The Italian social economy ecosystem- ARNO went to Monza image

The Italian social economy ecosystem- ARNO went to Monza

From the 12 to18 of September, ARNO took part in a study visit to Monza, Italy, together with the partners of the Western Balkans Youth Social Economy Alliance (WB SEA) project: ADP-Zid (Montenegro), Diesis Network (Belgium), Mladi Ambasadori (Serbia), LENS (Kosovo), Partners Albania for Change and Development (Albania) and CDP Globus (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The WB SEA consortium was warmly welcomed by the Italian partner Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo (COSV), the Consorzio Nazionale (CGM), the Consorzio Comunità Brianza (CCB), and other important actors in the social economy sector in Italy.

The study visit was an exciting learning journey into the Italian social economy ecosystem, one of the most developed ones in Europe. The WB SEA partners attended interactive workshops led by the hosts COSV, CGM, and CCB, dedicated to the EU social economy actions, co-creation and co-design of public policies, open innovation, partnership building, and youth. The consortium as well visited several social cooperatives, social enterprises, and social economy research and development networks in the province of Monza Brianza. These activities provided in-depth and first-hand knowledge of the history, challenges, and potential of the third sector in Italy, and its role as the pillar of the socio-economic system in Italy.  Here are some highlights and experiences:

  • “The study visit in Italy was different and important for us because we had the opportunity to learn deeply about the social economy ecosystem in Italy (legislative framework, networking, financing, public-private partnerships, youth…) and to visit eight cooperatives operating in various fields as examples of good practice. Many examples we can adopt and advocate for implementation here in Serbia. Also, we made a contact with visited cooperatives which could outgrow to potential cooperation and joint projects.” – Aleksandar Stamenkovic, Project Manager at Young Ambassadors (Serbia).
  • On the 13th of September, the consortium visited Cascina Costa Alta and met META Cooperativa Sociale, operating since 1991, and managing summer centers, environmental education programs, and services for children, schools, migrant people, housing, events, and leisure.
  • The next day, the partners visited the Milan Innovation District, the most creative and innovative open space in Italy where they were hosted by the Fondazione Triulza, a foundation for excellence and wellbeing of citizens, and STRIPES, a company that provides services in the social-educational-pedagogical and welfare fields, operating in the public and private sectors. Thanks to Stripes Digitus Lab the team was part of a robotics workshop, experiencing the process of experiential learning with the Stripes robots.
  • On the 15th of September, the partners continued to Villa Longoni, a social training facility for community development and co-working for professionals from the creative and artisan world. The consortium also visited In-Presa, a social cooperative that deals with vocational training, job placement, counseling, school support and socialization for vulnerable young people.
  • On the last day, the WB SEA team was welcomed in Spazio Rosmini by the TikiTaka Network, founded within the Cariplo Foundation to inspire the inclusion of vulnerable and excluded citizens through sports and social activities. On this day, a special session was reserved for reflections and lessons learned, and further planning and cohesion between the WB SEA partners.
  • “А refreshing and inspiring experience for me. It was useful to visit cooperatives, social enterprises, and networks that successfully work in the field of social economy for decades and help people in need. I would gladly transfer my experience and knowledge to my colleagues in North Macedonia, and try to introduce some of the Italian examples in my country”. – Marjan Icoski, Program Manager at ARNO

The WBSEA project is part of a broader strategy aiming to support the creation of the Western Balkans Youth Social Economy Alliance (WB SEA). It’s a regional network dedicated to building the capacities of civil society organizations to promote, advocate and use the social economy as one of the most effective instruments for engaging, empowering, and creating opportunities for the WB youth. The project is led by ADP-Zid (Montenegro), in cooperation with the Diesis Network (Belgium), Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo (Italy), ARNO (N.Macedonia), Mladi Ambasadori (Serbia), LENS (Kosovo), Partners Albania for Change and Development (Albania) and CDP Globus (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The project is funded by the Erasmus + program.

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