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MedTOWN: Co-producing social policies with SSE actors to fight poverty, inequality, and social exclusion

MedTOWN project.


Public services face an unprecedented set of challenges: increasing demand, rising expectations, seemingly intractable social problems, and, in many cases, reduced budgets. In Europe, previous approaches have produced important improvements in some areas but failed to tackle the structural inequalities that are fuelling the demand for services. In the Arab world, heterogeneous and fractured social structures, along with occupational shifts from agricultural to industrial and service activities, are overstretching already weak social services schemes that fail to address the real drivers of poverty, inequality, and exclusion. MedTOWN is an initiative focused on the combined potential of agents of the social and solidarity economy (SSE), citizens, and local authorities to co-produce the social policies that can fight poverty, inequality, social exclusion, and environmental unsustainability, providing them with tools and connections to build local resilience and foster the transition towards more fair, resilient and sustainable societies in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The main scope of the project

MedTOWN will provide with tailored capacity building for SSE agents, innovative and low-cost tools for practitioners in order to develop co-production initiatives in collaboration with the public sector for the improvement of the design and delivery of social services to vulnerable groups. This will be implemented through social experimention and pilot projects tested through Action Research with the aim to open up a policy dialogue at Mediterranean level for the promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy sector and its contribution towards the development of quality, more user-friendly, and empowering social services.

Capacity building, Action Research and Policy Dialogue on co-production of social services

MedTOWN is an initiative focused on the combined potential of agents of the social and solidarity economy (SSE), citizenship and local authorities to co-produce the social policies that can fight poverty, inequality, social exclusion and environmental unsustainability in the riparian countries of the Mediterranean basin, providing them with tools and connections to help them build local resilience and foster their transition towards becoming more fair, resilient and sustainable societies in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The initiative is based on Action Research to support the design of effective public policies on the provision of social services. To that effect a series of experimental actions deploying a co-production model will be undertaken and will serve both as effective modalities to increase the effectiveness of social services delivery during the project and as test-monitoring of results for policy design.

The research and analysis will be carried out in-country and regionalized through a Regional Community of Practices and a Regional Research Group who will elaborate studies, papers, seminars, workshops and policy recommendations. A tailored communication strategy will be co-designed with the actors involved both in-country, EU and at regional level, for awareness raising and dissemination.

Social experimentation based on the use of complementary currencies for the delivery of financial aid to vulnerable communities will be carried out in the 6 participating countries.

The project design involves 3 pillars of activities:

  • Training and capacity building on co-production initiatives The Phoenix Journey: Transformative Pathways for Eco social Co-production & The Phoenix Journey training, SSE principles and legal framework, regulatory framework of public contracts, sustainable development and circular economy models, types of complementary currencies (CCs), technology software and regulatory framework of electronic money. A dedicated training material will be developed for community building & facilitation skills (MedTOWN Facilitation Guide), in order to secure the engagement and participation of the local stakeholders (public services, SSE actors, citizens, economic operators) in the development and design of co-production initiatives that will be the Demonstrative Actions (DAs) of the project in each project partner country
  • Social experimentation through Action Research. A group of researchers will be recruited in order to i) develop a Qualitative and Quantitative Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) framework of the socio-economic impacts of the DAs, which will be further tested through the sub-granting of “pilot projects” and ii) to study, compare and provide policy recommendations for the improvement of the Legal Framework on public procurement with SSE actors, on the regulations of SSE and the use of CCs.
  • Open Policy Dialogue, Networking and development of Joint Partnerships among all the participating actors (local authorities, policy makers, researchers, SSE actors, vulnerable groups, NGO practitioners, etc) through the MedTOWN Platform of Community of Practice, which will host group discussion tables among researchers, policy makers and legal experts, online training sessions for facilitators, SSE actors and NGO practitioners’, strategic conferences, study visits and exchanges, synergies and networking with other relative initiatives and projects.


Lead beneficiary - Assembly of Cooperation for Peace - Spain

  • Partner 1 - Tier 1 Technology SL - Spain.
  • Partner 3 - Agricultural Development Association - Palestine.
  • Partner 4 - The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development - Jordan.
  • Partner 5 - Equality Portfolio - Department of Social Services - Portugal.
  • Partner 6 - Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development - Palestine.
  • Partner 7 - General Directorate of Cooperation. Regional Ministry of Social Services and Cooperation - Spain.
  • Partner 8 - Tunisian Center For Social Entrepreneurship - Tunisia.

Useful links to know more about MedTOWN


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