human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Webinar series: human-centred economy
17 September 2020, Webinar 2
Webinar Series Proposal
In the framework of the CARES project and the MIND project, and building on the collaboration collaboration between the Caritas Europa network, we are organising a webinar series on human-centred economy and Catholic Social Teaching (CST), with particular attention to the role of the private sector and social economy enterprises in this context. There is a growing international consensus on the fact that the predominant model of human progress is no longer sustainable and that social and economic inequalities are on the rise. Caritas Internationalis’ and Caritas Europa’s current strategic frameworks take that into account and incorporate in their mission an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity of the excluded, and contributing to integral human development.
The webinars will offer a platform for Caritas organisations to showcase how their actions contribute to a fair and sustainable economy in collaboration with the private sector or through the development of social economy enterprises. The webinars will also give them the opportunity to discuss how Caritas can play a more active role in enhancing the social contributions of private sector actors and in transforming the existing economy into a human-centred one. While there is a common thread across all the webinars, each one may be followed as a stand-alone.
Webinar #2 focuses on the experience of Caritas in developing social economy enterprises (SEE) in Europe, and particularly in enabling and promoting an ecosystem approach to social economy. Social economy enterprises are seen as important actions to promote inclusive labour markets, particularly for those social groups in more vulnerable situations (people experiencing poverty, long-term unemployed, single parents, migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, etc.). A strong ecosystem, defined as the existence of contextual conditions, such as active local communities, reliable institutional partnerships, or appropriate legislative frameworks, can help social economy initiatives to flourish. Drawing on the experience of the Caritas ELBA project, this webinar aims to provide participants with insights and lessons learned from the application of the ecosystem approach to several countries in South East Europe, and to discuss the potential application of such experiences to other European countries or those in the Global South.
Webinar Series Background
There is a growing international consensus on the fact that the predominant model of human progress is no longer sustainable for either our planet or its people. As Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’, we need an alternative to the globalisation of indifference and to place the economy at the service of peoples. Taking this into account in Caritas Internationalis (CI)’s and Caritas Europa’s strategic frameworks and incorporating it in an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity of the excluded, and contributing to integral human development, this approach pays specific attention to socio-economic inequalities and to the fact that existing economic structures perpetuate or even exacerbate the former. For example, this is evident by the erosion of working standards and/or access to social and economic rights. A discussion on the importance of economic fairness and social/economic justice in international development is thus aligned with Caritas’ mission to foster a people-centred economy, feasible models of social inclusion, and development processes that are not just about the material dimension, but about the whole human person.
Human-Centred Economy in International Development
Webinar #2 – Transferring European experiences in devising human-centred economies overseas
One way of fostering a more human-centred economy is through the promotion of Social Economy Enterprises (SEEs). The social economy model challenges us to think in different ways about our economy and to go beyond a ‘do no harm’ approach. Rather than focusing on generating individual wealth and maximising profits, it prioritises social objectives and social values through innovative solutions to involve people far from the labour market holistically and effectively in training and job opportunities. Seriously concerned about the fair distribution of economic resources, inequalities, and the exploitation of people for financial gain, Caritas recognises the importance of addressing the causes of poverty and advocating for EU policies and practices that foster a responsible and sustainable economy. For this reason, Caritas has been active in the promotion of social economy enterprises in Europe and now we are eager to transfer these positive experience in the area of international development as well.
This is especially relevant, as fundamental changes are needed in the way our economies function, made particularly clear during the COVID19 pandemic. For this to occur, alternative development strategies and economic models that foster human integral development, sustainability and inclusiveness are needed. In addition, we seek to achieve development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner. With concrete social, institutional and technological innovations, investing in SEEs can also play a crucial role in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda transformative principles:
Leaving no one behind: reach the people and groups hardest to reach first.
Participation and dialogue: engagement of local communities in the development of social enterprises.
Universality: reach the most excluded wherever there is poverty and exclusion.
Human rights: human dignity through the access to basic social rights.
SEEs can function in a variety of fields and contribute to all SDGs. In particular, they are a valuable means to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8).
One way to promote SEEs is via an ecosystem approach. This approach argues that it is not sufficient to promote social economy initiatives per se if other important environmental conditions are not in place, such as strong collaboration between government institutions and civil society, a solid welfare and social protection system, as well as more general policies that facilitate the development and sustainability of SEEs. While many of these elements already exist in several European countries, they are sometime weaker or missing in some European countries as well as in the Global South. The absence of an eco-system can therefore threaten the viability of SEEs altogether in a given country, even when individual projects per se are sound and solid.
In light of the innovative and transformative power of SEEs, this webinar will offer a platform for an exchange on promising practices of social economy initiatives in Europe, serving as a source of inspiration for international development programmes and projects implemented by Caritas organisations in developing countries. More specifically, this webinar aims to present Caritas’ ecosystem approach by drawing on the experience of the network’s ELBA project, while also highlighting the potential of transferring such experiences to other countries in Europe and to the Global South.
