The Mediterranean Lab for Co-production 

of Social Innovation

MADRID: co-production of SSE and Migration policies 2015-2018[v]

  • Policies: the three policies included in this case were Migration, Employment and SSE and included both soft and hard type policies. It succeeded in implementing some actions in the area of emergency help (temporary shelters) but not with other relevant needs such as “not the social or phycological support that refugees and asylum seekers very frequently need” or employment and other economic and social support initiatives. It also failed in introduction a higher degree of coordination/integration between these three policies. As stated by (Franco Alonso and Ballesteros Pena 2019) “This has been a great missed opportunity to make SSE organizations an effective and efficient tool to the social insertion and the labour activation of disadvantaged groups, among them a certain fraction of the most vulnerable international immigrants”.
  • SSE dimension: Madrid city council developed a series of relevant policy initiatives to support SSE at local level. Thus, a “Social and Solidarity Economy Strategy of the city of Madrid 2018-2025” was approved and published by Madrid City Council public in 2018. This strategy benefited from the collaboration with key actors of SSE including the local Network (REAS Madrid). Besides, this, a pilot project addressing employment and social economy: MARES project with funds by the EU. On the migration side, there were a series of institutional policies such as the declaration “Madrid city, land of asylum”, or the raising of a flag with the message “Refugees Welcome” in the middle of the refugee crisis of 2015. The city council also designed the “Strategic Plan for Human Rights of the Madrid City Council (2017-2018)” with measures to guarantee comprehensive social care and specifically, measures for labour insertion, housing and legal advice through the appropriate management formula”. It also joined the International Cities of Refuge Network created by the Barcelona city on 28 August 2015 and the Spanish Network of Municipalities for the Reception of Refugees (2015). In these policies there were a series of measures and funding for big NGOs (4 million Euros to co-finance projects aimed at improving the lives of refugees).
  • Social Innovation: the most innovative were the MARES project[vi] which aimed at an urban transformation through social and solidarity economy initiatives, the creation of local and quality employment and the promotion of another city model. It was implemented in four districts of the city of Madrid and “developed around urban and economic resilience, that is, the capacity of people together with technologies and ecosystems to adapt to unforeseen situations. Translated in the city of Madrid, this capacity refers to the numerous experiences that citizens have developed to face the crisis: self-employment initiatives, recovery of spaces in disuse or networks of economy or mutual support” (Franco Alonso and Ballesteros Pena, 2019).
  • Co-production: SSE actors were included in the design of the strategy and were key partners in the implementation of it. We do not know if they were also engaged in the co-evaluation. Meanwhile key NGOs also consulted in the strategy for refugees.

ANTANANARIVO: Participatory management of solid waste pre-collection in Antananarivo (Madagascar)[vii]

The city of Antananarivo is administratively divided into six districts and 192 Fokontany (neighborhoods), each with a municipal office. The upper city, located on the hills, includes the city center and the more affluent neighborhoods, while the lower city, a flood zone located on former rice fields and swamps, includes most of the poor neighborhoods. In this area the collection of household waste was hindered by the narrow streets and the flooded areas. As a result, many citizen dumped their waste directly on to the street and flooded areas.

  • Policies: health, sanitation, and waste management. An international NGO, ENDA OCEAN INDIEN, designed and launched a project aimed a pre-collecting waste starting on 1996. The aim was to set up pre-collection systems for household waste. Such precollection was to be implemented by local citizens which would Pre-collection consists of collecting waste from households and depositing it in SAMVA’s large refuse bins.

Such project included a systemic participatory dimension with the local community involved in the different stages:

  1. Participatory decision: if the citizens accepted to pay the fee for the new service of waste collection
  2. Participatory management: setting up a management committee
  3. “Participatory implementation”: selection of staff and co-decision of the location of collecting bags (BACS).
  4. Cultural events to foster sensibilization and awareness raising
  5. Training and support for committees: financial management included to foster sustainability

The project includes three levels of management/implementation: ENDA (NGO) /FONKONTANY (NEIGHBORHOOD)/LOCAL COMMITTEES.

The project included four stages:

  1. Sensibilization
  2. Pilot project of pre-collection for home waste
  3. Upgrade and development through the setting up of a composting site
  4. Transfer of the pilot project to an independent SME
  • SSE dimension: in this case there are two dimensions regarding the involvement of SSE, the first one is the informal “SSE” embodied in the local committees and the fact that the sustainability of the social innovation was foreseen to be through a small enterprise where local workers and local committee members would organize themselves. This “exit” strategy of the initiative does not mention any SSE organisation as the potential final economic unit that would reinforce the sustainability of the intervention. In the absence of further information, we could also imagine that this “failure” may have been addressed with a specific strategy to facilitate a so-called “exit to community” strategy. Such strategy could have been designed with a SSE approach that may have aimed at the “formalisation” of the informal SSE “undertaking of the local workers. 
  • Social Innovation: besides the above-mentioned participatory dimension it also included a certain degree of SSE development through half-way formalisation of a local organisation of the workers with a horizontal and democratic governance thanks to the local committees.
  • Co-production: the co-production dimension was guarantee through the involvement of both the local agency for waste collection and the local administrative units (Fonkontanys) on one side, and the citizens and local committees on the other.

NAPLES: local public policies in the area of the commons[viii]

  • Policies: Sanitation, urban management, culture policies and participation policies. In 2007, the work of the Rodotà Commission on Public Goods introduced, at least at the theoretical level, the legal category of common good alongside that of public property. This initiative preceded the national referendum of June 2011 on the privatization of the integrated water service where 27 million Italian citizens voted in favour of considering water as a common good. In this context Naples City Council approves on 26 October 2011 the transformation of ARIN into an EPIC under the name “Acqua Bene Comune Napoli”. At the same time, the City Council modified the Statute of the Municipality by recognizing the common goods “in order to protect future generations”. In April 2012, a municipal resolution created the “Naples Laboratory for a Constituent of the Commons”. This laboratory carries out a mapped inventory of the municipality’s assets that have been abandoned and are currently unused, in collaboration with the Heritage Department of the City Council and citizens’ associations.
  • SSE dimension: as mentioned-above citizens’ associations has been involved in the policies and also were the co-implementer of it. For example, as early as May 2012, an abandoned building occupied by a group of animation and culture professionals, the “Ex Asilo Filangieri” (San Gregorio Armeno complex), was recognised by the City Council of Naples as a common good managed by an open community and considered as a place of experimentation for participatory democracy in the field of culture. Furthermore, on July 2016, the city of Naples “granted the status of common property to seven emblematic places that were public property but were subject to prolonged occupations by communities after having been left abandoned”. As a result, these informal SSE organizations which occupied these places were recognised as “co-managers with the municipality”.
  • Social Innovation: this strong and radical innovation resulted on a new service as well as a new approach to the management of unused patrimony of the city. It included a relevant degree of regulation at local level, with the institutionalisation laws and the creation of the lab/observatory. It also reinforced the recognition and legitimacy of SSE and group of actors as actors in the co-production of social services.
  • Co-production: the concept of shared administration is included in the Italian Constitution and there are several instances of collaboration between SSE and public authorities in all phases of the policy process (design, implementation, evaluation, etc.). In this case co-production occurred since the agenda-setting process with the involvement of social movements, citizens, SSE and research actors in raising the awareness around the issue of the commons. However, it was also relevant in the design and implementation process.