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Saturday, September 10, 2011

56: Revisiting Foundational Paradigms

The First Community Cooperative (FICCO) first embarked on a journey towards sustainable development and social security on July 8, 1954. Fifty-six years later, FICCO remains and still leads the way in realizing these visions.

No one could have ever imagined what FICCO would be 56 years after it was first conceived. Being in service for 56 years is no joke. We are talking about a cooperative that withstood the fragile economy of the 1960s. A cooperative that crawled throught the martial law. A cooperative that survived the 1990s financial crisis. And a cooperative that endured the global recession. There must be something that FICCO did to sustain itself amid all the trials that it experienced through the years. As we try to probe what made FICCO after 56 years, let us take a step back and relive the history of FICCO, from the its early predecessors, to its launching fathers up to today.

Digging up the history books, the meek minds of employees jumpstarted FICCO. They were naive and simple people who wanted to feel financially secure. They put a small group and agreed amongst themselves to help each other out. Fr. William Masterson, SJ saw something in their eyes and later organized them into a more orderly and productive group. From a small network of employees, FICCO (FICCO was known as ACCU back then) grew larger and needed to reach out to more people. By then, FICCO was a staple in cooperative works as other cooperative followed its lead.

Everyone who was affiliated with FICCO had this drive to continually be better, whether he/she maybe a member or an officer or an employee. This drive was soon to be regarded as a norm or a standard. Now, we finally see what made FICCO last for 56 years. It’s the culture of being COMMITTED. Even though our early forerunners did not realize that, they were committed to making their colleagues lives better through unity.

From then on, everthing came into place. The formulation of written codes that constantly reminds us of our duties and responsibitites are just for formalities. Practicing total membership care and good governance as well as having the defining values are imbedded to the hearts of minds of FICCO members.

Almost all the members believe that the key for having the continuity FICCO has achieved has been the conscious effort to adhere to the foundational paradigms that jumpstarted the cooperative. But quite frankly, the key for FICCO’s existence are the members who abides by the FICCO culture.

This culture maybe 56 years old but they were same standards that helped FICCO survive through various trials and challenges. However, it is important for these paradigms to not only be stagnant but also to continue to nurture this culture. And through this, FICCO will be the benchmark of a progressive and dynamic cooperative for years to come. (rcuenca july '10)

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