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Social Economy for Social Empowerment

Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) is a relatively new concept of the social economy with an impact on the way of production. In comparison to existing market practices, the SSE paradigm is about starting and growing a business in which all economic activities of production, distribution and consumption are organized horizontally and managed democratically. SSE has the ability to take the best practices that exist in our present system (such as efficiency, use of technology and knowledge) and transform them to serve the welfare of the community based on different values and goals.

Following this idea, many initiatives are starting to adopt the concept in their way of working, and becoming part of this growing community, and, to help on the implementation of it, some platforms were created to help us achieve SSE, one of them is our resident Dock.

The idea behind Dock

The Dock initiative was formed in 2017, inspired by the idea of creating business that have principles of democratic governance and sustainable methods of production. Dock is a platform that was founded to help such initiatives. They focus on supporting the people, enhancing the SSE concepts and on strengthening the initiatives and the overall social economy ecosystem.

 

How it works

Dock is currently connecting and consulting SSE initiatives providing 3 different operations which are: 1. the infopoint, 2. the helpdesk and 3. the forum.

Infopoint, is a free of charge consulting area for getting information and answering questions in SSE matters, while Helpdesk, involves supporting SSE actors at any stage of development, from the initial idea and team formation to initiatives and entities that are already economically developed. Finally, Forum works as a cooperative network linking those actors by sharing a common ground.

They have presence in the European SSE community and collaborate with other initiatives to increase the visibility of the SSE movement. To that end, they also organize events and participate in delegations and interventions like in the organizational team of UniverSSE 2017. They currently participate in the Αttica’s SSE entities Union. At European level, they are members of the pan-European Ripess EU network.

SSE in Greece

In Greece, SSE initiatives are in an early stage, however, the successful launch of such paradigms is becoming a political priority, acknowledging that SSE has the power to mobilize economic and social forces in a cooperative way in order to relaunch the productive model of the country in a more fair and democratic way.

Dock has successfully initiated the “Fruit of Solidarity” campaigns. They provide a networking and collaboration platform between Greek agricultural producers and international stakeholders. “Greenland” action for instance, is a Social Cooperative Enterprise, helping olive oil producers in Kalamata to embrace fair trade practices and expand to international markets. The organisation succeeded in exporting all of their products (more than 20 tones of olive oil and almost 10 tones of olives) in Sweden, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands and Japan in 2017. The importance of this was major if you consider that the producers sold their goods without an intermediate and bargained their own prices, ending up enjoying 60% of the profits which is 20% higher than the one they would have if they were participating in traditional business.

The field has potentials to evolve through the years of 2020 and 2021, giving a new perspective of business and production that values human capital before economic capital and builds a sustainable and socially fair environment.

If your are interest in knowing more about SSE and other business trends, keep it up with Stone Soup Facebook page.

Diving into social issues and public awareness: We spoke to Nicole to find out more about her impressive work and background

Nicole is a Social Scientist and she is currently working for the Library Without Borders NGO. LWB deals with the most vulnerable populations by giving them access to education, information and culture. LWB is based in France whereas Nicole is working in Athens as a program manager for several actions aimed for refugees in Greece.

                  Athens Greece Eleonas camp                                                                     Athens Greece Eleonas camp

She got her degree in Boston in the field of Environmental Sciences and International Relations. She also holds a master in Human Rights from the University of Sydney in Australia. During her studies in the US she worked in a law office in the environmental department.  She assisted in cases concerning environmental issues and learned a lot about how someone could handle such cases. She was also present to legal affairs in court and helped with the bureaucracy. While she was a master student in Sri Lanka she worked in the organization CPA (Central Policy Alternatives) and did a research about social issues and specifically how people with HIV’s virus live in the society and the racism they face. She traveled all over the country and she wrote down her findings that were published later by CPA.

She has also volunteered for many causes. She participated in the organization Invisible Children. The main goal of this organization is to make people aware for the civil war of Uganda and stop the Lords Resistance Army of Joseph Kony. She worked there with child soldiers and she tried to raise awareness and communicate with them. Furthermore, she worked in an orphanage at Gana and she increased public awareness for sickness of malaria and taught English to little children.

It’s a pleasure to cowork with Nicole and we would like to give her a warm welcome to the Stone Soup family.

Learn more about LWB at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram

EU commissioner, Corina Cretu, visits Athens and Stone Soup

Stone Soup is participating in the first round of the Social Develop Athens initiative of the Municipality of Athens.