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Rita Panicker, Founder & Director, Butterfiles Named OCDC’S International Cooperative Innovation Award Winner

Rita Panicker, this year’s awardee founded the organization, Butterflies in 1989 in India to advance this mission. In 2001 Butterflies launched the children’s development Kazana a life-skills education program that educates children on democratic values and financial management.

The Children’s Development Khazana is a cooperative managed and owned by children with total membership of over 40,000 between the ages of 8 and 18 and is now operational in over 7 countries. Rita Panicker, the 2020 International Cooperative Innovation Award Winner is being honored for her courage and creativity to develop innovative, participatory models for some of the world’s most vulnerable children. In addition OCDC will make a $1,000.00 contribution to Butterflies in Rita’s honor.

This award is a high honor that is bestowed to recognize outstanding contributions to international cooperative development. The International Cooperative Innovation Award is given annually by OCDC, representing its member organizations, to an individual or individuals who champion, advocate, and promote effective, sustainable international cooperative development in a remarkable way. It is the first of its kind to focus criteria on international cooperative development.

This award seeks to identify, recognize and celebrate international cooperative development innovators who contribute to advance cooperatives as grass roots, sustainable business models in developing countries. This year’s awardee has been working over thirty years to support and advance the rights of vulnerable children through a participatory, rights-based approach.

Criteria for such an award requires showcasing the best of the best in international cooperative development, seeking recipients who have had far-reaching impact through, among other ways, their:

  • statesmanship, demonstrated through extraordinary personal commitment, leadership and vision.
  • achievements in improving and promoting international cooperative development.
  • impact in inspiring and advancing cooperative systems in developing countries and emerging economies.

Butterflies is a registered voluntary organization working with the most vulnerable groups of children, especially street and street connected children since 1989. With a rights based, non-institutional approach the organization endeavors to educate and impart life skills to vulnerable children so that they become self reliant and exit the generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Over the years Butterflies has initiated a number of innovative interventions in the field and partnered with various government and non-government agencies to garner support for children. Butterflies also has a research, advocacy and training wing that works to support mobilization of civil society and influences policies at all levels. It is an active participant in national and international networks for advocating and promoting policies, programs and actions to protect rights of children.


2020 Cooperative Innovation Award Ceremony

View The Entire Award Ceremony. Captured during this year’s 2020 Cooperative Impact Conference.

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