Background to the programme
The SEL (Local Exchange System) is an alternative economic system that aims to highlight "the relationship rather than the good." It originated in the LETS (Local Exchange Trade System) created in Canada in the 1980s. The first French SEL was established in Ariege in 1994. There are today 350 SELs in France. The one in Saint-Denis, Dionys'Sel, was created in 2006 and its founding principle is that everyone has skills to share.
Objectives of the programme
- Offer an alternative to consumerism. Think about our production methods and consumption
- Promote exchange between people
- Recognise and highlight the skills of each person
- Promote proximity and the "do it yourself" attitude
Creation of Basilic:
- System of alternative exchange: the exchanges made within the association are not valued monetarily and are not subject to barter. The association has a rating system with a unit of exchange: time. One hour of work = 60 units. This unit is called Basilic (Basil).
- The members of the association do the accounting themselves and don’t seek to balance the books.
- The exchanges in the association are reserved for members
BLE (Wheat) Local Stock Exchange:
- Regular Organisation (once every month and a half)
- People can exchange or repair items that are no longer useful to them.
- Members organise meetings around discussions or film screenings.
- The exchange of skills is also encouraged there.
- Workshops in sewing and gardening
- Repair and renovation of objects
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- In 2015, the SEL in St. Denis had forty members
- 8 Local Exchanges are organised each year
- Highlighting the skills of the SEL members: The association members find a sense of purpose in the group and feel recognised for the skills they offer.
- Some people are partially marginalised and rediscover social interactions in a new way.
- Repairing objects also avoids waste and over-consumption:
- Each exchange is an opportunity for forty potential exchanges.
- Sewing workshops enable five pieces of clothing to be repaired every month as well as the creation of objects like cushions, for example.
The association allows some people to repair computer appliances or small household appliances, about 5 appliances per month.
Dionys'sel offers an alternative trading system to the current dominant economic system. Its method of valuation the "basilic", based on a unit of time, is original.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
Principally with other SELs in France.
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- Major obstacles to the development and visibility of Dionys'sel: the association has limited financial resources and has no premises
- Management based solely on volunteering
- Difficulties in attracting and retaining of young members over the long term
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Look for funding from town councils
- Use the premises of the House of associations (to organise the management of the association and provide a physical contact point) as well as the premises of the fair trade cooperative ANDINES (notably for the organisation of BLE)
Suggestions for future improvement :
Increase participation in local events as well as the workshops offered by SEL to publicise the principles and philosophy of the association and make them better known.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- The impoverishment of the population and the growth in loneliness leads many people to turn to the SEL. Unfortunately, these factors are behind the association’s success.
- The creation of a SEL is relatively simple, a user guide is available online http://seldefrance.communityforge.net, which explains the number of local initiatives.
To know more
- Dionys'sel works in several communities in the area that do not have a SEL. This allows these towns to be connected to the national SEL network.
- The SEL France organises several systems of cooperation:
- The SEL route: a solidarity hosting sys