By Josette Combes
The members of the Erasmus SSE IVET 2 (1) programme met in Bergamo from 14 to 18 October for a joint working week on the construction of a training of trainers module. This module is intended to transmit the fundamentals of the Social and Solidarity Economy within the initial and vocational training of the countries participating in this programme. The project began with a study phase on the presence and quality of SSE classes in initial and vocational training, which showed that they were most often absent.
Phase 2 of the programme is to design a module for transferring essential information to train trainers to be included in their curricula. At the end of the training, trainers should be familiar with SSE, its principles and values, but also its practices, understand the role that SSE can play in the local development of their community as a vehicle for change, see the future of the world of work in SSE, actively participate in a continuous and dynamic training process.
It is not only a question of transmitting content but also (and even more so) of proposing methodologies and postures that illustrate the positioning of the SSE with regard to basic values such as democracy at work, respect and welcoming everyone, the principle of cooperation and the synergy of skills.
The participants shared their materials based on a framework developed by Technet, Dock, and Solidarius, which also provided the welcome and entertainment.
The participatory process made it possible, on the basis of collective reflection, to collect the contributions of each participant, which will be reviewed and validated by the group. Thus, a tool was developed to support the observation of field experiences that the group had the privilege of meeting thanks to Solidarius’ proximity to the actors. The choice of Bergamo was motivated by the fact that the city and its region are rich in highly structured and networked experiences of solidarity economy.
We visited the Cooperativa Ruah, a recycling plant that employs people with integration difficulties, particularly migrants. A full day was devoted to visiting the IRIS cooperative, created in 1978 by a small group that wanted to promote quality agriculture and local consumption and then set up a processing plant to control the entire production chain. We met one of its founders, Maurizio Gritta, in a newly built, ultra-modern factory. He shared with us the history of the cooperative, which pragmatically organized its evolution while maintaining the essential principles that were at the origin of the original group of actors: not to poison the land, to create jobs, especially for women, to maintain a direct relationship with consumers, to maintain collective ownership of the means of production considered as a common. A central objective is also to ensure a fair price for the producer and consumer. By following, the visit to the farm made it possible to better understand the link between all the activities, particularly those that consist in raising awareness of the solidarity economy through interventions with children aged 7 to 11 in their schools, to ensure the future in a way.
After a delicious meal on the spot, we were in electronic contact with one of the Banca Etica officials who presented us with the differences that distinguish this bank from the traditional banking system, non-speculation, lending and specific support for people that the ordinary system rejects, transparency of governance, a much narrower range of salaries.
The evenings were an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of equally cooperative places where we had our meals while getting to know people involved in the SSE: Circolino a cooperative restaurant located in the Citta Alta, after a short tour in this ancient and fortified part of the city. La Cooperativa Sociale Arete of organic agriculture, la Porta del Parco an agricultural complex located on the territory of the Municipality of Hub and at the gates of the Regional Park of Collines, composed of a vineyard, a green area that houses social and collective gardens and a structure used as a restaurant and point of sale for local and organic products.
Everywhere, we were able to appreciate not only the engagement of the actors in the development of social and ecological activities, but also the kindness, friendliness and cheerfulness that prevail in all these places and it must be said that it is comforting after days of intense work dedicated to the transmission of our common issue, social and solidarity economy.
(1) 1Technet /Germany, MES/ France, Dock / Greece, Solidarius / Italy, APDES/ Portugal, CRIES / Roumania, RIPESS EU