European Pacts’ activities: summer 2013

Moderation of Workshop 3 at the 2nd RIPESS Europe Congress, Lille 5 – 7th July 2013 Learning from one another, prepared by Martine Theveniaut and Peter Wollny.

Many relevant concrete results testify to the potential of the expertise of projects, particularly in the field of solidarity economy in almost all spheres of economic, social and cultural life. Most people however are not aware of these success stories, and they remain marginal and lack the right kind of support that would enable them to be scaled up. How can this obstacle be overcome? Since 1998 the European Pacts have chosen to foster exchange between social inventors, and to pursue an on-going rigorous policy based on examples. They have built a public space for exchange that enables lessons learnt to be communicated. In 2007, in the preparation of Lux’09, the 4th RIPESS meeting in Europe, they formalised the lessons of the Learning Journey method. They organised 15 of these in the framework of 2 18-month cycles in France and Europe. The choice of pooling these lessons is political, as on an uncertain road, it is necessary to first gain personal understanding before jointly carrying proposals forward and succeeding in scaling up the solutions.

The objective of the workshop “Learning from one another” was to share participants’ experience and bring together a collection of examples, analyses and proposals. Ten people took part in the workshop, from Catalonia, Mali, and France, five men and five women, and from different jobs and of various ages. Introductions allowed three examples to be chosen by mutual consent, ensuring that there would be diversity of situations, countries and contexts. Everyone was invited to follow the same outline in presenting their activities, as well as formalising the lessons learnt that could be useful to RIPESS: What needs does the experience try to meet? How does it operate? What is the importance and role of the various partners involved? What types of challenges had to be faced? What were the results?

– Catalonia, by Joan Lluis Jornet: In the post-Franco period, lawyers wanted to work together. They organised in a cooperative to observe the reality and follow the evolution of their environment, supporting the weak. There are now fifty associates, in five working groups, on the issues of health and non-recognised diseases; social security, labour law, housing, penal and civil law, general issues of economy and cooperatives.

Joan does not believe that love and work should be considered as separate issues. He prefers to think that professional behaviour should be adapted so that they can coexist. (

Mali, by Idrissa Sanogo : He has a good level of knowledge of the context of his own country and hopes to move towards solidarity economy. He participated in this workshop in order to exchange, as even with similar values, methods vary, and the situation in Mali is difficult. In the context of decentralisation, the Keyes Region supports the local authorities in developing local projects, such as creating companies, market gardening and livestock rearing by women, as well as organising production for these branches. This approach opens up ne spaces for dialogues between various levels of society. The traditional village authorities are included to ensure that cohabitation is legitimate.

– France, by Peter Wollny : Tired of responding to tenders that were increasingly “limited”, and increasingly ill at ease in their role as consultants, he took part in establishing a citizens Factory cooperative, a third space, situated at the cross-roads between SSE and social innovation in the South of the Aude, at the border of the Ariège. This third space is conceived as a numerical coworking area to overcome users’ difficulties appropriate technologies, train, establish a cooperative for different activities and umbrella companies for salaried workers, legal aid, and building professional skills. The economic model is still being discussed, and it will be partly non-monetary. It will open in September. (‎).

The presentations were followed by a period of collective discussion aimed at – Understanding one another; this is the first step, and is a prerequisite for establishing trust-based relationships.

– Everyone is trying to improve their solutions to challenges that they are trying to resolve. How can things help all the participants in their own context?

Some opinions shared in the concluding remarks:

Idrissa Sanogo: The three examples need to be confronted with other experiences to share and benchmark.

Ibrahim Sarr, Horticultural network, Keyes, Mali: He discovered an unimaginable diversity, complexity of information, situations…this helps gain better understanding. He finds it difficult to understand the concept of coworking. The Catalan example requires a form of resistance and courage!

Madeleine Hersent, Mouvement de l’Economie Solidaire: Increasingly complex initiatives are developing. We remain weak in communication, on what we do and the point of what e are doing. The issue is an opening to promote and recognise. It is important to collectively share the challenges to facilitate public authorities.

Sophie Deriquehem, Master II in Solidarity economy at Valenciennes: It is daring to launch things to improve what we dislike; it involves risk-taking, shared innovation if we are to hope to succeed, as there are fewer means, so we need to call upon the solidarity of others, to be accompanied and accompany. This is what solidarity economy represents to me. The questions that remain are: How can we avoid going round in circles? What else lies behind job-creation: new projects? What about quality? Cooperation? How to things progress at a later stage? What about legal recognition? What is the role of public authorities? Is the vocation of RIPESS Europe to just bring SSE together, or does it also accept outside criticism?

Workshop proposal: use this learning method to improve the quality of cooperation in relationships within RIPESS Europe in a long-term process of globalisation of solidarity to help the collective response to progress.

Report based on collective framapad notes Available at:



July 21, 2013: Opening of a internet forum to prepare Theme 2: Experiences of the ESS in the territories to the 5th Meeting of the Intercontinental RIPESS in Manila, Philippines (14-18 October 2013)

The four-yearly meeting is a vitally important moment that enables us to update our analyses in a world that is increasingly harsh and interdependent, and to take stock of how far we have come.

At the Forum LUX’09, the P’acts organised a transverse Workshop: “Democratic Participation and anchoring the Solidarity Economy at Territorial Level”. The Territoriality was, for the first time, recognised as a working theme in its own right at the 5th RIPESS meeting. This simple fact is a very significant advance in itself. It provides that, beyond the specializations, the concrete transverse approach is a major dimension towards the organization of solidarity of a sustainable territorial development.

Invitation to take part

In this Forum we work on the basis that we are all, to varying degrees, participants and practitioners in a new economy rooted within a particular territorial context, but experiencing and sharing common challenges and values.

Organisation team : European Pact, mandated by RIPESS Europe; Canadian Community Economic Development Network, mandated by RIPESS North America. A request has been made to the other continents to designate organisations to join the organisation team.

The Forum will be open from July to late September. Contributions can be made in three languages: English, Spanish or French. The debate will be organised so as to reintroduce another lesson learned from Lux’09: using concrete initiatives with their territorial and contextual framework and applying the same three actions: illustrate/debate/propose. It will consist of three two-week phases when the issues will be tackled. A summary will be produced in three languages and circulated at the end of each phase. The final summary of the work undertaken will be submitted to participants for validation then posted on the RIPESS website as a collective contribution to the “Theme no. 2: SSE initiatives in the territories” Workshop before the 5th meeting, Manila’13.

The organisation team proposes to animate an interactive exchange between the 3 languages of communications. We will respond and make a synthesis, in the 3 languages, after each phase.

– Our collaboration with Françoise Wautiez from, the resource website for the social and solidarity economy, will enable contributions and results to be tracked, promoted and distributed.

Objectives of the web forum in the run-up to Manila’13

– make a collective contribution to the global vision based on the territorial approach to transition strategies;

– introduce the Workshop 17th October

– contribute to the decisions that will be taken the next day, as called for in the program to commitments, actions and specific and concrete goals for 2014 2017.

To participate:

More informations in file: