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APAY ECM Learning Session on Social and Solidarity Economy

Date of Publication: 
March 2018
Publication Type: 
Article/Policy paper



APAY ECM Learning Session on Social and Solidarity Economy


Rev. Kyong Yong Song, co-chair of GSEF was invited by the Asia Pacific Alliances of YMCAs (APAY) as a special lecturer on the Social and Solidarity Economy for around 100 members of the APAY executive committee on the 15th of March, 2018 at the YMCA City View Hotel in Hong Kong. As a part of their annual executive committee meeting, the APAY, a GSEF Steering Committee Member, included the topic in their learning session in order to attract the members’ attention on the issue and put them into the action plan for each country chapter of their members.

Considering that the network is based on the Christian belief, Rev. Song started his lecture on the role of Christian leaders at the beginning of the SSE movements by mentioning exemplary figures such as Father Jose Maria Arizmendiarietta from Mondragon, Catholic leaders in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Pastor Kagawa Toyohiko as a father of the cooperative movement in Kobe, Japan, or the role of YMCAs in early consumer cooperative movements in Korea.

Then he focused on why this alternative economic movement is re-emerged after the financial crisis in the last decade. Since the most of the audiences were from Asia Pacific Region, the emphasis was put on to the social and environmental issues of Asia - including unfair distribution of the wealth, natural disasters due to the climate change, aging population, etc. – and the potential of the SSE as a viable strategy to tackle those imminent issues.

As evidences for the argument that the SSE can be powerful solutions for current challenges in Asia, various cases of SSE initiatives were introduced afterwards and most of them were led by the young practitioners in Asia. From a social housing project to fair trade groups, in many countries of Asia-pacific region the youth are making changes in their communities and societies through SSE activities and drivers of innovation for more sustainable and inclusive future.

A Series of questions were asked to the audiences at the closing part of the lecture; How far have we come since the industrial revolution, the starting point of the SSE movement? How much freedom have we earned? How equal have we become? How much are we in solidarity with neighbors and how much are we responsible for each other? Then Rev. Song made a closing remark that the SSE movements has still a long way to go until the center of economy move back to people over profits, and asked for the APAY members’ participation in the GSEF network.

At the Q & A session followed the lecture, many of APAY members asked for future cooperation through GSEF. A representative from Penang, Malaysia, introduced a community business ideas to use their campsite for locals, and asked for more specialized consulting from other SSE actors in other countries. Mr. Nam Boo Won, the secretary general of APAY, suggested a collaborative training project for their young members, which could help them to find their social missions and develop the ideas as a social business plan. Rev. Song gladly received those invaluable suggestions and promised to include them in future action plans of GSEF.