Energy Poverty in Greece and the contribution of green and social innovation to address the problem

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“The status of Energy Poverty in Greece and the contribution of green and social innovation to address the problem”.

Athens, May 4th 2016

A recent study conducted by the European Parliament showed that 36% of Greek households were experiencing energy/fuel poverty during 2013, in other words facing difficulties maintaining comfort conditions in their homes.

Three organizations, the  Heinrich Böll Foundation Greece, the social enterprise Wind of Renewal and the Institute of Zero Energy Buildings, active in the fields of ecology, energy savings and sustainability are joining their forces with the aim of publishing a policy paper with reference to “The status of Energy Poverty in Greece and the contribution of green and social innovation to address the problem”.

Within this context, the aforementioned organizations in collaboration with the Athens Resilience and Sustainability office, organised the 1st workshop with the aim to enhance the dialogue among key stakeholders as well as to exchange ideas with focusing on the minimization of the energy poverty phenomenon in Greece. The workshop took place on April 20th 2016, and was the first of a series of preparatory actions in order to collect as much information and suggestions as possible, to be incorporated in the policy paper.

Participatory procedures gave the opportunity for an open discussion among representatives of institutional, academic and social/civil organizations, who responded positively to the invitation.  The dialogue was structured around 7 questions related to the causes and characteristics of the phenomenon, of energy poverty, and another 8 pertaining to policy change proposals and the active participation of the addressed citizens.

Representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Savings, the National Observatory of Athens, the Technical Assistance for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency in Greece – GIZ, attended the workshop on behalf of various institutional sectors.

The Academic sector was represented by professors from the University of Athens, the National Technical University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Technical Education Institute of Athens. The workshop was also attended by representatives from municipalities located within the Attica Prefecture. More specifically, the Athens Resilience and Sustainability Office – Municipality of Athens, the Municipality of Agios Dimitrios, the Municipality of Egaleo and the Municipality of Nea Smirni.

Furthermore, representatives from the Greek Ombudsman – Independent Authority, the Employees Association of Social Housing, the Citizen’s Inspectorate for Sustainable Development, Greenpeace and the Hellenic Passive House Institute contributed to the discussions, while a number of students, researchers, journalists, MEP’s associates and citizens were present and joined the dialogue.

A second workshop will follow in mid-June where the first draft of the policy paper will be presented. Stakeholders from various sectors will have the opportunity to provide feedback which may be incorporated prior to its finalisation. The final edition of the policy paper is scheduled to be presented in September 2016.

Conference: Social Innovation in Healthcare, 28-29 May 2016

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Conference on Social Innovation in Health care

Athens, 28-29 May 2016

Healthcare landscape is dramatically changing today, along with issues such as an aging society, expanding lifestyle related diseases and the ongoing financial crisis. The social innovation in healthcare entrenches problems through interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches and innovative business models, including new processes like reorganised care-pathways; community health models, home visiting and in-home health care services, new products like mobile applications for health and e-health; new practices that include patient empowerment and participation and health care reforms focused on population health outcomes.

In this context, the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal, in cooperation with the City of Athens and the Greek Green Cities Network, and with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece and Frienrich Ebert Stiftung, are organising a conference on Social Innovation in Healthcare, focused mainly on in-home health care services. The conference will be in Athens on Saturday, 28 May and Sunday, 29 May 2016.

The aim of the conference is:

  • to present the Greek and European reality concerning the social innovation in the health sector, with emphasis on implemented pilot projects in-home health care services
  • to identify the existing problems and the immediate priorities, concerning in-home health care models
  • to highlight the role of “municipal clinics”, “social clinics” and “social pharmacies” in reforming the current health care system,
  • to debate on the accreditation of social enterprises on health services and in-home health care services
  •  to disseminate good practices,
  • to contribute in the development of a sustainable policy for strategies, practices and social investments in actions which combine conventional social policy and social innovation in healthcare.

Target groups

  • Doctors and nurses, academia’s, practitioners
  • Staff of municipal social services
  • Staff and volunteers of municipal clinics, social clinics and social pharmacies
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. patient organisations, NGOs
  • Students of relevant disciplines
  • Political and administrative staff of the Ministry of Health and Local Authorities


The two-day event will combine panels, where innovators and experts from Greece and other EU countries will be asked to share their solutions and experience, and workshops, where the participating groups will exchange views on different aspects of the issue.

