SOS Group is now part of OECD’s Global Action : Promoting Social & Solidarity Economy Ecosystems

The International action sector team of SOS GROUP is a key contributor to the OECD Global Action Promoting Social & Solidarity Economy Ecosystems program. In 2020, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched this initiative founded by the EU to promote the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) around the globe. It involves more than 30 countries (EU member states and non-EU members) for a three-year period to tackle scaling challenges that SSE actors face when they grow internationally. 


The Conference: from the margins to the mainstream 

The first international Conference “The Social and Solidarity Economy : From the Margins to the Mainstream” of the OECD Global action took place from Sept 13th – 16th. We willingly attended this major virtual event during which the preliminary findings of the PLPs were shared with hundreds of SSE experts all around the world, including institutional donors and policy makers. 



A promising initiative that SOS GROUP is proud to be part of 

To work efficiently, the Global Action initiative is divided in six Peer Learning Partnerships (PLPs). Each of them is working as a consortium on a dedicated topic. SOS GROUP is proud to be part of the third PLP called “Global action to promote the internationalisation of SSE organisations and the role of women in the SSE”. This consortium is led by the world’s largest entrepreneurial network, Impact Hub, and it gathers 23 actors of the ecosystem of the SSE from 11 countries. It is subdivided in 3 groups and SOS GROUP focuses its expertise on Group 3 : identifying how women’s perspectives can be brought into SSE for internationalization processes. 


The benefits of the Peer Learning Partnership method  

The PLP approach is unique because of the learning process it creates through three key elements: 

  • Assessment : identifying, evaluating and exchanging/disseminating good practices , tools and plans amongst network partners 
  • Benchmarking : documenting, monitoring and validating good practices and testing their transferability to other contexts 
  • Mutual learning: improving the quality, efficiency and impact of policies designed and implemented by a diversity of partners. 

This method helps making a frame that will be used to support SSE businesses to grow simultaneously internationally and in equality. 

As PLP brings together different territories, we were confronted to a challenge to establish flexible concepts that can be implemented on a local scale in different countries and regions of the world. As Andre Maciel, the Program Manager (Impact Hub) in charge, said “these concepts have different meanings in different regions and so, we should consider broader definitions to include the different realities and approaches to the Social and Solidarity sector”. 



What we have learned so far in our PLP:  

Based on working sessions studying special cases such as the women-only social Network “Sheroes”, here are some of the key findings and learning points we’ve come across so far :  

  • Women-led initiatives give more guarantee that women perspectives are core to the social enterprise’s mission. 
  • Even though each woman around the world is unique and has a different career path, the endeavour to thrive together through empowerment and women solidarity strengthens the resilience of SSE actors in internationalization processes.  
  • Financial sustainability is essential and it comes through the diversification of funding streams.   
  • The SSE needs to be made as and perceived as an inclusive space where gender equality can be accomplished through removing the barriers with the help of innovative policy work. 

Thanks to SOS GROUP’s recent commitment at the Generation Equality Forum to increase women inclusion in tech and innovation, we have had a lot to offer to this PLP and we were able to gain precious insights for the implementation of our own programs and internationalization process.


Few takeaways from the conference

  • The social economy is a driving model for change: 

The pandemic has shown that SSE has proven resilient and organizations are capable of reinventing themselves. Core values such as solidarity, equity, sustainability are crucial to face our contemporary global issues. They also rely on a general trust system that enables networks of collaboration at different levels to thrive. 

  • Collaborative policy and legal framework is essential: 

There is a crucial need to build an ecosystem where the SSE and the institutions trustfully collaborate. The legal system has to help making existing markets inclusive and equal for all. Social entrepreneurs have shown they have the recipe for the reshaping of the economy to come, so we have to put them at the centre of the tailoring of the policies to enable public institutions to foster their initiatives and help them flourish. 


As for now … 

We are looking forward to seeing where this major initiative led by the OECD is leading us in the challenge of supporting women-led and internationally-scaling SSE businesses. The next steps of the initiative is to build strong legal frameworks that will be useful for impact-focused businesses and then to provide feedback of the stories of women led businesses that have internationally-scaled successfully. The diversity of actors and initiatives making SOS GROUP is certainly an innovation lab in itself and we won’t fail to use it for the common good.  


-By Shabbaz NOC, Communications Officer at SOS GROUP International Action

Generation Equality Forum: SOS GROUP takes concrete action for women

From 30 June to 2 July, Paris is hosting the second phase of the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering in favour of equality between men and women, organised by UN Women in partnership with youth and civil society. SOS GROUP, committed to gender equality, is proud to participate in the Forum and to be part of the change agents of the Innovation & Technology coalition. For the next 4 years, we will be taking concrete action to ensure that our generation becomes the generation of gender equality.  


