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The history of the cooperative movement in Brazil

The cooperative movement» Home» History in Brazil
Free from the influence of the State

The culture of cooperatives has been present in Brazil since Portuguese colonial times. Later, at the end of the 19th century, the process developed into the Brazilian Cooperative Movement, which included civil servants, the military, liberal professionals, and workers.

The movement began in an urban setting, and the first Brazilian consumers' cooperative, the Sociedade Cooperativa Econômica dos Funcionários Públicos de Ouro Preto (the Ouro Preto Civil Servants' Economic Cooperative Society), was set up in 1889, in Ouro Preto, in the state of Minas Gerais. It later expanded into the states of Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, as well as throughout the state of Minas Gerais.

In 1902, the first credit cooperatives appeared in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, by initiative of the Swiss priest Theodor Amstadt. Since 1906, rural cooperatives have been set up and developed by farmers and livestock producers, many of whom are of German or Italian descent. Immigrants brought their cultural background, and experience in associative labor and family community activities from their countries of origin, which motivated them to organize cooperatives.

With the spread of the cooperative doctrine, cooperatives began expanding in an autonomous manner, supplying the needs of their members, and free from speculators.

In spite of the expansion of the cooperative movement, little information was available on the subject, due to the lack of appropriate learning material, the great geographical distances and slave labor, which hampered the expansion of the cooperative system.

On December 2, 1969 the Brazilian Cooperative Organization was created, and in the following year, the entity was duly notarized. The sole representative and defender of national cooperative interests was thus formally born, a politically and religiously neutral non-profit civil society.

Law 5.5764/71 regulated the setting up of cooperatives, but restricted the autonomy of its members, and interfered in the creation, operation and oversight of cooperatives. These restrictions were revoked by the 1988 Constitution, which prohibited the interference of the State in associations, initiating the self-management of the cooperative enterprise.

In 1995, the Brazilian cooperative movement received international recognition. Mr Roberto Rodrigues, former president of the Brazilian Cooperative Organization, was elected the first non-European president of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), which contributed significantly to the development of Brazilian cooperatives.

In 1998, the National Cooperative Learning Service (Sescoop) was created. It is the most recent institution of the Brazilian "S" System, and works together with the OCB towards cooperative education. It is responsible for the education, professional training, and social organization and promotion of workers, members and employees of Brazilian cooperatives.

As the Brazilian cooperative movement enters the 21st century, it faces the challenge of communication. As an active, structured and fundamental actor of the nation's economy, we aim to be better known and understood as a strong and integrated system.



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O Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem do Cooperativismo (Sesccop) realiza licitações periodicamente.

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Área destinada aos conteúdos produzidos pela OCB e Sescoop como manuais, livros, cartilhas, informativos técnicos e materiais institucionais.

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Serviços criados para cadastrar, armazenar e padronizar as informações da OCB e do Sescoop.

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Banco de Talentos

Acompanhe aqui os processos seletivos realizados e em andamento para preenchimento de vagas na OCB e no Sescoop.

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