Strengthening Cooperatives As a Response to the Pandemic
COVID-19 and its socio-economic effects had negative impact more on women and refugees than any other group. It is observed that there is a need for an impact-oriented development tool for women and refugee-led cooperatives that have difficulties in accessing the market.
The fact that the supply chain is almost on the verge of collapse due to the pandemic has strengthened the view that local organizations and social entrepreneurs should be considered in the supply chain and public procurement mechanism. In this direction, there is a need for a guideline on how local actors can be included in the purchasing processes.
The problem of access to the market occupies a large part of the structural problems of the cooperatives and entrepreneurs. To deal with this challenge, digitalization can emerge as a vital response to create a new channel for access to the market with increasing sales rate.
In collaboration with Innovation of Development (I4D), International Labour Organization (ILO) and Hepsiburada, the project started with a technical support process to women and refugee-led cooperatives for capacity building activities backed by key soft and hard skills training. After the training and integration into digital marketing platform, Hepsiburada, “Social Procurement Guide'' was prepared by a group of experts at I4D. The Guide is prepared to act as a roadmap for public procurement experts, public administrations and policy makers in order to reduce inequalities, help vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to be involved in public procurement and supply chains.
As the guide discusses; the social procurement approach in the public sector creates an opportunity for an innovative public management approach which is regarded as a technical issue, by combining the subject of procurement with social impact objectives. Social procurement, which has not been adequately discussed in the public sector, is proposed from an action-taking point of view for local and central government representatives as a policy making tool and to combat poverty and reduce inequalities. Considering the transformative power and leverage effect of purchasing, I4D believes that this guide is instructive and inspiring in the fight against poverty.