Generation Equality Forum: a global gathering for gender equality  
Accelerating the commitments made at the Beijing World Conference  

In 1995, the World Conference on Women held in China led to the signing of the Beijing Platform for Action. In it, governments recognised that « equal rights, equal opportunities and access to resources, equal sharing of family responsibilities and a harmonious partnership between women and men are essential to their well-being and that of their families and to the consolidation of democracy ». The Beijing Conference thus proclaims that equality between women and men is an essential condition for sustainable development, peace, and democracy.  

In 2020, the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action was an opportunity to take stock of the evolution of gender equality. While much progress has been made, no country can claim to have achieved gender equality today. This is why the Generation Equality Forum, which commemorates 25 years of the Beijing Platform for Action, aims to mark a major step forward in accelerating the implementation of global commitments to gender equality. 


A Forum to bring together gender equality actors

The Generation Equality Forum is a global gathering for gender equality, organized by UN Women in partnership with youth and civil society, and co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico. The Forum began in March in Mexico City and will conclude in Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2021, where a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions will be launched to achieve immediate and irreversible progress towards gender equality.  

At the heart of the Forum is UN Women’s unprecedented multi-generational advocacy campaign: « Generation Equality: For Women’s Rights and an Equal Future ». The campaign aims to bring together the next generation of women’s rights activists, gender equality advocates, and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the Beijing Platform for Action more than 20 years ago. Collectively, these changemakers of all ages and genders have the capacity to meet the challenge of women’s empowerment, a goal that has yet to be achieved. 


SOS GROUP committed to putting innovation and technology at the heart of gender equality  

Within the Forum, different actors are organising themselves into action coalitions: multi-stakeholder, global and innovative partnerships that will mobilise governments, civil society, international organisations, and the private sector. Their objective: to launch a series of concrete, ambitious, and immediate targeted actions over the period 2020-2025, in order to make a real impact on gender equality and the rights of girls and women.  

SOS GROUP deeply believes in the power of innovation and technology to change mindsets and promote gender equality. This is why we are proud to participate in the Generation Equality Forum and to be part of the change agents of the Innovation & Technology coalition

We are determined to make this generation the equality generation!  


What are the concrete commitments made by SOS GROUP?  

Between now and 2025, SOS GROUP is committed to significantly increasing awareness-raising actions to counter gender stereotypes in the social and solidarity economy in France, Europe, and Africa. SOS GROUP will carry out several major mobilisation campaigns alongside players in the social and solidarity economy and will publish at least three high-level white papers 



By 2025, SOS GROUP is also committed to funding and operating a multi-stakeholder initiative to bridge the digital divide for women and promote women’s entrepreneurship and leadership in technology and innovation. The goal is to train 50,000 women in digital skills and to support 1,000 women in entrepreneurship in the tech, social, cultural, and media sectors. 


SOS GROUP, long committed to women  

In terms of technology and innovation for gender equality, SOS GROUP is already engaged  to bridge the digital divide and strengthen women’s leadership and entrepreneurship to counter and overcome gender stereotypes. For example, we have :    

  • Set up a nationwide digital mediation scheme in France, drawing on the expertise of our association Reconnect 
  • Increased access to training and digital skills for marginalised girls and women in Afghanistan and Romania, through the associations Afghanistan Libre and Ateliere Fara Frontiere 
  • Extensive experience in promoting entrepreneurship and incubating impactful businesses for and by women in the technology, social, cultural and media sectors in Europe, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, through the Pulse incubator network, the Creatis entrepreneurial residency, and the French Tech h7 totemic space;  
  • Developed strategic advocacy campaigns to reduce gender stereotypes in early childhood in France (by Crescendo), among youth and educators in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa (by PLAY International), and among job seekers in France through an anti-stereotype recruitment campaign  in the social economy; 
  • Built alliances and synergies to unite social economy actors around gender equality, through our role in the global alliance Pact for Impact 
  • Tested and scaled up grassroots responses to women’s empowerment and inclusion in France (through the Josephine network of beauty salons and the MANA Women’s School).  

The diversity of SOS GROUP operations and the variety of sectors can greatly contribute to promoting women’s access and leadership in tech and innovation. Let’s continue to work together for equality for all! 


Photos credits : 1. et 2. ONU FEMMES 3. EllesEnsemble, Comptoir, PULSE