The national training workshops
The commitment to sustainable consumption and production typically occurs in a consolidated, well-organized civil society, with a critical mass of citizens who are aware of the environmental and social impact of modern society.
Civil Society Organisations (CSO) often play an innovative and pioneering role in this regard, providing the inspiration the society in general. This is why the SwitchMed programme considers it essential to support community-based social eco-innovation initiatives to maximize their influence and impact, thereby contributing to the emergence of more sustainable models of consumption and production.
When thinking of systemic solutions towards sustainable consumption and production, it is important to be conscious of the need to work at several levels, from the individual through to the collective.
In many cases, the link between individual action and structural change is collective action. Collectively organising consumption, retail sale and production, facilitates the creation of true change, even if it is just the creation of a small-scale alternative. For example, in many places, there is little or no access to organic or local foods until someone organises a consumer cooperative, which makes all of it possible.
Possibilities which seem extremely complex or beyond our means as individuals become manageable as a collective. The grouping of people with different aspirations creates a fertile space in which alternatives can grow and multiply.
a) Social and solidarity economy organisations promoting new types of relationships between producers, consumers, distributors and advocacy groups.
b) Networks which bring together civil society organisations and legal entities, for mutual aid, to exchange or share resources, or to widen the impact of their activities.
c) Cooperatives which unite producers and consumers in order to meet needs such as housing, energy, or food, while also ensuring sustainability, equity and social justice.
The national workshop
Intensive 4-day workshops are organised in each of the SwitchMed target countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia), in coordination with our local partners. On average, 20 community initiatives are shortlisted in each country, making a total of 180 initiatives across the programme as a whole.
To this end, a Handbook on ¨ Social Eco-Innovation and Grassroots Initiatives on Sustainable Consumption and Production¨ has been developed by the SwitchMed team.
This Handbook has been developed as a support guide for the creation of a basis of knowledge and understanding for participants of the SwitchMed Programme Civil Society Empowerment Workshops in order to help explore Social Eco-Innovation processes.
The main priorities of this document are to introduce the fields of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and Social Eco-Innovation.
Furthermore, this Handbook presents challenges and opportunities for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Grassroots Initiatives aiming to work within these fields.
The workshop is free of charge.
You can dowlnload here the participant’s grassroots initiatives who have enrolled in the programme:
Content of the workshop:
Using a methodology specially developed for this workshop, the SwitchMed Local Trainers are on hand to offer critical input, advice and guidance, and help you develop social eco-innovation initiatives.
In the workshop, you’ll have the chance to:
- Develop your ideas for social eco- innovation.
- Get strategic advice from the perspective of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).
- Learn about the key requirements that grassroots initiatives entail.
- Challenge the ideas of other participants to identify innovative solutions.
-Build or improve your communication plans.
- Identify solutions for improving the governance of your organisation.
- Exchange views with other pioneers in social eco-innovation in highly participative discussion sessions.
Whom does the workshop address?
The workshop specifically targets initiatives devised by civil society actors who play, or wish to play, a major role in social eco- innovation.
Anyone who fulfills the following requirements can apply:
- Be a representative or member of CSO, NGO, environmental organisations, consumer group, social movement or community-based initiative built around social and ecological innovation.
- Be involved in an innovative civil society led collective project or initiative within a Sustainable Consumption and Production approach
- Be open to learn through participatory approach and have a will to cooperate with other people and initiatives
- Be available during 4 intensive days
Where and when?
The training programme took place in two phases. The first workshops have already been held in Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and Tunisia from late November 2016 to April 2017. The workshop have been taking place for the following countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine in 2016-2017.
How to sign up
Some examples of social and ecological innovation initiatives launched by civil society:
Organic products consumer groups, collaborative and shared consumption initiatives, ethical funding cooperatives, housing cooperatives and associations working to promote sustainable lifestyles and the development of sustainable buildings, renewable energy cooperatives and consumer groups, social initiatives designed to reduce the consumption of energy and resources and the production of waste, etc.
For example, in Algeria, the THAZMURTH environmental association try to recycle contaminant waste stemming from olive oil extraction activity in the Takerboust region, in the Bouira Province, in order to obtain at the end of the process a compost which can be used as a natural fertilizer. The project also aims to promote the culture of waste recycling and the protection of the environment within civil society.
Sekem is an Egyptian cooperative launched in 1977 whose aim is to turn desert into fertile soil through biodynamic organic agriculture practices. Growing to now incorporate processing companies, it controls the whole value chain from farm to supermarkets. Sekem has helped over 700 farmers in Egypt shift from conventional to organic agriculture.
For implementing the training programme in the different countries, the SCP/RAC in charge of the ‘civil society empowerment’ component of SwitchMed works in collaboration with the following Local Partners:
- Morocco: Association des enseignants des sciences de la vie et de la terre (AESVT - Association of Life and Earth Sciences Teachers)
- Algeria: Djan Atu Al Arif Mediterranean Foundation for Sustainable Development
- Tunisia: LAB’ESS
- Lebanon: Green Line
- Egypt: The Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe
- Jordan: The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
- Palestine: The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem
- Israel: The heshel Sustainability Center
The SCP/RAC, partner of SwitchMed, also draws on the coordination and support of the Environment Ministries of each country involved.