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A delegation from Croatia in Geneva to disseminate SSE in Europe!

An article from Après-GE, Chambre de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire Genevoise.

Within the framework of the European project of cooperation between Switzerland and Croatia, in which APRES-GE participates, a delegation of about fifteen representatives from two Croatian cities, Ludbreg and Pregrada, came to discover and be inspired by the Geneva network of the Social and Solidarity Economy, on 28-30 October 2019.

As part of this project, a Croatian delegation of 14 people visited Geneva from 28 to 30 October last. It was composed of the mayors of the two cities, public officials and representatives of civil society.

The aim of this collaboration between Switzerland and Croatia is to present Geneva SSE companies, civil servants and elected representatives, so that our Croatian partners can be inspired by the “good practices” implemented in our canton. This objective has been achieved. Our partners have expressed their great satisfaction with the program that has been prepared for them and have left motivated to implement innovative solutions. In a second step, we will provide training in Croatia to build concrete projects with them. In a third and final step, we will participate in an international conference on the new economy in Zagreb. We are planning a small Geneva delegation for this occasion. Finally, the SSE Chamber could aim to support the creation of an SSE network in Croatia by transferring our expertise in this field and strengthening our long-term links, in the form of partnerships between Swiss and Croatian SSE companies and even between municipalities.

We would like to thank Jean Rossiaud and Lina Yanez from the LES IDEES Design Office – member of APRES-GE – for successfully following up this project for the SSE Chamber.
Part of the mandate is paid in Leman, our local currency.

A RIPESS pilot SE Learning Tour & Cross-training in the US

An article by Ripess International, November 8, 2019

This week, from November 8th to 11th, the RIPESS Education working group will pilot the Solidarity Economy Learning Tour & Cross-training hosted by Cooperation Jackson (US) with the participation of both local and international trainers from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean; Canada; Europe and Eastern Asia.

The aim is to allow an exchange of knowledge of Solidarity Economy (SE) trainers and work on the development of an SE curriculum. Both the format of the learning tour, based on visiting local SE practices, and the curriculum that is being developed will be available to other SE networks/initiatives to be used and adapted to their local contexts. The understanding of SE is about a way to change the current economic and social capitalist paradigm towards a more just and sustainable world.

During these four days, the participants will combine classroom learning to provide a grounding in the theory, practice and organizing strategies to build the solidarity economy with site visits to see and engage with real world solidarity economy practices.

Amongst the objectives, this project wants to pilot and co-develop a SE Curriculum, including materials, methodologies, and guidelines, and facilitated by SE educators from around the world, as well as Cooperation Jackson folks. And also, to connect and get to know each other and engage in a process of personal transformation: “to know ourselves in relationship to others – an understanding of ‘us’ and mutuality”.

By being a training of trainers, this gathering of trainers also aims to generate a dialogue, sharing and networking between trainers who are connected to the grassroots SE movements from all over the world. Taking a popular education approach, the participants will begin with the knowledge of the participants and understand that everyone is a teacher and learner.

This approach, which well aligned with SE in terms of its principles, foundations, and methods, is a process of analysis-looking for patterns, accessing new knowledge as needed, developing a strategy of action, implementing that action, then returning to a reflection of the experience, analysis, gathering new knowledge to transform the local and global economy to construct a new society based on justice, equality and love, and so forth. The goal of popular education is to engage in a continual process of reflection and action in order to achieve the transformation of reality through an economic, social and political liberation.

Cooperation Jackson, Mississippi (US)

The gathering of trainers is hosted by Cooperation Jackson a project that is igniting a lot of excitement in the U.S. as well as internationally as it is part of a broader vision to transform the local and regional economy and society through a political/electoral strategy, grassroots organizing through people’s assemblies, and building the SE through a cooperative network consisting of four interdependent institutions: a federation of local worker cooperatives, a cooperative incubator, a cooperative education and training center, and a cooperative bank or financial institution.

For these reasons, RIPESS’ education working group has decided to collaborate with Cooperation Jackson to organize this gathering of trainers and to start developing a Solidarity Economy Curriculum that can be used in the future by people from all around the world.

SE Education material available on Socioeco

The RIPESS Education working group has compiled a list of SE training material to be available to any person interested or working on SE and education. All the material can be found in Socioeco, the RIPESS’ resource center and we invite all trainers and SE networks to send new materials socioeco.org to be included in the section on SE training tool material or in the special map on pedagogical tools.

RIPESS will publish some updates during the gathering of trainers on our social media accounts Twitter and Facebook. So, stay tuned to follow the development of the SE Curriculum and all participants’ learnings during these four intense days.