The ELBA project started in 2015 as a joint proposal among the Caritas organisations in South East Europe for the development of Social Economy and social innovation initiatives in the region as a tool to promote new forms of social inclusion of the most vulnerable. One of the main components of the ELBA project is the development of a proper ecosystem for Social Economy in South East Europe, by activating local communities, promoting dialogue among different stakeholders and lobbying national institutions for an enabling legislative framework for Social Economy Enterprises to flourish. Caritas organisations in the following countries are involved in the project: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Spain, and the USA.
Florian Pomper is Head of Innovation at Caritas Vienna. Prior to his current position he worked in various managing positions at Caritas and was Managing Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Nonprofit Research at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. On the European level he is part of the Caritas Europa Social Economy task group and has been member of the Expert Group on the social business initiative for the European Commission. He also serves as executive board member of Ithuba, an NGO running township schools in South Africa. Florian has a business background with focus on Nonprofit-Management
Shannon Pfohman, is the Policy and Advocacy Director of Caritas Europa, where she oversees the advocacy work of the European network in the areas of social economy, social rights and policy, migration and asylum, development policy, and humanitarian aid. Prior to this, she worked as the Deputy Director of Policy at the European Network against Racism in Brussels and was the Competence Centre Manager for Equal Opportunity in the Migration and Qualification Department of the Confederation of German Trade Unions’ in Düsseldorf. Her Master’s Degree was in Intercultural Communication and Conflict Management, attained at the Alice-Salomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and her PhD, attained at the Free University in Berlin, provided a comparison of the modalities of integration based on a sample of Bosnian refugees in Berlin and Chicago.
Antonio Fantasia was born and raised in Rome, Italy. He studied law, human rights and business administration. He managed several cooperation for development programs as country coordinator in South East Europe (mainly Kosovo, Albania and Serbia) in the area of social and inclusive economy, labour migration and organisation development. He worked 10 years in the region for Caritas Italiana, IOM, the Italian Ministry of Labour and other NGOs. During the last 4 years, as policy officer for Caritas Europa, he steered, among other tasks, the CE Social Economy experts Task Force. Along his career Antonio has developed expertise in designing collective and innovative initiatives and in engaging the community by developing strategic relationships with relevant stakeholders and potential partners. He is specialised in providing advice and expertise to social economy organisations and public institutions to maximise the social impact and sustainability of their actions. He has recently moved to London and works as a consultant. Father of 6-year-old twins, he is a photographer and a jazz/funk vinyls heavy listener.
Daniele Bombardi holds a Master’s Degree in International Relationships and Political Sciences. Since 2006, He was the Regional Coordinator for Caritas Italiana in South East Europe. Based in Sarajevo, he has managed different projects related to Social Economy, inclusion of people with disabilities, and Social Innovation – especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia. Since 2015 he is coordinating at regional level the implementation of the project “ELBA – Development of Social Economy in South East Europe”, guiding and supporting the national Caritas in 8 countries of the region in systematically approaching the Social Economy sector. He has experience also in Accompaniment and Organizational Development of the local Caritas organizations, and in this role he is member of the Caritas Europa OD Action Group and the ODSS Task Force since 2016. Recently he has been involved in the Research Team assessing the Covid-19 impact on Civil Society Organizations in South East Europe.
Marko Djelovic, born in Bar, Montenegro, 1972. Education: Faculty of Maritime Studies and Faculty of Business Economics. Working engagement in Caritas: since 1998 project coordinator in Caritas of the Archdiocese of Bar; since 2011 director of Caritas Montenegro.
Tsvetomir Doumanov has been the Executive director of the diocesan Caritas Sofia since 2009. Before he was international cooperation officer at the national office and representative of Caritas Bulgaria in the Parish Social Ministry partnership in South Eastern Europe.
Facilitator: Florian Pomper (Caritas Austria)
14:00h – 14:05h: Welcoming remarks and introduction (Shannon Pfohman, Caritas Europa – TBC)
14:05h – 14:15h: Introducing the ecosystem approach and its relevance for Global South countries (Antonio Fantasia, Independent Consultant)
14:15h – 14:30h: Presentation of the ELBA project: an overview (Daniele Bombardi, Caritas Italiana and researcher University of Turin)
14:30h – 14:40h: Presentation on strengthening institutional relationships with the government: the example of Montenegro (Marko Djelovic, Caritas Montenegro)
14:40h – 14:50h: Presentation on establishing an SEE in Bulgaria: the “Bistro Caristo” (Tsvetomir Doumanov, Caritas Sofia and Bistro Caristo)
14:50h – 15:25h: Q&A session
15:25h – 15:30h: Final remarks and closure
Who can attend
This webinar is open only to members of the Caritas network.
Although participants are invited to attend all webinars, these are stand-alone webinars, which do not require consistent participation.
The webinar will be conducted in English.
This is an online event. You will be able to connect via GoToWebinar. You will receive detailed instructions on how to connect and a link to the webinar upon registration.
This event has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). For further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi