From April 19 to 22, 2021, the GSEF (World Social Economy Forum), in partnership with United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) through its African Local Government Academy (ALGA), held a capacity building training on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) on behalf of Francophone organizations and local elected officials.
The training took place online around the theme of “A global strategy for the co-construction of SSE public policies for sustainable post-COVID recovery and inclusive and sustainable development of territories”. The training made it possible to provide tools to more than 50 people from 15 countries on 3 continents (Africa, Europe, and Asia). It was 4 days of learning and enriching exchanges of views, sharing of experiences and tools, passionate discussions, and links created for the development of SSE in cities and territories.
In all, there are 4 workshops, 4 Masters Classes, 2 peer-to-peer discussion sessions, and 3 virtual site visits from which participants benefited. The participants appreciated the training and asked for the renewal of this type of program.
For Mr. Aboubakari SYLLA, from the municipality of Abobo-Abidjan, “this initiative allowed us to rub shoulders with other local authorities and other actors that we were not used to seeing. In terms of decentralized cooperation, this opens up prospects for us. For us, it is a question of matching territorial coaching and the Social and Solidarity Economy, because the territorial realities are that populations, especially in Africa, find it difficult to work in synergy with communities. In the municipality of Abobo, territorial coaching has enabled us to bring the populations together “.
The option of establishing synergy with territorial coaching was also highlighted by Mrs. Aminata Diop Samb, General Director of the Municipal Development and Solidarity Fund (FODEM), of the city of Dakar. “The training gave us an idea of everything that revolves around the ecosystem of the Social and Solidarity Economy. Another example of best practice is the experience of territorial coaching which should be valued and which should profitably be taken into account in the development of SSE. The training of social entrepreneurs is also a lever to be developed”.
The Secretary General of GSEF, Ms. Laurence Kwark and her counterpart from UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, have undertaken to do everything possible to offer this type of training on a regular basis to local authorities and their stakeholders.
In her closing message, Ms. Kwark extended an invitation to the participants to attend the next SSE World Forum. “We were glad to organize this training and would like to thank you for your involvement. This year, the GSEF is organizing the 5th edition of the World Social and Solidarity Economy Forum from October 4 to 8, 2021 in Mexico City (Mexico) on the theme of ‘Local governments and social economy: co-creation of pathways for a green and inclusive economy’”.
For his part, Mr. Elong Mbassi underlined the importance of SSE for the African continent. “For us, SSE is the reality of the African economy. Almost 80% of actors in the African economy do work in the Social and Solidarity Economy. This SSE is often criticized for being too much rooted in society, but this rooting is normal because when you remove this rooting you drift away from society and you consider that this economy is outside of society. SSE shows that this disconnect should absolutely not exist and it is to the credit of GSEF and all SSE members to advocate loud and clear for this type of economy. The second reason why SSE is important to us is that SSE is probably one of the best initiation stages for young people moving from the world of education to the world of economics. Obviously young people can fall into what is called the informal sector, but the informal sector does not provide decent employment and does not create hope, which is the complete opposite of what SSE stands for “.