Rural cooperatives dissertation

Last week, when I met Americo Telo, community development expert, he told me about the dissertation he had written as a student at Lisbon University in 1985. It sounded really interesting – about cooperatives and his ideas for regenerating Monchique. ‘Cooperacao agricola e desenvolvimento rural comunitario’. He drove home at lunchtime and by 3pm I was sitting in a back room of the bank where he works, with 2 massive files in front of me.

It was all in Portuguese so a great test of my fledgling language skills. This is the interesting stuff I gleaned:

About rural cooperatives:


  • United together, people can mobilise more resources
  • They share a common necessity
  • Members have a shared vision to progress towards something
  • Social and economic advantages
  • Give members a strong sense of identity

Pioneers are Robert Owen, William King, Charles Fourier


  • Free to join, voluntary
  • democratic
  • stimulates education
  • needs a general assembly, a president and secretary

Even back in 1985, tourism was considered to have ‘ massive potential but little equipped to maximise these’


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