The importance of SSE grassroots experiences

This post is also available in: French, Spanish

In each of the four webinars “Beyond the Covid-19 crisis” organized by RIPESS, it was possible to learn about different local and community projects that are providing solutions in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

The Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) is not the construction of future alternatives. SSE is a movement that already offers local and community-based solutions around the world that put people at the centre with the aim of building a fairest, more supportive and sustainable world.

This was already a reality before the Covid-19, but over the last few months we have been able to observe a multitude of projects and local experiences which have offered real solutions to people in sectors such as food, care, health, prevention and communication, amongst many others.

In each of the four webinars “Beyond the Covid-19 emergency”, different special guests explained, from their experience different local projects that are providing solutions in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Thus, different examples of solidarity experiences that are taking place in different parts of the world were identified. These are the actions that have been developed from the centre of the community, among the neighbors and that have put life in the centre at a time when everything was falling apart.

Portugal and Latin America

As Luciane Lucas told in the Spanish webinar, for example, activism, dialogue and resistance have been more alive than ever in Portugal, where COVID community radio stations have been created to share opinions and ideas about (post)pandemics and build the idea of community. This has become a meeting place for collectives connected to feminist, anti-racist agendas, etc.

On the other hand, the experiences of the Chilean community also reached us from Latin America. Thus, Beatriz Chocori from RIPESS LAC explained a local experience of exchanging and selling products according to the real value they have (trasquinto) and not the one given by the market. Chocori recalled how this had already begun some time ago in Chile, but was strengthened by last year’s social upheavals and, of course, by this health crisis situation.

Finally, Salomón Sotelo explained from Colombia an experience of agrarian solidarity economy. This project carries out important work in the social market by proposing that intermediation be eliminated as much as possible, which is what makes products more expensive and also recommending to peoble to buy nearby.

Africa

As explained by Madani Coumare, president of RAESS – RIPESS Africa during the French webinar, in all African countries there are organized people who prepare the sanitary materials (masks, gel etc). In fact, according to Coumare, SSE organizations are promoting local products such as the creation of a disinfectant gel that replaces the one sold in the pharmacy, which can cost up to 50 euros.

Elise Pierrette Memong, a member of RAESS and RIPESS Intercontinental’s Board Member, commented on several examples that are taking place across the continent. She explained how in Burkina Faso “communal barter plants” have been set up to cope with the closure of markets. Or as in Mali, more than 100,000 handmade masks have been produced, thus allowing the revival of the textile sector in the country, a truly important aspect.

Finally, Elise Pierrette Memong also referred to the case of Cameroon with the case of cooperatives of pepper and tomato producers. These used to send products to Equatorial Guinea, but now, as they cannot do so due to the closure of borders, they are looking for methods to preserve these products, such as the drying method, and on the other hand, they have reactivated the local market to the detriment of the export market.

Asia

At the seminar in English, Wahyudi Anggoro Hadi commented on the history of the Panggungharjo people in Jogja, as a good practice of integrated response to Covid-19. As explained by Wahyudi Anggoro Hadi, this village has developed a web-based application through which they have been able to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic, through collaboration, solidarity and sharing economy.

This application allowed, on the one hand, to offer clinical assistance and monitoring by volunteers, through daily monitoring. But this same application allowed to put in contact the inhabitants of the village who required food products with the availability of products in the shops.

These are just some of the local good practices in the SSE that could be heard during the four webinars organized by RIPESS Intercontinental, with the aim of showing the capacity of the SSE to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

If you were not able to attend the webinars at the time, we invite you to watch the videos of each of the sessions:

Ripess
RIPESS is a worldwide network of continental networks promoting the Social Solidarity Economy, in order to transform our economy by putting people and the planet at the center of our activities.

grassroot experiences RIPESS SSE