Solidarity Club Meetup in Helsinki

On the 17 October, the Malaysian speakers of the SuSY Speaker Tour (Dr Jun-E Tan and Dr. Welyne Jeffrey Jehom) were invited to dinner at the Oma Maa food cooperative in Helsinki with the Finnish Solidarity Economy Network (FSEN). The website for FSEN is http://commons.fi (but is currently down for maintenance).

Ruby van der Wekken, representative of the FSEN, was the host of the event, attended by about ten members of the network. Some of the organisations participating in the Solidarity Club dinner included:

  • Eetisen Kaupan Puolesta (Eetti), or Pro Ethical Trade Finland, an NGO that promotes equitable global trade, sustainable production and responsible consumption. Eetti is also the Finnish host for the SuSY Project.
  • Stadin Aikapankki – Helsinki Timebank, which facilitates the exchange of services using time (calculated by hours) as a currency.
  • Osuuskunta Oma Maa, or Cooperative Own Land, a local organic food co-operative which runs a community-supported agriculture programme

To give some idea of the activities of the Finnish national network on solidarity economy, here is a record of some of the issues discussed.

The global connection

Updates were given by Ms Wekken on the RIPESS annual meeting held in France in June 2016. During the RIPESS meeting, issues that arose included the cooptation of the solidarity economy space in different countries, the importance of forming alliances with other like-minded actors, and the importance of developing indicators. It was noted that there are different positions on developing legal frameworks (or not), and that funding remains to be a problem. Mapping was also discussed during the annual meeting.

Two initiatives were highlighted on mapping SSE and similar initiatives, including ESS Global and TransforMap.

Mapping the Finnish solidarity economy

On activities at the Finnish Solidarity Economy Network, a mapping effort has begun by identifying SE actors and interviewing them. The current map, which is still a work in progress, can be accessed here and includes the following organisations:

  • Oma Maa (Helsinki)
  • Elävä maa luomupiiri (Helsinki)Stadin aikapankki (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Jalavala (Helsinki)
  • Vaatelainaamo Vaaterekki (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Ehta Raha (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Hyväntekijä (Joensuu)
  • Kirjakahvilan (Turku)
  • Tampereen Annikki (Tampere)
  • Suomen Talkoot ry (Tampere)
  • Uusruukki (Tampere)

Besides geographical mapping, some case studies have already been done through interviewing the organisations within the list above, on their operations and involvement in the solidarity economy. These cases will be uploaded on SDG-SSE.org after being translated from Finnish to English, which a member of the network has volunteered to do.

The interview questionnaire can be accessed here [link to be inserted after the commons.fi website goes up]. Members of the network were encouraged to add to the list of known organisations and initiatives, and to help in the interviewing if possible.

Future activities

An SSE manifesto in Finnish was circulated among the members and proposed to be updated using Google Docs.

In November, the FSEN will participate in the European Commons Assembly organised by the Commons Network. In December there will also be a major event by the FSEN to build a confederation of cooperatives.

#Finland