ICON is called an innovative cooperative because it addresses issue of nutrition in Africa by involving 16 local social entrepreneurs from 9 different countries. ICON regroups eleven French speaker, five are English speaker, between 30 to over 70 years.
Althougt nutrition concerns all these countries, there are obviously as many social, economic and cultural situations as members. It is this diversity that makes this cooperative a particularly ambitious and complex project but that is likely to respond innovatively to the African nutritional challenge.
ICON members themselves have a personality shaped by their environment and culture, and it is clear that one of ICON’s central challenges is multilateralism and building a shared vision.
Professional sectors of ICON members are numerous and address different links in food value chain and various issues related to nutrition. Some members focus on agricultural production in various sectors: livestock farming, market gardening, cash crops, fish farming, etc. Often these activities are combined with production of tools or agricultural equipment (fertilizers, medicines, storage shops, etc.). Others specialize in post-harvest activities such as processing or distribution. Many members also offer services through local, national or sub-regional counseling or training services. In particular, some organizations have as their main activity the support of local producers through education, training and the promotion of sustainable agricultural techniques.
All participate in their own way in nutrition education and local socio-economic development.