Social and Solidarity Economy Network anticipates ‘more disruption’ in ’21
The Puerto Rico Social and Solidarity Economy Network’s (Red ESSPR, in Spanish) development agenda for 2021 will include increasing the scope of its efforts to facilitate more alliances across economic sectors, educate the community, and strengthen a dozen initiatives carried out this year, among them trade exchanges, financial agreements, and national representation in international events.
“This was a year of unprecedented challenges for humanity. In the case of Red ESSPR, we witnessed how it stimulated the spirit of solidarity in such a profound way that initiatives that had been developed for months finally took shape,” said Amarilys Roldán-Reyes, president of the Red ESSPR’s Coordinating Committee.
“For example, in our Second International Meeting on Social and Solidarity Economy in Puerto Rico: Linkage and Strength, eight communities of interest were established, some of which were able to consolidate and execute projects before the end of this year,” she said.
Red ESSPR was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico this year to support other organizations in the solidarity economy sector. It emerged in 2019 as a result of the First International Meeting on Social and Solidarity Economy, which was attended by some 200 participants representing more than 130 entities.
This year’s event was virtual and approximately 100 people attended. The eight communities of interest or committees constituted to elaborate initiatives were: Solidarity finance; education; public policy; goods and services; agriculture; tourism; community economic development; and community services.
The Red ESSPR’s work has brought together representatives from the financial, cooperative, academic, business, environmental and nonprofit sectors, as well as entrepreneurs and individuals whose common cause is the development of an economy based on solidarity.
Some 16 organizations have participated in the Community of Interest in Solidarity Finance, including the Cooperative Institute of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), the Jesús Obrero Savings and Credit Cooperative, the Sagrada Familia Savings and Credit Cooperative, the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, Inclusiv, Lendreams (COFECC), Latino Economic Development Center, Grupo Legal Acosta & Díaz, Sol Economics, Pathstone, Access All Services and Colmena 66.
FIDECOOP and Causa Local, also part of this community of interest, recently reached an agreement to facilitate microloans of up to $15,000 at 0% interest through the Kiva ‘crowd-lending’ platform, for local businesses that qualify, as this media outlet reported.