Session # 51. Mainstreaming Solidarity in Conflict-affected Communities through Solidarity Based Community Enterprises
Asian Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC) hosted this workshop at the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum on 23 April 2015 from 4.00-6.00 pm at the Conference A (2F, Wisma MCA), Kuala Lumpur.
This workshop which was participated by about 22 people aimed at highlighting and drawing lessons from best practices of solidarity based community enterprises in restoring peace and order and rebuilding communities of people in conflict affected areas.
Community based enterprises reviewed in the workshop were purposely introduced in conflict-affected areas by social enterprise organizations (i.e. Bina Swadaya, ASKI, and the Oeconomy Cooperative) as a means of restoring peace and order and of rebuilding solidarity among people in communities. Income generating activities are a high-stake agenda that attract local people to a social dialogue arranged by the social enterprise organization especially when they are confronted with problems of poverty, social exclusion and economic marginalization. Instead of focusing attention to the development of individual enterprises, the social enterprise organization draws the people’s attention to the alternative of establishing a community based enterprise. Because the formation of a community based enterprise requires solidarity, working together and collaboration among the stakeholders, local people are challenged to think through ways and means of resolving their conflicts and move on to a transition towards cooperation and concerted action.
Participants of the workshop asked several questions about the methods and approaches adopted by the social enterprise organizations in bringing people of different persuasions to a social dialogue and in handling the direction of social discourse. It gradually became obvious to the participants that the resource speakers themselves who are proponents of peace-seeking social dialogue are peace-loving, patient by nature, and they are prone to listen to others. Furthermore, they have a track record of success in establishing community based enterprises.
The workshop participants proposed that the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum formally call on the Heads of State of ASEAN member countries to recognize community based enterprises as appropriate means for restoring peace and order, solidarity and cooperation among people in local communities.
Nature of the activity
Three case studies were presented by resource speakers about concrete examples of socio-economic interventions in conflict affected areas which have resulted in the restoration of peace and order and the rebuilding of solidarity among peoples involved in social, economic, political or religious conflicts. These were: (1) formation of self-help microenterprises in Maluku islands (Moluccas) of Indonesia; (2) expanding microfinance outreach to areas in Central Luzon, Philippines where rebel activities were rampant; and (3) establishing a social enterprise among Orang Asli (indigenous people) of Malaysia who were running into conflict with authorities on the use of ancestral lands.
The case presentations were followed by an open forum in which participants raised queries, gave comments on the cases presented, and made suggestions on what ASEC and other organizations represented in the session could do together to mitigate social, economic, political or religious conflicts.
A discussion also ensued about the follow up activities that need to be undertaken in order to call the attention of ASEAN Heads of States on the workshop proposals.
Mr. Bambang Ismawan, Founding Chairman of Bina Swadaya- Jndonesia
Mr. Rolando Victoria, Executive Director of Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc (ASKI) -Philippines
Mr. Kon Onn Sein, Managing Director of Oeconomy Cooperative –Malaysia
Session was moderated by Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (ASEC Malaysia)
- Proposal for an ASEAN program on mainstreaming solidarity based community enterprises as a means of mitigating social, economic, political or religious conflicts.
- Information exchange among workshop participants about best practices on mainstreaming Solidarity in conflict-affected communities through solidarity based community enterprises.
Report prepared by: Dr. Benjamin R. Quiñones, Jr., Chairman, Asian Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC). Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 24, 2015