By Josette Combes

In the synthesis of an April 2014 Avise-CESOD study (France) “Young people’s perception of employment in the social and solidarity economy”, out of all the young people questioned: 89.3% think that working in the SSE allows them to “feel useful for society”, compared to 56.3% for the public sector and 24% for market enterprises, 84.9% see SSE structures as allowing them to “have a good working atmosphere” compared to 42.6% for the public sector and 39% for market enterprises. Furthermore, the young women interviewed noted the interest in better reconciling professional and family life, which did not appear in the responses of the young men.

We will not insist on this significant sociological element here, but as the June newsletter is devoted to the theme of youth, these figures confirm our intuition that young people are increasingly interested in the SSE. We have collected testimonies from those who are already involved about the projects they are leading or participating in. Not surprisingly, culture predominates.

Thus, the Ajiter project has carried out an observation and support process to better identify and promote artistic and cultural practices in rural areas. RIPESS, together with other networks, aims to develop a new form of mobility called “solidarity tourism” to initiate another way of meeting the population and local communities, more respectful of their environment and culture. The Heterotopias are a good example of this, which Via Brachy has been running for several years. Entrepreneurship culture and finance are also addressed by our young colleagues. Their contributions show a pleasing dynamism. In Africa, where young people are the majority, a Forum is dedicated to them.

We continue to publish testimonies from members on their relationship with RIPESS Europe. They will be compiled in a book that we wish to publish on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of RIPESS Europe, whose General Assembly is scheduled for September 7-10 at the Villarceaux eco-farm, north of Paris. A beautiful diversity of words and fields of activity: education with Sofia from Portugal, food sovereignty with Judith, a moment of history with Karl from Germany and two videos Georgia (Greece) and Francesco (Portugal).

Among the novelties, the intercontinental RIPESS logo and its promotion, the change of name of our Geneva member and the creation of a “Tiers-lieu“and finally the latest REDPES webinar.

Let’s come back to the survey conducted by Avise. Some figures should make us react: 50.1% of the young people questioned do not know SSE, 24.3% have only a vague idea of it and only 25.6% identify it, but these are those who work in all types of structures, the majority of which are associations. Among the assets of SSE in the eyes of young people are its values, democratic governance and the right to initiative. Those who are currently employed express a desire to remain in the sector. On the other hand, certain obstacles are obvious: lack of knowledge of the environment, lower salaries, less professional development and job instability. This gives food for thought to those who, like us at RIPESS, seek to promote the solidarity economy as an alternative, and this necessarily involves the younger generation. We are all the more happy to welcome more and more talented young people into our teams.

For all those who join the various solidarity economy projects, a thought from René Char:

“The impossible, we do not reach it, but it serves us as a lantern”.