learn more about the benefits and implications of fintech.

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Singapore National Co-operative Federation
510 Thomson Road #12-02
SLF Building, Singapore 298135
Email: [email protected]
Tel (65) 6602 0747, Fax (65) 6259 9577

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