The Project “Advocacy for the promotion of SSE as a strategy to achieve Sustainable Development (SDGs) in the post-COVID-19 context (ACCD-RIPESS)” has helped to revive the hope of social solidarity economy enterprises.

COVID-19 has had devastating effects on SSE actors in Africa. This is the case for RAESS members, the vast majority of whom have been affected. Some were forced to change sectors of activity to survive, while others had the choice only to close down. The most resilient have seen their turnover fall sometimes in more than 80%. It is in this context that the ACCD project intervened between September 2020 and December 2022. Designed with RAESS, which has 25 SSE networks in as many countries in Africa, the Advocacy for the Promotion of SSE as a Strategy to Achieve Sustainable Development (SDGs) in the Post-COVID-19 Context project, has benefited RIPESS and RIPESS-LAC in addition to RAESS.

In Africa, the project has been able to give hope to RAESS members, reaching thousands of SSE enterprises, through multiple capacity building and advocacy activities for the inclusion of SSE in post-COVID-19 recovery programs, both at the country and international levels. Some salient results:

The development and dissemination of a directory of partners who support SSE in Africa has allowed our members a great saving of time in the search for opportunities for the revival of their activities affected or almost wiped out by the impacts of the coronavirus disease. With it, the RAESS member countries have a directory of technical and financial partners for the financing of their recovery plans.

The capitalization and dissemination of the co-construction dialogue, in the case of the development of the National Policy of Social and Solidarity Economy of Mali, has made available, an example of a dialogue approach between the decision-makers and governed for the establishment of an appropriate framework for the development of SSE enterprises.

The training tool on the SDGs, which was developed in Excel format, allowed a rapid appropriation of SSE enterprises in Africa of the contents of the Sustainable Development Goals. The international training that was done allowed fruitful exchanges between actors of the continent on how everyone can and should contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in their entreprises.

The training on business resilience enabled a hundred participants through RAESS to identify their vulnerability as a business and to start thinking about strategies to be developed to strengthen resilience and draw up a sustainable development plan that takes into account the existing risks in the environment, including COVID-19.

The development and availability of a resilience guide was a permanent accompaniment to RAESS members in their quest for resilience as a business.

The training of young women and men in the development of projects has made it possible to provide each country with resource persons capable of supporting local SSE enterprises, in the design of innovative projects, meeting the needs of SSE actors in the countries.

The plan for participation in dialogue spaces in Africa has provided RAESS with a strategic advocacy tool, enabling it to be optimally prepared for participation in the various dialogue spaces with central and local governments, sub-regional and continental institutions.

The very strong involvement of RAESS representatives in RIPESS bodies on strategic reflections on the challenges of SSE in the world, as well as their participation in dialogue with United Nations agencies, as well as other international organizations, have enabled the organization of several spaces for dialogue and policy co-construction in the African space.

Not least, the ACCD/RIPESS Project has contributed, in this extremely complicated period, to strengthening not only the resilience of OSSE but also the cohesion and solidarity among RAESS members who have taken greater ownership of RIPESS’ strategic objectives, including the importance of engaging international cooperation in the agenda to promote SSE, through multi-stakeholder advocacy.

RAESS, satisfied with the results achieved by this pilot project, sincerely commends the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation for this exemplary and life-saving partnership with RIPESS. It remains mobilized with RIPESS, to consolidate its achievements through the implementation of a more structured project.

By Madani Koumare