As the hype of online meetings have increased since March 2020, ASEC initiated the SSE Online Academy which both delivers lectures from SSE academics and showcases best practices of SSE actors.
Officially started on May 2nd 2020 the SSE Online Academy substitutes ASEC’s casual activities which were formerly implemented once a year through their international conference. The ease of sharing and discussing via online platforms has raised interests and curiosity on SSE and overcame expectations of the organisers: initially planned as 4 sessions, the program lasted seven months and resulted in 70 documentaries of various SSE case studies from 13 Asia countries. It thus resulted in a unique experience and opportunity to discover different facets of SSE in Asia.
SSE includes a wide range of practices that span economic, social, environmental, political, communitarian or holistic dimensions. Given SSE’s respect for the diversity of local experience, history, culture, and political/economic realities, there are differences in its definition. To build the convergence of the understandings, ASEC has introduced the Fivefold Principles of SSE:
1) Socially Responsible Governance
2) Edifying Ethical Values
3) Socio-Economic Benefits of The Community
4) Ecological Conservation and
5) Economic Sustainability.
Those principles become the guidelines for everyone to visualize what SSE is, and reflects how their organizations fit to the SDGs through SSE.
Initiated with 17 case studies from the initial ASEC networks in 6 countries, SSE Online Academy reached out new networks in Pakistan, Nepal, Cambodia and China. As more speakers and participants, such as foundations, coops, or corporations got involved in the SSE Online Academy, the topics have been extended to include gender equality, food sovereignty, and societal resilience. This routine event converted into sessions of experience-sharing, strengthening networks based on geography and sectors, and a deeper understanding of the SSE through learning and methodology creation.
Moreover, the case studies that were obtained thanks to the SSE Academy contain abundant insights and lessons, and enrich ASEC’s repository of SSE advocacy toward governments and educational institutions. They also present different ways of promoting SSE to the general public with the use of practical examples and by displaying their relevance to the SDGs. The SSE Online Academy has provided evidence that SSE practices work not only in rural areas within small scale economies, but also that SSE is a major component of an alternative to the neoliberal market economy.