12th Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy - Elective 7: SSE as tool for social cohesion, peace and resilience

News | 10 January 2022
The elective courses of the SSE Academy were designed for practitioners from around the world, to debate and share practices, ideas and models for SSE action in specific areas.

This third elective of the academy took place on 22, 23 and 24 November 2021 and it addressed the role of the SSE for social cohesion, peace and resilience. It was available for participants in English, French and Spanish. The elective’s structure and content was coordinated and prepared by Mr. Guy Tchami (ILO) and Ms. Valentina Verze (ILO). The sessions were facilitated by Ms. Giulia Melina (ITCILO).

The elective provided an overview on how access to decent work can contribute to peace, resilience and social cohesion. According to latest estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) , there were 70.8 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations at the end of 2018. To address this situation, it is essential for displaced persons and host communities to access enhanced and inclusive economic opportunities that simultaneously contribute to social cohesion.

The elective focused on how establishing structures that the local community can trust, and strengthening local governance, are key to peacebuilding. It provided reflections on how SSE units are positioned to address the needs of both displaced persons and host populations, as they often combine practical services through collective action, underpinned by principles of self-help, trust, mutualism and democratic governance. Finally, the elective provided information and tools to support SSE units in advancing social cohesion in their operations. Several practical examples and experiences from different countries were shared and discussed.

The first session of the elective was opened by a presentation by Ms. Nieves Thomet, ILO Employment for Peace Specialist. Ms. Thomet outlined the ILO approach in sustaining peace through employment and decent work. During her presentation, she provided an overview of peace and conflict dynamics and their interactions with decent work issues. Mr. Guy Tchami and Ms. Valentina Verze from the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit presented the approach of the ILO in promoting cooperatives and the broader SSE. Their presentation focused on the role of the SSE in promoting decent work and strengthening social cohesion in crisis situations, especially providing examples on forced displacement, as pointed out in the recent ILO publication on “Mapping responses by cooperatives and social and solidarity economy organizations to forced displacement”.

The presentation of Ms. Thomet is available here: en - es - fr
The presentation of Mr. Tchami and Ms. Verze is available here: en - es - fr

The second session of the elective hosted a presentation by Ms. Heidi Christ, Representative of UNHCR, who introduced the UNHCR approach and the MADE51 program, which boosts social entrepreneurship as a lever of empowerment and decent work creation for refugees. Ms. Christ was joined by Ms. Tahira Afridi, a member of Artisan Links (Pakistan), who presented the work of her organisation with women refugees. The second presentation of the session was made by Mr. Juan Fernando Álvarez Rodríguez, a professor at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotà, Colombia. Mr. Álvarez Rodríguez reflected on the role of cooperativism for the establishment of peaceful coexistence, through the analysis of factors and specific cases. Among the examples, he presented the case of the reincorporation of ex-combatants in Colombia through SSE units.

The presentation of Ms. Christ is available here: en - es - fr
The presentation of Mr. Álvarez Rodríguez is available here: en - es - fr

The first part of the third and final session focused on the work of the ILO in the Middle East. Ms. Shaza Jondi, Regional Chief Technical Adviser (Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq) at ILO presented the ILO approach in Arab States. She focused on the case of Syrian refugees integration in the agricultural sector in Jordan through the cooperative model. Mr. Michel Sawan, member of a local steering committee in Kfar Habou, a village in the North of Lebanon, outlined a case of community resilience through SSE initiatives in Lebanon. The following presentation of the session was provided by Ms. Giulia Galera, a Senior Researcher at EURICSE and member of Cooperativa Miledù (Italy) along with Ms. Angela Rebeca Real from the same cooperative. They presented the case of the Miledù social cooperative in the North of Italy, facilitating the work integration of refugees and asylum seekers through the engagement of host communities.

The presentation of Ms. Jordi is available here: en - es - fr.
The presentation of Ms. Galera and Ms. Real is available here: en - es - fr.

The elective saw the active participation of participants in group works and Q&A sessions.

For more information on the 12th edition of the SSE Academy, click here.