What did ILO COOP/SSE do around the global COVID-19 pandemic?

News | 04 December 2020
The public health crisis around COVID-19 had severe social and economic implications on workers and businesses worldwide. Cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy (SSE) enterprises were also affected with the dwindling economic activities and the growing social needs.

At ILO COOP we started by documenting experiences from partner organizations and cooperatives, including in India, Italy, and Republic of Korea during COVID-19. This was followed by an article where we highlighted the different sectoral responses of cooperatives and wider SSE organizations in agriculture, public utilities, retail, financial, social and other services. We summarized the highlights from this article in a blog that was featured by Cooperative News.

In the framework of ongoing development cooperation projects, the ILO has included the impact of COVID-19 in cooperative needs assessments to better understand and address current and future needs. In Tunisia, direct financial and technical support is being provided to SSE organizations hit by the crisis. We have also adapted some of our training tools, like Think.Coop, for online use when face to face meetings are not possible due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Early on in the crisis, we were asked by ILO constituents and cooperative and SSE partners for resources on crises response. We gathered the key ILO resources on the topic and made them accessible under a webpage. We have also prepared and sent a solidarity letter and video message to partner organizations around the world and prepared a longer and a shorter video, subtitled in English, French and Spanish, that highlighted cooperative and SSE responses to the global pandemic. 

The UNTFSSE, as chaired by the ILO, has also created a repository page on SSE responses to COVID-19 gathering information from all its members, issued a statement and organized two webinars on Social and Solidarity Economy in the post COVID-19 crisis recovery, one in July 2020 and one in October 2020. In addition to highlighting COVID-19 related issues in our own webinars, we also took part in webinars of partner organizations, including those organized by Youth Deal Cooperative, Open Innovation Campus, and GSEF.

During the five ILO COOP 100 webinars, the speakers also reflected on their engagements with their members and wider communities on COVID-19 response. At ILO COOP, we continue to share ILO resources on COVID-19 with cooperative and SSE partners through our events, enews, and social media channels.