The Vice Chancellor, The Co-operative University of Kenya CUK, Prof. Kamau Ngamau participated in the 2022 ILO-FES Africa Regional Conference on Decent Work and Social and Solidarity Economy held on the 5th-6th May 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The International Labor Organization (ILO), is an United Nations agency mandated to deal with labor issues, champion social protection & work opportunities for all, as well as advance social and economic justice through setting international labor standards.
Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES), the organization that partnered with ILO for this conference, is a body that works on different national, global and regional issues and strives to enable & strengthen social justice and democratic political participation with the aim of developing ideas for shaping a better future.
The objective of the Conference was to build a common understanding of the Social and Solidarity Economy and its relevance & potential in Africa as well as take stock of recent developments in SSE in Africa. The conference also aimed at sharing information and good practices among governments, employers, worker representatives and the SSE networks for its promotion.
This year’s ILO conference was particularly significant since it was the first time ILO’s highest decision-making body discussed the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The SSE is an umbrella concept designating social and solidarity economy enterprises and organizations (SSEEOs) in particular cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations, nonprofits and social enterprises, which have the specific feature of producing goods, services and knowledge while pursuing both economic and social aims and fostering solidarity.
In that line, ILO-FES Africa Regional Conference was substantial to The Co-operative University of Kenya, since CUK has a special interest in cooperatives being a leader in the sector, providing amongst other things; quality co-operative training, research, consultancy and community extension services.
The Vice-Chancellor – CUK, Prof Kamau Ngamau prepared a well detailed presentation on Decent Work and the Social and Solidarity Economy Experiences from Kenya dazzling most, if not all the individuals from different sectors that took part in the conference.
Prof. Kamau Ngamau further presented on how CUK, the leading University in offering quality co-operative education ,training, research and consultancy in Kenya, has throughout its history played a critical role as an SSE promoter in the co-operative movement in Kenya and other African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Sudan through various programs and projects.
CUK has actively played a critical promotional role – supporting cooperatives and other SSE organizations in development of governance instruments, mainstreaming SSE values, playing an advocacy role through its staff serving on key platforms, networks, committees and task force to drive policy and legislative agenda for transformation of cooperative sector as well as undertaking key research for the cooperative movement.
To crown it all, The Co-operative University of Kenya clearly stated its new focus on SSE demonstrating its interest in the policy work with counties, Kenya rural transformation centre, community organization for collective action, development of innovative academic programs for SSE and last but not least, the establishment of an Institute for SSE promotion.
CUK is actively seeking partnerships and collaboration avenues with ILO and FES and other like-minded organizations to enhance its capacity to become a centre for SSE promotion in Kenya and The Horn of Africa – an objective that will be a game changer in the Social and Solidarity Economy.
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