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Structure and Functionality of Cooperatives

The structures and mechanisms a cooperative uses to function are important for

the long-term survival of the cooperative. Cooperatives that are legally recognized by the

Honduran Institute of Cooperatives (IHC) have the same basic structure. All

cooperatives have a Board of Directors (Junta Directiva) consisting of a President, Vice-

President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Some cooperatives have one or more vocales

(representatives) on their board of directors as well. The Board of Directors are the

leaders of the cooperative, and they handle the day-to-day operations of the cooperative

in most cases. The other governing body of cooperatives is the Board of Trustees (Junta

de Vigilancia) which monitors the way the cooperative and the Board of Directors

operate. The Board of Trustees normally consists of a President, a Secretary, and two or

three vocales. Both the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees are elected by the

cooperative members. The IHC stipulates that cooperatives must have at least one

general assembly each year where they hold elections and conduct other important

business.

All cooperatives in the study follow this general pattern with little variation.

Cooperativa Guadalupe, Villa Santa, and Chaguite Grande all hold general assemblies

once per year. In past years, additional assemblies have been called due to special

circumstances such as the resignation of a Board member or a problem which requires the

input of the assembly. Protección and Quebrada Honda both hold monthly assemblies.

They feel that the members are more informed and can participate more with the frequent

assemblies. Informants from both Guadalupe and Villa Santa said that their members

were too spread out to expect them to meet every month.

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