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Social and Solidarity Economy

Colombia | Tu, yo, nosotros

Education and Solidarity Network
April 20, 2019

Origins of the project

In 2014, ESN and its Colombian partners (mutuals, social economy and institutional players) encouraged a reflection on the development of a social protection education pilot programme, consisting of theoretical and practical modules of which one focusing on mutuality for young people. A programme that, from the beginning, has distinguished itself by its innovative character, but has also benefited from a favourable situation in 2016 following the adoption of the Colombian 1780 law of 2 May 2016 on youth entrepreneurship.

Creation of RES Mesa Colombia

To coordinate the project, the RES Mesa Colombia was created in December 2014. It is composed of, amongst others, Gestarsalud, the International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM), the Colombian Ministry of Education, the Education and Solidarity Network, the International School for Mutuality and Social Protection, universities and youth representatives. RES Mesa Colombia wishes to give visibility to the “community solidarity entrepreneurship” model, so that it becomes a real opportunity for young people. This type of entrepreneurship will enable them to improve their quality of life, as well as that of their families.

Initial training “Tú, yo, nosotros” in Soacha

In 2016, the training and education project on social protection for young people in Colombia entitled “Tú, yo, nosotros” emerged, and was aimed at:

  • Raising awareness, training and mobilising young people around issues of social protection
  • Positioning the social and solidarity economy as an alternative model for the development of integral social protection.
  • Encouraging an innovative synergy between young people, the public sector, the academic sector, professionals and international actors

In early 2017, the pilot project resulted in a week of training-action being held in Soacha, a neighbouring municipality of Bogota. Integrating the objectives mentioned above, the training was given to twenty young people through community intelligence tools. This training of trainers allows young people in turn to become Solidarity ambassadors in their community and provides them with the tools to initiate solidarity.

Designing of a training course in social and solidarity entrepreneurship

Following this initial training, the various project stakeholders decided to create a longer and more in-depth training. This new training aims to give theoretical and practical knowledge on the Social and Solidarity Economy to understand the issues and complexity. It is also designed to enable young people to imagine and make their entrepreneurial solidarity projects a reality.

On 22 May 2018, the ESN signed a collaboration agreement with Gestarsalud regarding this training programme, thus affirming the harmony of the values of this project and those of the Network.

The role of RES Mesa Colombia

In order to develop the training, RES Mesa Colombia joined the Soacha Municipality’s Mesa de Inclusion Productiva, made up of more than 25 governmental, academic and non-governmental organisations. Within the Mesa de Inclusion Productiva ESN Mesa Colombia took part in the “Entrepreneurship” commission, also called “Collaborative Platform of Dynamic Companies” in order to :

  • identify, at a regional level, the institutional make-up linked to entrepreneurial policies and the potential collaborations to influence these policies in the Soacha territory;
  • develop tools to promote strategies for consolidating the platform by identifying its characteristics and the role of its stakeholders;
  • identify and prioritise strategic actions within the framework of the Regional Entrepreneurship Policy.

Thus, RES Mesa Colombia contributed to the construction of the “POT, Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial” and the “Politica Publica de Productividad y Competitividad de Soacha”. Through its involvement in developing public policies, it helps to consolidate the territory’s capacity in terms of employability and entrepreneurship, in order to create an economic and institutional environment favourable to solidarity enterprises.

Solidarity entrepreneurship training

The training has been developed by the members of the RES Mesa Colombia.

The training has four modules:

  • “Kaizen”, a method for the improvement of living conditions
  • Complete social protection with a focus on health 
  • Dynamic, collective solidarity entrepreneurship and “mutual intelligence”
  • “Coopetividad Global” co-operative and mutual networks

Since August 2018, there are twenty-one young women – fifteen of whom are or have been teenage mothers, from Soacha who are participating in this training. A Social Contact Centre, place of support for solidarity projects, will be launched at the end of the training and allow for the long-term support of young female entrepreneurs.

Find more information on the programme “Tu, Yo, Nosotros”, here.


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