Solidarity Economy in Improving the Sustainability of Civil Society Organizations

In order to strengthen the solidarity economy movement, Indonesia for Humanity (IKa) again held a second webinar on August 25, 2021 with the title “Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Connectedness in a Solidarity Economic Ecosystem”. This webinar explores the relationship between social movements and economic movements as outlined in a civil society organization. As a principle, solidarity economy can be applied in a social movement by taking into account the values ​​of solidarity, cooperation, equality, sustainability, democracy, and pluralism. The presentation of the solidarity economy and CSOs was delivered by the Executive Director of IKA, Sugiarto Arif Santoso. The solidarity economy is a worldwide movement to build a just and sustainable economy. Sugiarto also added that the solidarity economy requires a shift in the economic paradigm from one that prioritizes profit and growth to one that prioritizes living in harmony with fellow humans and with nature.

CSOs as an entity of the civil society movement are in line with the solidarity economy which places its siding on humans and nature. Sugiarto continued, that cooperatives (credit unions) as entities from the solidarity economy have several patterns of connection between CSOs as entities of the civil society movement. At least three patterns were found. First, CSOs that integrate the solidarity economy into one of the missions of the organization. The first pattern is quite popularly used by CSOs, but not much can continue after a crisis in organizational structure. Second, the solidarity economy which dedicates most of its profits to financing social and environmental movements. This pattern is not widely used by credit unions in issues such as nature conservation and economic development. However, the issue of gender equality and human rights is not yet popular. Third, the reciprocity relationship between CSOs and cooperatives (credit unions). This third pattern is not yet popularly applied by CSOs or cooperatives. The challenge of this pattern is the intention and strategy of the organization which is often considered not in line with the direction of the organization.

The many obstacles faced by CSOs cannot be separated from how the application of the solidarity economy in an organization can make changes both internal and external to the organization. The existence of a strong relationship between CSOs and economic entities such as cooperatives and social enterprises can make the growth of organizational independence and the circulation of economic flows in the actualization of joint activities with marginalized communities which develops how empowerment and funding are carried out through the herbal production process. According to Theresia Eko, the supervisor of the herbal medicine mother in Sragen, by implementing a solidarity economy that pays attention to the welfare of the herbal medicine mothers during the pandemic. Through the principles of empowerment that are applied, the movement becomes a strategy to increase the economy through maximizing the utilization of the competence of herbal medicine production and sales, to self-development to move forward together in difficult times during this pandemic. Not only paying attention to increasing sales, but how herbal medicine mothers can increase their concern for others and for nature and its sustainability.

In addition, the principle of solidarity economy applied through Pesada Perempuan also strengthens women’s political aspects, especially in North Sumatra. According to Ramida Sinaga, Pesada’s finance and fundraising coordinator, women’s economic and political movements are manifested in cooperatives that increase economic flows and embody women’s leadership. Pesada hones the skills of its cadres to become women leaders who are able to strengthen a grassroots political economy that is gender-equal, inclusive, sustainable, and influential from local to international. The solidarity economy movement is also implemented by applying simple principles through economic cycles in the village, building the village economy by developing production so that money from outside the village can enter the village, to balancing nature and human cooperation by maximizing each other’s potential and still paying attention to the sustainability of the ecosystem. . Lian Gogali, as the founder and director of the Mosintuwu institute, believes that how cooperation in the village with the organization in it can provide daily needs without relying on production outside the village. This movement will help increase one’s strong sense of belonging to the community down to one’s own village. This will affect the preservation of nature to ensure the welfare of the village community.

The variety of real solutions that have been carried out by civil society organizations to the success of the solidarity economy shows that the key to the application of the principles of the solidarity economy is one that drives the success of the movement. In addition, organizations must also be able to work together in managing the solidarity economy model that will be applied. Steps that can be taken are to add more networks through webinars, workshops, and continue to conduct substantial discussions to increase the success of the economic movement carried out.

If you are interested in developing a solidarity economy with Indonesia for humanity, let’s join the solidarity economy learning community. Please click the link below.

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