By Drazen Simlesa (Good Economy Platform – ZMAG)
Very often local activists are reluctant to join international networks: they don’t see direct benefits for themselves, it is time consuming and they give up very soon because the network didn’t solve some of their daily issues or meet some expectation. But a network is not here because of that. It is here to allow people to meet, to inspire each other, to connect, to not feel alone, to be empowered and gain new strength, to make us more visible and accepted…
So yes, we network together also to help and mutually support each other, to create a better world, to push us beyond our territories, to explore our horizon. I can’t describe better what RIPESS means to me. Here in Croatia we are still flowing through theRIPESS stream that we got during the Good Economy Conference and our network General Assembly that took place in Zagreb last June. We are still riding that wave.
One short drop: during those days we had a meeting with representatives of Croatian cities and one of the RIPESS members, RTES – the French network of local authorities for Solidarity Economy. The main subject of the meeting was how to integrate solidarity economy within Croatian cities in partnership with administrations and other important actors in the local community.
Today, not even three months later with some of them we are applying for two open calls for project proposals, meeting and communicating on a daily basis, preparing the ground for real implementation of solidarity economy in our local environments, we are visible and accepted partner to them. It is a part of our overall work and openness, but without RIPESS and its members’ support, it would be much harder for us to be on that inspiring and new wave.