Like all other continents, Africa is experiencing the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to cause decimate families, destabilise our health systems and weaken our respective economies.
In reality, no country is spared even if the consequences and real impacts on the people are felt differently.
Each country has therefore been organising its response according to its means and realities while prioritising the resilience of their respective economies and the strengthening of their health systems. Over and above any governmental efforts, Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) actors are trying to impact this response through highly innovative and sustainable initiatives.
SSE organisations are thus organising around common projects such as raising awareness and compliance with the recommendations of the WHO and our respective States. They have been involving all actors such as artisans and other social entrepreneurs, to accompany them in their initiatives (making masks, disinfectant gels, water buckets for hand washing…).
However, these grassroots actions remain limited, due to the lack of effective support from the respective governments, who have difficulty in perceiving the decisive role that these actors in the field play or could play. This is due to the fact that there is almost no appropriate public policy dedicated to SSE actors, hence the lack of support instruments that would allow them to be more dynamic and efficient.
This is why it is more than necessary to reflect on building advocacy to convince our governments to introduce policies that would give a sufficiently clear vision that would lead to the implementation of a support mechanism for the actors. But this can only be done within the framework of a common advocacy strategy involving all actors and all relevant sectors/activities of SSE. Given that SSE organisations and actors are close to peoples’ realities, and have considerable influence on our respective economies, they will certainly provide the indispensable resources for the socio-economic reconstruction in the post-COVID period. This period promises to be very difficult and dangerous for us all.
This explains the interest and commitment to the Project “Advocacy for the promotion of SSE as a strategy for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the post-Covid-19 context” supported by the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD) in partnership with RIPESS Intercontinental. For RAESS, this provides us with an opportunity that helps us to identify ideas both for messaging on our initiatives and also for drawing public authorities’ attention to the need to build a legal framework dedicated to the territorial anchoring of SSE. it is important for them to understand that SSE is the most reliable way forward in the socio-economic reconstruction of our respective countries in the post-Covid 19 period.
However, we are aware of the role that could be played by the SSE actors and organisations that constitute the backbone in the implementation of this project at continental level. Each member network of the African SSE Network (RAESS) will therefore play its part in synergy with the Continental Coordination. The dynamics will also be based on an effective and coherent communication strategy adapted to the African reality and the specificity of each country.
To achieve these objectives, RAESS will act first and foremost in promoting dialogue and co-construction between SSE networks and local, national and sub-regional governments, seeking to develop policies and programmes favourable to the development of SSE through systemic building of experiences, advocacy actions and alliance building. In order to improve the legal and institutional environment for SSE practice in Africa the systemic work will make tools and approaches for SSE policy co-construction,available to all RAESS member networks.
The continental network will provide support to its national member networks through training. Modules will be designed, and will focus on advocacy and awareness-raising for increasing the profile and role of SSE in all Post-Covid recovery interventions. This will also allow improved recovery for SSE enterprises, with special consideration for women and youth, who are the most strongly affected by the pandemic.