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The Marist Institute of Solidarity and the L’Hermitage Foundation unveil Solidarity Economics

30/01/2007: Brazil

It was a long marathon of twenty-eight Markets of Solidarity Economics throughout 2006, including twenty-six days and two thematic meetings in the five Brazilian re-gions. The cycle finished on the 23rd December at the Federal District Market. As well as selling clothes, handicrafts, food and agricultural products, the markets had as their aim to make workers and visitors aware of the principles of Solidarity Eco-nomics, as well as offering free handiwork workshops. All of these activities de-lighted the Brazilian public who were satisfied with the just price of the products.

In accordance with the foundations of the Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economics, the L’Hermitage Foundation and the Marist Institute of Solidarity signed a collabora-tion agreement with the SENAES/MTE to make the National Aid Programme of Mar-kets viable. The management of resources was regrouped in the Bank of Brazil Foundation.

Solidarity Economics was developed in Brazil as an option for generating sales. Ac-cording to a study of the SENAES, there exist in the country more than fifteen thousand initiatives of a solidarity character which were converted in an insertion alternative for more than a million people dedicated to the production of goods and the rendering of services, of consummation and of credit. Shirlei Mélange, social annalist of the Marist Institute of Solidarity, co-ordinator of the National Help Pro-gramme, states that, as well as the growth in the number of days, eighteen in 2005 and twenty-six in 2006, a permanent climate is necessary for the commercialisation of products. “It is important, the creation of a stable sales system based on human values and on just consumption.”

Development of the Markets
During the days, a type of social money is used having an exchange value with an identical form to the real (money used in Brazil), but which encourages the con-struction process of a new form of commercialisation, marked by the spirit of co-operation and solidarity.

Other practices common to the markets are the Exchange Club and the Circles of Affairs. The Exchange Club is a mechanism of the permutation of manufactured products between the organisers of the day and the Circles of Affairs are a space in which the producers meet with the contractors of various branches for the offer and the demand of products and services.

In many of the twenty-eight Markets, there were awareness raising programmes of the environment. An example is the selective collection of garbage destined to gar-bage co-operatives, which as well as helping to preserve the environment help peo-ple to carry out recycling. This is the case of Gilvana Ferreira Barbosa, resident of Estrutural (DF) and part of the Cootrape artisans co-operative. With more than one hundred people in the co-operative she has the guaranteed support of working in a solidarity initiative. “Without our co-operative, I would die of hunger,” states Gil-vana, satisfied with the sale of her products during the Federal District day.

History
In 2005, the Marist Institute of Solidarity signed a convention to act in the National Programme of Aid to Markets of Solidarity Economics, in collaboration with the na-tional Secretariat of Solidarity Economics, the Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Econom-ics and the Bank of Brazil Foundation. The Programme aims to strengthen and spread Solidarity Economics, to promote the direct commercialisation of goods and services, to stimulate ethical and conscious consummation and solidarity ex-changes. The Markets constitute an important strategy of commercialisation, but they especially represent a space for the realisation of solidarity exchanges, open business circles and thematic bureaux, as well as facilitating the information of the Solidarity Economics campaign. In 2006 the co-operation was renewed and we could count on the support of the L’Hermitage Foundation in its efficient movement.

For more information: www.fbes.org.br

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