During the first day, the main sessions will focus on:

  • In-home healthcare services and the national health system – specialized actions, pilot projects, local initiatives
  • The European experience in in-home healthcare services and nursing, and community health systems
  • The role of local authorities and civil society on social innovation in healthcare: the European and Greek experience
  • Round table: The European policy and the European Parliament for social innovation in healthcare

The workshops of the second day will focus on:

  • The synergies and role of the central state, the civil society organizations and the health staff on in-home healthcare
  • Institutional aspects concerning the operation of in-home healthcare in Greece


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Wind of Renewal / ANEMOS ANANEOSIS: our goals

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Our goals are:

  • information, good practises exchange and initiatives for the promotion of green – circular economy
  • a deep analysis of strategies, policies and practices for a greener economy
  • enhance the exchange of knowledge, cooperation, self-organisation and networking among the social cooperatives (regardless their legal status) in a local, regional, national and European level and cooperation based on values, principles and common positions, a Code of Conduct for Social Enterprises
  • development of social cooperative structures, skills and capacities using the European experience, expertise, innovation and research
  • enhance the dialog among basic social partners, research centers, local communities for the development of the social, solidary and cooperative economy,
  • promote proper education schemes in order to enhance social cooperatives.

In order to achieve our goals, Anemos Ananeosis (Wind of Renewal) seeks for synergies and co-operations with a broad network of stakeholders that are active in a local, regional, national and European level.

“WELCOMMON” Labour Integration of refugees in Greece: a Cooperative Hostel to Spread Solidarity

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“Welcommon” stands for “Welcome in common”. This is the name that four well-established organisations, the social cooperative Wind of Renewal, the Greek Forum of Refugees, the Greek Forum of Migrants and ANASA Cultural Centre, have chosen for a project seeking to offer much more than emergency accommodation. Social inclusion, empowerment and refugee integration are key aims of the initiative.

María Ruiz Nievas

The main objective is to provide quality housing for up to 120-150 asylum seekers for six-month periods or longer. “The personnel of the Hostel will be both migrants/refugees and Greek nationals. That means that through hosting we try to create job opportunities,” explains Nikos Chrysogelos, President of Wind of Renewal and one of the founders of the project. Refugees will also be put in contact with local initiatives looking for workers as technicians, nurses or doctors, artists and social entrepreneurs.

Refugees will receive food, clothing and health care to cover their basic needs, as well as information and various training opportunities, such as language instruction, to develop their abilities and skills.

Active participation of asylum seekers

Although Greek citizens have expressed solidarity to refugees and there are a lot of initiatives to provide food, clothes and first aid equipment, there is a lack of organized policy and good practices for social inclusion, empowerment and integration for those refugees willing to stay in Greece or who at least want to stay longer.

“We are starting by providing housing in apartments, but there is no experience of integrating and developing the entrepreneurship of refugees and migrants in Greece, especially in a cooperative way,” claims Nikos Chrysogelos.


Last December, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras committed to housing 50,000 refugees by the end of 2016 and this year Greece has already received 61,746 people who arrived by sea, according to UNHCR. “Welcommon” could not be happening at a better time.

“We would like to be operational by June,” said Chrysogelos, who recognizes that the project’s success is dependent upon funding. Foundations in Greece, private donors and a crowd funding campaign are the most immediate options. “We have already developed good cooperation with the Municipality of Athens and we hope to do the same with the regional authorities in Attica. We are looking for a (closed) hotel or clinic (there are some in Athens, because of the crisis), which would also be suitable for hosting activities related to social entrepreneurship.”

Chrysogelos does not close the door, however, on support from the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), but admits that “it takes time and it is something for the future”.

If you want to know more about our project or you would like to support it, please contact:

The four organisations:

Published by European Confederation CECOP – CICOPA Europe here

Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2015

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The 2nd Social Entrepreneurship Forum took place on 9-10 November at the Agricultural University of Athens (Find the program and available material here). Numerous participants – social enterprises, stakeholders and support organisations for social enterprises and social economy – addressed matters relating to cooperation, networking and self-organization of the social enterprise community. A number of critical issues emerged and was discussed thoroughly; the need for networking and cooperation between social enterprises and support organizations, the demand for commonly accepted practices as well as structures for the development of the ecosystem in general and in particular for stakeholders’ education, the support of efforts in their infancy, the development of appropriate financial and funding tools. Above all, the protection of the community from isolated phenomena that can compromise the whole.

The event provided a platform for the development of the necessary openness and trust, to stimulate dialogue on shared values and practices, opportunities and concerns, dissemination of good practices, learning from one another, both in Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

The Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2015 reached a Declaration agreed on a Framework of Principles and Values, which will form the basis of a Code of Conduct which we intend to co-shape by March 2016 at the latest. It, also, includes the commitment to create a common on-line platform based on the principles of the Commons (Commons – Creative Commons) that will provide accurate and timely information about social enterprises and social economy and innovative tools for the communication of community and coordination of networking and empowerment activities at local, regional, national and EU level as well as for concerted presence in social media.

It is a common desire for the Social Entrepreneurship Forum not only to develop in an annual institution for dialogue, information and networking but also to become in the future the capstone of coordinated and well organized thematic or regional meetings that will bring experience, recommendations, and joint initiatives to the Forum.

Available material of the Forum you can find in the Forum’s website

Green regional development

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In the context of greening regional development social cooperative “Anemos Ananeosis” and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece organize a series of activities with the aim to strengthen the capacities of social, professional and regional stakeholders, as well as of local authorities for the implementation of plans of ecological and social innovation and the full utilization of national and European funding opportunities. Networking and collaboration among the actors for such plans’ development and implementation is a key element in the planned actions, the majority of which is to be realized in strong collaboration with the Greek Green Cities Network.

Among planned activities is a series of capacity building seminars where good practices and models on green economic activities from several areas and countries will be presented and the road for their transfer and adaptation to the regional and local context will be discussed. In addition funding opportunities provided by the “Partnership Agreement/National Strategic Reference Network” 2014-2020, on issues such as the following will be recorded and presented to local authorities representatives, staff, members of the local civil society, social entrepreneurs, citizens tailored to their needs and visions for their city’s future.

  • Urban regeneration towards ecological and social direction
  • Green jobs
  • Energy saving and transition to 100% renewable energy
  • Promotion of energy cooperatives in schools
  • Sustainable forest management and fire prevention
  • Sustainable transport plans
  • New tourism models which combine sustainable economic activity with environmental protection and culture
  • Low energy consumption or zero-emission ships
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Sustainable public procurements

The first seminar took place in March in Kozani, the city in presidency of the Greek Green Cities Network. The second seminar followed in the city of Chania, Crete in May, the third one in Agios Dimitrios, Attica on 23 and the last one in Drama in November.

Planning Transition to Energy Efficient Cities

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Seminar Planning Transition to Energy Efficient Cities – Energy Efficiency on local level
11-12/06/15, Technopolis, Athens

Two day seminar on Planning Transition to Energy Efficient Cities – Energy Efficiency on local level was organised on 11 and 12 June 2015, at Texhnopolis, Athens by the Greek Green Cities Network in collaboration with Technopolis, City of Athens, Wind of Renewal and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece.

The seminar was addressed to elected – civil staff, managers and staff of municipalities especially from the departments of  programming, energy-climate, urban planning and construction as well as representatives of civil society, unemployed and staff related businesses.

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Objectives of the seminar:

  • To bridge the gap between the needs of municipalities and the skills of political and administrative staff in energy saving,
  • The support of implementing action plans energy efficiency,
  • The strengthening of the capacity of workers in local government through the promotion of co-operation and networking,
  • The provision of information to citizens and civil society for the benefits and ways to save energy,
  • The dissemination of good practices and models from Greece and abroad,
  • The support for the creation of local cooperatives for production and energy efficiency and the control of energy by the local communities (community power).

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The seminar started on Thursday 11 June with three sections providing valuable input on important topics relating with planning and implementing energy conservation programs. The first section was about legislation, policy and funding. The second focused on the experience earned so far by municipalities on energy efficiency programs and RES applications through the presentation of examples from local authorities represenatives. In the last section good examples from energy refrufishment and application of RES in municipal buildings, schools, residences and urban space were presented.

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On the second day, Friday 12 June, (hours 09.00 -18.00), four interactive workshops took place, with the participation of representatives of municipalities and of civil society, with a view to strengthening capacities, experiences, information, networking and implementation of pilot projects.

Workshop 1: Energy upgrade of municipal buildings – Sustainable public procurement for energy saving projects
Workshop 2: Energy upgrade of residences with the active participation of municipalities
Workshop 3: Energy upgrade of public space
Workshop 4: Sustainable public procurement for energy upgrade projects in public space

In the afternoon of the same day the findings – results of the workshops were presented along with suggestions for strengthening the capacities of the municipalities in programms on energy-saving and renewable energy sources.

Please see more photos here

School Energy Cooperatives

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The Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education (Sector C) – Athens and the Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education – (Sector D Athens), in cooperation with the Social Cooperative “Wind of Renewal”, are going to co-organise a workshop on “Energy Cooperatives in Schools”. The workshop is going to be held on 24th of February 2015, 17.00-20.30, at 9th Secondary School of Aigaleo.

The workshop is aiming at the promotion of students’ awareness and information on environmental and energy issues, the energy upgrade of the schools, the creation of sustainable neighbourhoods, the better understanding of co-operation and synergies and the promotion of social and environmental innovation.

The goal of this project is not the creation of a single energy cooperative in a school but the launching and running of a network of energy school cooperatives with the participation of teachers, institutions, local authorities and environmental stakeholders for the promotion of energy efficiency and RES in schools.

The added value of this project is not just the educational training of the participants, but also the encouragement of the project partners to creative Working Group key topics such as energy efficiency, sustainable living, social entrepreneurship and social impact. The pilot implementation of energy cooperatives in schools with the participation of teachers, students, parents and citizens, has multiple benefits for the students, the school community, the neighbourhood, the environment and the whole society.