The general principles of a cooperative society subject to section 4(b) of the Co-operative Societies Act are:
1.Voluntary and open membership
Co-operatives are open to all persons regardless of gender, religion, race, political affiliation or social class. However, the members need to abide by the by-laws of the society.
2.Democratic member control
Cooperatives operate democratically controlled by their members. Whether the members are the customers, employees or residents they have an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits.
Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and the elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
3.Economic participation by members
Members are both owners and customers. They equally contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
4.Autonomy and independence
Cooperatives are owned and controlled by the members, making each member the boss. are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. They maintain their autonomy by stating favourable terms when entering agreement with other organizations, including governments.
5.Education, training and information
Co-operatives are committed to providing training and education to their members and the community so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They ensure that members, elected representatives, managers, employees and the general public are informed about the nature and benefits of co-operative societies.
6. Co-operation among co-operatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
7.Concern for the community in general
Co-operative societies are passionate about making a positive impact in the community. Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through volunteering for local charities, participating in causes that make a difference and adopting policies accepted by their members.
You may also want to read: The Formation and Registration of Co-operative Societies in Kenya