Social and Solidarity Economy: Our common road towards Decent Work
Reader for the ILO Academy on Social And Solidarity Academy 2011
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The aim of the first chapter is to build a common understanding of the concept of the SSE. It begins by mapping the SSE through its most common types of enterprises and organizations. It then describes the common features of SSE organizations, demonstrating the coherence of the SSE concept while emphasizing the diverse forms in which the concept can be manifested. The chapter also gives an overview of some related
concepts and approaches used in the SSE.
The second chapter deals with governance and management issues of SSEOs. Indeed, a common feature of SSEOs is that their governance and operations are influenced by collective ownership and participatory principles. The chapter also provides insights on the strengths and weaknesses in managing SSEOs and the opportunities for improving their efficiency. Several management and governance tools are described in the context of the daily reality of SSEOs.
The development of the SSE often requires public policies to recognize the particularities and added value of the SSE in economic, social and societal terms (e.g. forms of governance, outreach of vulnerable groups).
Chapter 3 presents some public policies that have been created to support the development of the SSE at the international, national and local levels. The chapter also describes best practices in the elaboration of public
The SSE cannot be developed or sustained by isolated organizations and enterprises. Chapter 4 addresses networking and partnerships, which are key factors in building a strong, recognized and visible SSE. SSEOs
need to root themselves in community, mobilize various stakeholders and build strong alliances with social partners and public authorities. SSEOs also need to network among themselves at the local, national and
international levels. Through their federations and networks, they enhance their representation and collaboration capacities.
Worldwide, our societies are facing huge social and economic challenges. At the international level, several international development frameworks have been elaborated to address these problems. Chapter 5 examines how SSEOs are contributing to one of these international development frameworks, i.e. the ILO Decent Work Agenda. It reviews the four objectives and pillars of the Decent Work Agenda and suggests areas of action for SSEOs.
Chapter 6 aims to specifically assess the role of social enterprises in promoting decent jobs. Drawing from the Italian experience and from German, Polish and Ukrainian case studies, the chapter demonstrates the variety
of employment strategies developed by social enterprises to offer and guarantee decent work to youth, unemployed, women and people with disabilities.
Social enterprises are also at the heart of the seventh chapter. Based on the experience of the ILO pilot project “Social Entrepreneurship Targeting Youth in South Africa” (SETYSA), the chapter narrates how this project has
been successful in supporting social enterprise development and putting social enterprises on the agenda of ILO constituents and other stakeholders by developing a systemic approach, combining interventions at the
micro, meso and macro levels and integrating a focus on building the capacity of local institutions and networks. The chapter also reviews under which conditions such a project could be replicated and strengthened.
In developing countries, the persistence and growth of the informal economy raises questions about creating decent jobs and the possibility of formalizing the informal economy. Chapter 8 deals with the potential of the
SSE to facilitate the transition of some informal activities to the formal economy. Based on two Kenyan case studies in the dairy sector, the chapter demonstrates this potential but also explores the hindrances and the
determinants of success for making such a transformation.
One of the features of the SSE is that SSEOs pursue both economic and social aims. But what about environmental sustainability? Chapter 9 discusses the possible relationship between the SSE and environmental sustainability through creating green jobs, for example. The chapter illustrates this opportunity with examples from all over the world (e.g. Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique and South Africa), showing that green jobs encompass an array of occupational profiles, skills and educational training that are
present in the SSE.
Because of their social and economic purposes, SSEOs are often vulnerable at the financial level; they have difficulty building financial reserves or covering their operating costs. Conventional private investors often see
the SSE as being unattractive. SSEOs often have to rely on public subsidies which can present challenges for their autonomy. Chapter 10 examines the different kinds of finance (i.e. membership, funds, grants, debts,
equity and quasi-equity finance) used by three SSEOs. Based on these case studies and on financial literature, the chapter proposes what could be the constitutive elements of a good and balanced model for financing SSEOs.
The final chapter of the 2011 Reader proposes to learn from Quebec’s experience regarding community-based local development. This successful and innovative experience is characterized by an emphasis on bottom-up
strategies and partnerships between civil society, SSE enterprises and local governments in both urban and rural contexts. The chapter will show how this strategy has created tangible results in terms of jobs creation, improved quality of life and stronger social cohesion.
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