Social and Solidarity Economy

SSE Webinar Session 2

Home-Based Workers from Latin America, Africa, South Asia and SouthEast Asia shared their experiences on the Social and Solidarity Economy.

With the objective of continuing the conversation around the importance of the Social and Solidarity Economy for home-based workers around the world, HomeNet International hosted its second webinar on SSE on January 28, 2022.

Simel Esim, who leads ILO’s portfolio on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy, gave the opening remarks and provided expert inputs on the values and principles around SSE, as well the opportunities MBO’s like HNI will have this year during the ILC’s general discussion which will also be on SSE.

Mirai Chatterjee, Director of the Social Security Team at SEWA and Chairperson of WIEGO, chaired the webinar and began by sharing the journey of SEWA Cooperative Federation, the types of organisations that belong to the Federation, their principles, values and the type of services they offer.
Home-based worker representatives from Africa, Latin America, South Asia and SouthEast Asia shared their experiences, challenges and learnings, from the SSE organisations they represent:

Josephine C. Parilla, President of PATAMABA - WISE (Philippines),

shared how the organisation ventured into diverse products, like, bakery, homecare, rugs and doormat production, food and garment manufacturing, and later on created a community kitchen and urban gardening, in collaboration with with national and regional agencies, as well as the local government of Angono. The community- based model they’ve chosen for their organisation has developed food resiliency and income sustainability during the pandemic for their members..

Tadelech Weldesembet, of Women in Self-Employment (Ethiopia)

shared how the organisation she helped create - Aster, Tadelech and Friends Enterprise is a small producer cooperative that makes washable and reusable sanitary pads and diapers. She mentioned that their products are mainly distributed to members of a community, as well as NGOs.

Rashim Beda, of SEWA (India)

gave the example of Dura Sundari, a cooperative owned and managed by the ready made garment worker members of SEWA. The majority of women ready garment workers are home-based workers. The main objective of the cooperative is to provide threads and other raw materials to garment home-based workers at less than retail price. This cooperative has particularly been helpful during times of crisis like the pandemic.

Edileuza Guimarães, President of ATEMDO (Brazil)

different types of members who produce and sell varied products. They organize collectively, practicing solidarity from the acquisition of raw materials through collective purchases, productive arrangements in networks and collaborative marketing practicings.

After each speaker shared how their organisation functions and what their main challenges and learnings have been, Mirai Chatterjee summarised these as follows:

mind set changes – from workers to owners and managers, working capital, enterprise development, leadership, access to raw materials, marketing, competition, policies and regulations and gender digital divide – access to technology.

After each speaker shared how their organisation functions and what their main challenges and learnings have been, Mirai Chatterjee summarised these as follows:
Organising is the first critical building block, SSE organisations are collective businesses and must make a profit, strong leadership and good governance are critical for development of collective and financial sustainability, working capital is an ongoing need, a business plan is needed with the help of professionals, market intelligence is necessary to establish niche opportunities, access to raw materials affect financial viability, marketing linkages (online and offline) are required, social protection with livelihood support is essential, digital literacy is needed in order to obtain raw materials and marketing, enabling policies are needed for the growth of SSEs and joint action of unions and cooperatives strengthen both and build greater solidarity.

Janhavi Dave, HNI International Coordinator, summarised how the different SSE models each organisation uses have social commonalities, such as the values, how the organisation benefits its members, particularly for recovery from COVID-19, as well as the environmental benefits. She mentioned that everyone spoke about solidarity – membership based organisations, democracy and having a people centred approach and economy. The reason these organisations came to be is because of a conscious choice of creating an organisation in order to have access to markets and self sustainability, despite the challenges.

In her Way Forward, Janhavi insisted this dialogue needs to continue through capacity building training on SSE and access to markets, knowledge sharing, peer learning and by advocating and participating in the upcoming ILC, especially by providing case studies of home-based workers and their SSE.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Laura Revelo

HNI Communications Officer