The second platform for SEWA will focus on organizing the cooperatives of the SEWA Federation spread out across the state of Gujarat, and additional cooperatives all across India. Distributed democratic governance is a significant challenge for many cooperatives, and given the number and diversity of co-ops within SEWA, and their geographic distribution across the entire state, SEWA needs a new online tool to help them organize, educate, and make decisions.
While new tools like Enspiral’s Loomio saw amazing uptake, distributed democratic governance remains a big challenge for co-ops worldwide. But if trained to use technology and given smartphones, the women led by village elders could co-govern the co-op from afar.
In the U.S., many long-standing, very large and wealthy cooperatives have lost the focus on support for those who need it most.
The key to SEWA’s success has been their holistic, federated approach. SEWA places poor women workers in the informal economy at the center of an ecosystem of co-ops that seeks to address their various social needs, not just economic necessities.