Solidarity Economy shows its heart again

Article by Reas, Red de REDES, November 14, 2019

For the fifth consecutive year, Economía Solidaria once again shows its heart by publishing the annual report of the Social Audit Campaign, a tool for accountability and measurement of social, environmental and good governance impact, which is promoted by Social and Solidarity Economy entities (mainly, but not only, integrated to REAS RdR). The organizations that carry it out can use the results to improve internally while at the same time obtaining aggregated data from the ethical standards of the Solidarity Economy and the Social Market (Mercado Social).

In this self-evaluation process, the six principles of the SSE are evaluated systematically, objectively and periodically: profit policy, democracy and equity, environmental sustainability, cooperation, commitment to the environment and quality of work. This tool is also allowing a process of confluence of Solidarity Economy companies at the Spanish state level, by which since 2014 the indicators of the Social Balance and Audit systems developed from their different territories and led by its Social Audit Working Group of REAS RdR have been harmonized. It is from this process that in 2018 the technological platform that XES (Xarxa de Economía Solidaria de Catalunya) had developed within the framework of its “Enseña el Corazón” project was put to common use at the Spanish state level. Since 2008, the Xarxa has been offering entities associated or linked to this network a self-evaluation of their performance based on variables grouped into different blocks: economic performance, professional quality, democracy, equality, quality of work, the environment and social commitment.

The data that we present correspond to a total of 530 entities associated and linked to the different territorial and sectorial networks of REAS RdR that have carried out the campaign this year (19% more than last year), which includes: 191 thousand associated people -not workers-, close to 22 thousand volunteers who collaborate in the development of their social and collective projects, more than 4 thousand three hundred who participate in representation of the organizations, and more than 400 employers of entities. If we unite all those people linked to the entities -not workers- to the employees -members or not, a total figure of 235 thousand people related to the 530 entities that responded to the questions of the Social Audit of 2019 is reached.

The following results can be highlighted from the aggregate report of this self-evaluation process:

  • Equity: the wage difference is 1.5/1 between the highest and lowest wages of all workers; 60% of women in positions of responsibility and 88% of entities promote inclusive language.
  • Work: 75% improve legal work-life balance permits, 64% create spaces for emotional attention and care for workers, and 47% have internal regulations for the management of labour relations.
  • Environmental sustainability: 94% apply responsible consumption criteria in the purchase of products, 37% are entities with environmental management and 46% use 100% renewable energy.
  • Cooperation and commitment with the environment: 64% operate with ethical finances, 7% of their purchases are made within the framework of the Social Market and 7% in non-profit entities.
  • Non-profit: 63% of income comes from invoicing compared to 28% from subsidies. With regard to the distribution of profits, 65% is allocated to reserves, compensation for losses or own investments, 10% to initiatives for the construction of common goods and 4% to investments of financial entities of the SSE.

Based on these and other data derived from the Social Audit 2019 Reas network of networks wants to make visible and value the activity of social and solidarity economy companies in the Spanish state, showing that there are other business models truly responsible and whose objectives are not centered solely on obtaining profit but pursue the transformation and improvement of our society. “EstamosEnlaBrecha

See the full report. (in Spanish) Also on socioeco.org

Keep an eye on general infographics and gender infographics.

Global Peace Marches 2019-2020 from India and Senegal

On October 2, 2019 – the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, a 14,000 km, one-year global march for justice and peace, called Jai Jagat 2020, will start from New Delhi to Geneva. Winding through 10 countries with nonviolence training and events on key justice themes along the way, and joining with separate marches starting from a number of countries in Europe and northwest Africa as well as delegates from around the world, participants will be welcomed and hosted by the City and Canton of Geneva for a week (26 September – 2nd October 2020) of workshops, advocacy meetings and cultural events.

This initiative urges the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a dialogue with UN agencies in Geneva. Four Pillars of Advocacy related to the SDGs are at the core of the Jai Jagat campaign. These are: eradication of poverty, social inclusion, climate justice and the nonviolent resolution of conflicts.

Local committees all along the route will organize daily events, and there will be daily non-violence trainings, making this a year-long practice of non-violence. In some countries new families and new individuals with different stories will be included in the march.

​The arrival of the great march of Jai Jagat bearing the message of Gandhi and the voice of the voiceless is the perfect occasion, through a nonviolent dialogue, to promote various solutions for a world that works for everyone. To welcome the march, a festival/forum of change will be launched; combining, according to Gandhi’s vision, individual transformation with collective change. An innovative contribution to the key role of Geneva in the success of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations.

The Caravan For The Earth To Live

The POUR QUE VIVE LA TERRE caravan offers its public a meeting place for the diffusion and sharing of actions that bring hope.

