The Co-operative College shines a light on some of the challenges that faced the largest ever EU funded consortium of 26 partner organisations, as well as the achievements.
The final meeting of the SUSY consortium was also a chance to celebrate the achievements of the project and reflect on all of the different perspectives and experiences over the past 3 years of the project. Having spent the day before the final meeting on the serious task of reinforcing everyone’s understanding of the final monitoring and evaluation requirements and going through the logistics of tying up all of the loose ends at the end of such an enormous project, it was nice to have a day to focus on the highlights. Each of the project partners talked about their own SUSY ‘greatest hits’, and also what their ongoing activities were to be following on from the end of the project.
Most of the partners talked about the great success of the speakers’ tours and the film festivals as being the greatest part of the project as these made the project have much more of a global reach in terms of looking beyond the EU and connecting up the experiences of people from all around the world. Also all of the ‘best practice’ films that were created to showcase SSE organisations internationally, that can be found here:
Many of the partners spoke about how they had been able to use the project to influence change within their regions and countries, such as in Ireland where there have been changes to public sector procurement contracts to reflect the social impact of the work being undertaken. In Cyprus they have managed to advocate for changes to legislation after lots of campaigning through the SUSY project. In Bulgaria the SUSY partners have been invited to take part in discussions on a new law covering the SSE, which is particularly important at the moment as Bulgaria holds the Presidency of the EU, and recognises that the SSE may be part of the solution to the fact that technology is set to take over many jobs in the near future. There were several partners who talked about how proud they were to have introduced the concept of the SSE into their countries, such as the Czech Republic, Latvia and Croatia, and many more partners who were able to bolster or build on existing work in their countries to raise the profile and prominence of the SSE.
Partners also pointed out some of the ongoing challenges that still need to be tackled as we take the work of SUSY further. This was mostly around the fact that it is difficult to create the systemic change that is required to shift the way the economy works away from a growth model, and to educate people’s mind-sets in a consumer-driven approach based on people being able to get whatever they want all year round. The next step for the SUSY project is to carry on advocating for change and to make use of the wealth of tools and materials that have been developed through the project to carry on educating people at all levels and driving for ideological change as much as political change.