Break your quarantine with a cultural gift from the social economy!

Nicholas Clark

Author: Nicholas Clark

Having fun is such an important part of life. After a year and a half of lockdown and the repeated “I wish we could”, “If only” or “what I would give to be able to…” things are finally starting to open up! So how do we balance the very real need for a return to normal, with the also very real fact that some communities will continue to suffer the consequence of the pandemic?

A little background first; it is only in the coming months/years that we will truly understand the full cost of the pandemic, beyond our own inconvenience and boredom.  More importantly, while fun was put on hold; society´s problems, unfortunately, were not. Existing inequalities have been exacerbated, people in rural areas have been disproportionately affected and nations in the Global South have suffered further blows to often fractured infrastructure and poor health systems. Societies in the global south can be more vulnerable to disasters due to deep underlying factors such as lack of trust/ stability in government, poor health systems, crowded cities and greater difficulty in spreading news to all areas, among others. Take this example from Heinrich Böll Stiftung (a foundation that fights for democracy and human rights, argues for social-ecological change, pleads for a solidary Europe and an equal social participation of all citizens), entitled: Covid-19 in the Global South

In simple terms, a woman in Nigeria has a 1 in 22 risk of ‘dying during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum/post-abortion’. The emergence of Covid-19 significantly stressed the health sector, creating a fresh set of challenges. The modest resources which the sector receives from national and sub-national budgets had to be spent on responding to the new challenges engendered by the outbreak

Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation Tweet

So why am I telling you all of this? Is it to make you feel guilty for desiring a return to your normal life, wherever that may be? Is it to sour the taste of freedom that we so need? Of course not. It is actually to encourage you to get out there, to have fun, live a better social life and whilst doing so, have a think about where you can have fun and the positive impact that could have!

The Social Economy as a Festive Solution

Opportunities are out there, as a part of a social economy, where you can not only get a cultural fix; you can let loose, hear live music, participate in workshops, dance, party, drink, eat and buy things for your home! A great example of this is a recent festival in Brussels, Festival l’Afrique En Couleurs!

Here you could do all of the above, while many of the workshops and stalls were run by associations, which reinvest their profits to help vulnerable populations in Africa. This well-run festival gives us a chance to release ourselves out from captivity, while backing a social economy that supports local populations, raises awareness of African culture in our cities, helps us to expand our own horizons and facilitate cultural integration and acceptance…What a way to spend your time (and money!). So take a look at what is out there and see if you can find similar examples! Contact us via contact@socialeconomy.eu.org if you know of more!

Among the many associations present, we introduce you to two great examples!

Litiombe ASBL

Litiombe is a non-profit association which aims to provide financial and material assistance to families with premature children in Africa.

Agopode

The Agopode association acts to change the outlook of Togolese society on vulnerable populations. Agopode is a Togolese association committed to the sustainable development of underprivileged populations. It acts to change the outlook of Togolese society on vulnerable

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