In agriculture, ecology, politics, economics, social and cultural alternative solutions exist. The caravan creates a space for sharing so that these solutions can grow through the commitment of all. It takes place on average one week in each place to offer conferences, screenings, shows, parties and workshops. We think about it, we learn about it, we train ourselves, we celebrate.

WHY?

In the face of the current economic, social and environmental crises, many individuals are seeking a profound change in the way we live our societies. But many feel that they are helpless. What can I do about it?

Vectors of positive transformations, carriers of hope, the various alternatives underway are already determining the advent of a better world where the human values of solidarity, sobriety and respect for nature will be at the heart of our projects and our businesses.

The caravan is associated with the Delhi-Geneva Jai Jagat 2020 march, organized by Ekta Parishad, which will arrive in Geneva in October 2020.

UFISC and its members look forward to seeing you in Avignon in July 2019

This year again during the Avignon Festival, UFISC is offering several highlights, meetings, workshops and training sessions on July 11, 15 and 17 in the ISTS room, as part of the Maison des professionnels du Spectacle Vivant and the Village des professionnels du OFF, including a special event organized in conjunction with the Collectif pour démarche de progrès par les droits culturels and Opale CRDLA-Culture.

Read more 

Solidarity Oxford mapping the city’s solidarity economy

Solidarity Oxford is a website and digital map which has been produced as part of the Solidarity Economy Association’s Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project.

Oxford has a whole host of organisations, projects and people working to create a just and sustainable city. From swap shops and childcare circles to housing co-ops and community farms, we’ve got a thriving network of initiatives meeting the needs of our communities in ways that put people, and our environment, first.

Around the world, activity like this is known as the solidarity economy. In many cities and countries – from New York City to Barcelona, and from Mali to Brazil – solidarity economy initiatives play a fundamental role in people’s lives.

In New York City, a group of people came together to create a map of their solidarity economy, and this map has helped to make their city’s communities more onnected, their projects and initiatives stronger, and has helped more people to be able to access the products and services they need in ethical and sustainable ways.

We’ve been exploring whether creating a map in Oxford is similarly helpful for our communities.

A big part of SEA’s mission is to make the solidarity economy in the UK stronger, and to encourage more people to find out about it and support in their local area. Our Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project is about celebrating what’s important in our city’s communities, and showing how all the different projects, initiatives and organisations are helping to create a more just and sustainable world.

Together, we are creating an alternative economy based on cooperation and self-determination, which empowers everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or background, and which cares about the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Our longer-term vision is also to show how the solidarity economy that exists in communities, cities and regions in the United Kingdom is part of a much larger movement of people around the world, all working to transform our economic system into a system that works for all.

Download our Pilot Project Report

More info here

10th ILO Academy : from the Future of Work to changing the economy through SSE

By Nora Inwinkl / Solidarius Italia

The 10th International Labour Organisation Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Turin from the 3rd to the 7th June. It was been co-organised by the International Labour Organisation, celebrating its first century of existence this year. Looking at the Future of Work, it was an opportunity given to people interested or already engaged in the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of workers and employers’ organisations to exchange on the need to impact the economy through SSE in a sustainable perspective. More than 100 people from all the world were involved (except for Oceania), carrying their different knowledge, traditions, cultures, frameworks and needs. Thanks to an agreement with the organisers, four members of the RIPESS Europe network from Portugal, Greece and Italy were able to attend, as well as Beatrice Alain (Chantier de l’Economie sociale, Quebec) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS coordinator) who were among the invited speakers.

The core of the Academy reflected our market and labour situation, focusing on the challenges we are facing in several fields: economy, technology, environment, climate change, democracy, participation, and others. Despite the diversity of participants, both in terms of origins and in terms of career orientations, everybody agreed on one specific and essential point: the system we are living in is not sustainable at all and the solutions promoted by various governments and the main stakeholders are not relevant. For this reason, the Academy put forward several important issues comprising different form of enterprises and/or organisations of the SSE (SSEEOs – Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organisations), the legal framework existing or that could be promoted in the different countries both at the local and national level, financial mechanisms and tools, and many others.

The report entitled « Work for a Brighter Future » written by the Global Commission on the Future of Work served as an illustration of the advocated work model. That is is a « human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice».

It is important to move from the local scale and, particularly, from the local expertise and practices, highlighting the specificities of each territory. During these five days, many practitioners presented their initiatives and their experiences, sharing knowledge and different form of innovation and receiving several comments and suggestions. Different experiences developed in different territories but all guided from similar values and principals, those of the SSE paradigm, enhanced in contrast with the neoliberal one.

