INISE

Barka on the conference „Diversity of Forms of Cooperatives in Contemporary World”

On 26-27 November 2012, Tomasz and Barbara Sadowski the founders of the Barka Foundation took part in a conference in om a organised by The Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities of The State College of Computer Science and Business Administration entitled: „Diversity of Forms of Cooperatives in Contemporary World”. Modernity and Tradition. Tomasz Sadowski gave a presentation on „Social economy as a basis of social and economic development. Experiences of Africa in European perspective”.

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See documents and presentation attached:

Conference in Łomża 26-27.11.2012
„The social economy as a basis for socio-economic development. African experiences in European perspective. „

  1. The presentation will showcase how the social economy should be located within the socio-economic system (the concept has been described in the Constitution of Poland (article 20) under ‘social market economy’), with particular emphasis on aspects related to the spread of ownership, freedom and responsibility. In last 20 years social aspects of economy were underestimated in Poland. We will discuss various legal forms of social economy institutions associated with participation, co-ownership and democratic management, which should be developed in Poland at a larger scale etc.
  2. In Africa social entrepreneurship is naturally linked to local entrepreneurship (there is no social welfare and informal entrepreneurship is well-developed). Due to the fact that the social security system does not exist in Africa and the social problems are not being really solved, people are forced to deal through implementing various forms of modest, informal entrepreneurship. Those business activities however are not based on any significant own resources. In Poland on the other hand, the transformation period enhanced passive social welfare in order to combat social unrest after 1989. The welfare in Poland had been separated from any kind of entrepreneurship which strengthened passive approaches among beneficiaries. In Poland we need to go back to implementing the records of the Constitution which emphasizes the social aspects of economy and refers to pro-employment philosophy.
  3. The European Parliament’s resolution on social economy from Feb. 2009 mobilizes the European Commission and the Member States to continue to create favorable conditions for development of social enterprises in the EU, which make up 6% of employment (12 mln work places in UE, in Poland this is only 2,6 %). In the same way, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the EESC emphasize the necessity to create conditions for the development of the social economy in Africa by building partnerships between African countries and EU countries, developing networks of African and European social enterprises, creating legal and financial environment for the development of social enterprises in African countries and improving the qualifications and skills to satisfy the needs of the population, etc.
  4. Due to the natural community and tribal ties in local communities, the co-operatives and mutual societies in Africa have been growing more dynamically than since the ’90s, when the processes of democratization and liberalization began. Previously they were subordinated to and controlled by the newly formed governments in the process of decolonization.
  5. The Barka Foundation was invited to work with and study African communities in Kenya and Ethiopia, representative sample of Africa wide project and share Barka’s experiences on preventing social exclusion in Poland through, among others, the development of social enterprises. As a result of numerous bilateral study visits to Poland as well as to Kenya and Ethiopia, there has been a European-African Partnership established. The partnership has been registered as international organization in Brussels and it is called „INISE” (International Network of Innovative Social Entrepreneurship). The organization is working on the project’s concept for regeneration of selected African communities including both the development of social enterprises and educational and economic infrastructure. Meanwhile under preparation are a few pilot projects developed in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  6. The development of such initiatives is very important for the development of democratic processes in Africa and can seriously strengthen the processes of poverty prevention. The development of social enterprises will gradually result in a reduction of informal employment ( almost 90 % of society in involved in informal market) , will broaden the access to co-ownership of the means of production and the development of socio-economic infrastructure; it will also enhance an overall economic growth in local communities in Africa.

Tomasz Sadowski – Barka Foundation

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International Network for Innovative Social Entrepreneurship