Institut Belleville present its Activity Report 2022 

The international cooperation organisation affiliated with CFDT, has published its 2022 activity report. Throughout this year, it supported around ten projects developed in over fifteen countries across various regions worldwide: North Africa and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe

More than 30 trade union organisations were involved in projects covering areas ranging from trade union training and structuring to the defence of workers’ rights in global supply chains and the organisation of informal economy workers.

In Senegal, for example, some 50 women processors of halieutic (fish and fishery) products benefitted from multidimensional support aimed at promoting decent work within their two groups. The women took part in workshops within the framework of the project, carried out in cooperation with the UNSAS trade union centre in Senegal, covering areas such as literacy, micro-enterprise management, health and safety at work, new techniques for processing fish and fishery products, product quality and hygiene, etc.. They were also given support with access to health insurance through mutual health insurance schemes.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) office in Dakar took an interest in the initiative and joined in the process underway, proposing various activities designed to respond to the needs of the women concerned. During the first half of 2022, it facilitated workshops on cooperative societies, for example, at the end of which the participants decided to adopt this form of organisation. By organising themselves in this way, the women are able to work more collectively, to pool their expenses and their resources, and to access products at more favourable prices. A self-assessment procedure was set up for the project during 2023, to provide a better understanding of what worked well and what did not. Although the results of this self-assessment have not yet been consolidated, the initial testimonies from the women reveal that concrete progress was made in areas ranging from literacy to budget management, and this has had a positive impact not only on their economic activity but also on their family life.

The skills and confidence they have acquired by taking part in training contribute both to the tasks they are able to carry out and to their position within the household. The initiative also therefore helps to empower them. The women also expressed dissatisfaction with some aspects of the project, such as their access to mutual health insurance services in one of the two locations it covered, and criticised the lack of post-training support for certain activities, such as occupational health and safety. The project illustrates that trade union cooperation can contribute to the implementation of the various goals of the 2030 Agenda, such as SDG 1 - Ending poverty, 3 - Access to health, 5 - Gender equality and 8 - Access to decent work.

This experience also shows that achieving concrete change often requires an approach that is both long-term and flexible. In the case of this project launched in 2019, the increasing scarcity of halieutic resources affecting the two groups of women who process these products has meant that they have had to develop strategies to diversify their economic activity. Work is currently being undertaken in this respect with the support of the International Labour Office in Dakar and other actors.

To build on some of the experiences and practices developed, most of the projects implemented in 2022 with the support of Institut Belleville will be continued during 2023. Continued consideration will also have to be given to the follow-up of projects developed in areas where security conditions have deteriorated, such as Haiti, where Institut Bellville supports the activities of two trade union organisations.

As Béatrice Lestic, the president of Institut Belleville, points out, “In a world characterised by interdependence between different countries and regions, but also by a number of conflicts and multidimensional crises, it is more necessary than ever to increase citizen cooperation, and particularly trade union cooperation, to better respond to people’s concerns and aspirations.”

For further details, download the activity report (in English) and watch this video (in French with English subtitle).