The importance of the “practices” has been highlighted together with the study fields, organised during the second day in the cities of Turin, Ivrea and Cuneo. It gave the opportunity to the participants to discover the implementation of SSE through virtuous experiences.

There is still a long way to go and probably one of the things that have to be improved is the construction of a common vocabulary and a common framework to implement and develop SSE in a transversal and transectorial way. It is important to work in both direction: the bottom-up, implementing and supporting local initiatives, and the top down, working with the local and national authorities in promoting SSE laws and policies. Thus, as a participant said during the closing plenary, we need to work on “SSE in all policies”.

Local citizen currency as a neighborhood economic contract

by Jean Rossiaud & Antonin Calderon (Léman Currency/ APRES-GE)

In this fourth chapter of the series that we started in October, on the theme of “local currencies”, after an overview of the advantages and challenges of local currencies through the example of the Léman (October 2018), the possibilities for collaboration and synergies between local currencies and local contract agriculture (LCA) (December 2018), and the interest of local currencies as tools for the development of economic agricultural sectors (February 2019), we are now proposing no longer to start from sectors, but from territories (neighborhoods, villages, etc.) to build short-circuits and collectively be part of the transition.

The climate crisis brings us back to common sense by making us aware that it is ecologically, economically and socially absurd to consume, in Geneva or Paris, tomatoes harvested in Holland, canned in Romania and whose cans themselves have been produced in Southeast Asia. The free movement of goods, particularly in the agricultural sector, has led to the economic specialization of entire regions and increased dependence on traders and large distributors. The competition between all the world’s territories produces great economic and social vulnerability everywhere locally; it is neither ecologically sustainable nor economically sustainable. That is why we come back to “short food supply chains”.

It is common to refer to ” short food supply chains ” as distribution channels, most often agricultural, where only one intermediary operates between the producer and the consumer, whether through direct sales (see our article on Local Agriculture,December 2018 , ) or indirect sales.

Today, there is a growing demand for ” short food supply chains “, because as consum’actors we want to protect our health and our environment at the same time. But historically, short circuits were the rule, especially just outside the city walls, as in Geneva on the Plain of Plainpalais or in Paris for market gardening villages to supply halls and urban markets.

However, the idea of ” short food supply chains “, in its contemporary renaissance, refers to the representation of ” Small is Beautiful ” (by the British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher) and of Territorial self-organization, as Hans Widmer (P. M.) imagines it, where ” neighborhood” are both economic and social living areas ” at human level ” and political spaces for governance in the communes.

Read more
Radio programme : celebration of the 100th anniversary of ILO

2019 marks the centenary year of the creation of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The founding text places particular emphasis on social justice as a condition for “universal and lasting peace” and calls on States to establish a “truly humane working regime”.

sIn the face of repeated attacks on labour law and human rights, under the renewed pretext of new technologies, the ILO Constitution and its missions are more relevant than ever.

We have assembled in a programme on viziradio (in Frenchà, a little jumbled, readings, sound pieces, documentaries and music that address these issues. The link between work and war, alienation and domination, but also the issues of emancipation.

A creation by Laura Aufrère and Marie Limoujoux

MECISE: European energy cooperatives join forces!
February 14, 2019
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Enercoop article of 29 January 2019

For nearly 4 years, Enercoop and its partners in the European REScoop MECISE project have been working together to develop and strengthen citizen renewable energy projects in France, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom.

More specifically, the project aims to directly support the development of new citizen renewable energy production projects and to explore new innovative solutions for financing these projects at European level.

The REScoop MECISE (Renewable Energy Sources COOPeratives Mobilizing European Citizens to Invest in Sustainable Energy) project has been funded under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises since early 2015. It will end on 28 February 2019 and the public conclusions of this project were presented on 22 January at a conference at the Musée des Sciences naturelles in Brussels (Belgium).

This conference was also an opportunity for Enercoop and its partners Courant d’Air (Belgium), Ecopower (Belgium), Energy4All (United Kingdom) and Som Energia (Spain) to officially announce the creation of the European cooperative REScoop MECISE, or Mutual for Energy Communities Investing in a Sustainable Europe. This European cooperative, a concrete and sustainable outcome of the European project, has as its social objective to promote the European energy transition to energy democracy.

To this end, the European cooperative will provide financial facilitation services, mainly in the form of equity financing for renewable energy production projects and should raise funds at European level to support renewable energy cooperatives in Europe

Going beyond simple financial cooperation, REScoop MECISE is clearly in line with the logic of the social and solidarity economy by putting financial tools directly at the service of citizen energy. For Enercoop, the event on 22 January marks both the culmination of several years of work on the design of this new tool and the beginning of a great adventure of solidarity between European partners.

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