To make recommendations that can support organisations and enterprises worldwide, it is essential to include a wide variety of voices in the conversation and make the most of the diversity that they bring.
That is what we have done since our Impact Hub Network took the challenge to lead a group of impact-focused partners from 11 countries as part of the initiative lead by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) “Global Action: Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems ” – created to better support impact-oriented businesses, as well as to inspire policy making and raise awareness for the SSE.
We have taken a collaborative and inclusive approach that is helping us move towards our goal: to suggest concrete actions for policymakers to ensure the development of an inclusive SSE ecosystem. Particularly in the processes of internationalisation of SSE organisations with a gender perspective.
Rather than simply writing down a few assumptions and asking our partners to share their inputs on those, since May 2021 we have been taking a truly collaborative approach in which we develop a framework and facilitate conversations amongst them through a series of workshops.
The complexity of our approach, including diverse time zones, cultures, views, languages and schedule availability, is paying off. All this diversity enriched our initial thoughts on the subjects of internationalisation and the role of women.
How? For example, when defining our Key Learning Objectives one initial thought was to identify key barriers and enablers for women within the SSE and how those could be addressed and supported respectively. Considering extensive existing research that has the same or similar focus, our consortium collectively decided to take a different approach: to zoom out and revert the question, this time posing women as solution agents within the SSE.
Our Key Learning Objectives
The three learning goals we have defined for our Peer-Learning Partnership, which will result in recommendations on best practices, tangible solutions and a tool for policy making, are:
- To identify and capture SSE organisations-specific motivations and strategies to internationalise and the needed support associated with this;
- To propose a roadmap that would make proven local SSE solutions become available to be globally replicated and adopted by identifying key aspects and elements to do so;
- To identify how women’s perspectives can be brought into SSE to ensure that their values and principles strengthen the resilience of SSE and its internationalization processes.
As Lorena Pulido, from DistritoTec in Mexico, pointed out: “If the COVID-19 pandemic has made something clear, it is that borders do not exist for challenges but neither for solutions. Many individuals and communities have worked to find local solutions to the challenges they face that could be globally adopted and replicated”.
To achieve these objectives, our partners selected a few champion cases and further investigated them through interviews, drawing insights and findings that shine a light on how to boost the advancements of the global Social and Solidarity Economy.
Filip de Beule, from KU Leuven University in Belgium, is part of this research effort and highlights: “While the problems addressed by SSE organizations are often widespread in many countries, the solutions need tailoring to the specificities of the local context as the forces underlying these opportunities are different across countries”.
Being a complex and diverse context, enabling different voices to come together through a collaborative and inclusive process has been fundamental to ensure we capture the variety of realities in which Social and Solidarity Economy organizations operate and propose effective recommendations to policymakers around the world.