Could you tell us more about your co-operative journey? When did it start?
Yogeshwar Krishna: The Nasinu Land Purchase Cooperative was formed way back in 1961 to safeguard the plights and the interest of those poor people who were on the verge of being evicted by the new landlord – Messrs K. N. Bhindi Brothers. The people then acted smartly and formed a co-operative. The membership grew and it became a very dynamic co-operative with a total membership of 447 people. The membership has deceased in recent years. Some members have died while others emigrated abroad.
When the land was bought way back in 1961, Nasinu Land Purchase & Housing Cooperative Limited became the proud owners of 326 acres and two rods of freehold property. Presently, there is still 50% of land to be sub-divided.
I became the member of this co-operative society five years ago. Through my professional experience and skills, later on I became the vice chair of this society and, as of October 2014, I am the chair of Nasinu Land Purchase & Housing Cooperative Limited.
Are there any key projects that you have developed at Nasinu co-op and which could serve as a valuable experience for the Alliance?
Yogeshwar Krishna: As a co-operative we have given around 10 acres of freehold land to the current government for squatter resettlement. The squatters who were staying illegally on the land that belongs to Nasinu Land Purchase were evicted from there and resettled to the land given to the government. Therefore, no squatter was left without a lot after being evicted.
What are the main challenges for co-ops in Fiji?
Yogeshwar Krishna : Leadership skills - meeting the needs of one individual or a group by performing needed functions, listening, getting time to understand and being prepared for the unexpected because that is what is expected.
Financial Management - ensuring efficient allocation of financial resources, maintaining control over their resources to ensure objectives are met and raising of finance. Co-operatives are financing many projects such as development of land together with construction of roads and transport facilities and providing it to the members at a minimal cost.
Why did you decide to stand for the Alliance president position?
Yogeshwar Krishna: To take up challenges and know more about different co-operatives all over the world. How other co-operatives perform their tasks, learning more from other co-operatives and trying to enhance my own society more.
What is your vision for the Alliance? As president, what would your key priorities be? What key projects would you like to develop?
Vision - to increase the economic opportunities and benefits for people across the world.
Priorities - to promote partnerships with other co-operative movements and implement co-operative programmes for the benefit of the members.
Key Projects - this will depend on the current status of the organisation. Based on this, I will develop strategies and a plan for future development.
How could co-ops contribute to the conversation on the Sustainable Development Goals? Could you give some concrete examples?
- Compulsory completion of secondary education for girls in all nations, consulting them and taking their needs into account, recognising their leadership potentials.
- Climate Action- taking actions to combat climate change and its impact by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy.