Innovative actions are appearing all over the continent, proposing new ways of using and reusing resources whilst facilitating access to a larger part of the population - marginalised groups included. Moreover, these types of initiatives favour the shared rather than exclusive use of resources as well as take into account the need to avoid waste. How might these initiatives be enhanced, developed and multiplied in different contexts in order to advance towards a more cohesive and inclusive society?
Some of the elements that contribute to enhancing impact were explored during a one-day session at the Council of Europe in February 2013.
The Extraday session, held in the context of the Council of Europe Conference on “Poverty and Inequality in Societies of Human Rights: the paradox of democracies – Proposals for an Inclusive Society“, stressed the need for a renewed strategy to fight poverty, basing it on common goods and on the sharing of social responsibilities whilst at the same time avoiding waste. In order to give continuity to the discussions of the Conference and activate the new joint project with the European Commission, “Responding together”, a group of fifty experts from different backgrounds (people experiencing poverty, researchers, activists, members of local institutions, etc.) identified some of the main challenges and opportunities that disable or enable action at local level.
The main issues tackled concerned:
1. Building inclusive communities and networks
2. Building inclusive democratic processes
3. Mobilising resources
4. Receiving support from public authorities
Download the full report: Report-extraday.doc
More elements and paths can be found here below. Some of them are illustrated with examples.
Picture by Shellie Gonzalez
Starting a project: "how to" "what for" "where" ?
Toolkits help to bring to fruition creative ideas for an action that might be implemented in or around your community. They also facilitate a deeper understanding as to what are the different steps to be undertaken.
Building the community
Many elements are involved in the building of a community, be it online or offline. One of the corner stones is trust, which relates to developing and reinforcing confidence in the feasability of a project and the benefits that it will bring to the community. Having a common interest and objective is also key. Constructing community ties and trust both in the project and between members may be the most important feature for achieving actions. However trust is a multidimensional, subjective, situational and culturally dependent construct that make it hard to synthesize. Below are some key elements around trust building
- Building Trust through reputation. E.g. Couchsurfing.
- Building Trust through peertopeer exchange E.g. http://p2pfoundation.net/.
- Building Trust through transparency E.g. http://okfn.org.
Finding support from a community
Community support can relate to the sharing of material and immaterial resources (knowledge), provision of ideas and advice, moral support and trust in the project.
- Crowdfunding/ Peer2peer barter or project platforms/ Timebanks/ LETS (...)
Creating a movement
Spreading the word, creating campaigns and raising awareness to bring about a real transformation in society.