City: Athens, Greece
The Athens Time Bank was created in May 2011, at Sydagma Square, when thousands of people gathered there to participate in mass strikes and demonstrations.
Creation date: May 2011 Financing: None People involved: 1800 people Contact person: Christine Papadopoulou Website: www.time-exchange.gr
By developing new forms of solidarity, with the chief objective to combat alienation, individualim and the crisis in our society, we have created the Time Bank Athens. The Time Bank is an exchange network of services and knowledge supported by its own unit of transaction-TIME. In this way, provision of services is equated as follows: - one hour of Spanish lessons is equated to one hour babysitting - one hour visit to a doctor is equal to one hour of self-defence lessons - one hour guitar lesson can be exchanged for one hour house cleaning These are just a few examples of how useful a time bank can be. Let us remember that we all have something to offer and something that needs improving in our lives. To improve our lives and wellbeing, we must first change within ourselves! To change attitudes and act collectively! To work to our own advantage and not for the benefit of markets and profit! We are all equal, important and we have the same value! We invite you to participate actively and collectively in this effort!
The local context
The main challenges to realising our project were: 1. to be able to create a website and special platform for time banking without any money. In six months our website was created; it has been operational since October 2011. 2.to be able to involve more people in the decision-making process and to have them participate in the assemblies so that tasks and responsibilities are shared. We are constantly changing the way we carry out our assemblies, mainly because we are trying to find the model that best suits our needs. At the moment we work in subgroups (where each group has a specific agenda) and we use an open space method to discuss issues. Moreover, apart from the assemblies and the sometimes boring and tiring procedural work, we organise fun events so that we can meet new members in a more fun environment. 3. to develop our system and make it more efficient. There are certain aspects of our website that need improving, like our search tool and the graphic designs. We also need to work with our members and help them improve their profiles. 4.How can all of the 1800 members of our time bank be more active and use the time bank more? This is a question that we all put to ourselves and we are always trying to find ways in which more people could use the time bank more often and help them to understand how beneficial it could be for their lives. We are all doing more and more exchanges and we try to include the Time Bank in our everyday lives, but this is something that needs time and patience. We can't force our members to use the Time Bank, we just try to inspire them and show them how those who use the time banking in their lives find real solutions to their everyday problems and can satisfy their everyday needs. 5.to approach professionals like doctors , lawyers and producers of food and present to them the idea of time banking. It would be great if more of them were to become members of our Time Bank.
The Project's potential
Our goal is that many (smaller) Time Banks will be created in neighbourhoods around Athens-Greece. We would like to help them by sharing our knowledge, our ideas and our know-how. We really believe that Time Banking can : - (re)build neighbourhoods and communities - satisfy the important needs of people - give and take without thinking about money as an obstacle - create or strengthen relationships and help people not to feel so alone - help people to be strong, independent and to feel useful
The starting point
We created the Time Bank in Sydagma Square in May 2011. Even though we were 6 people that didn't know each other at the time, we all had the same or similar ideas of creating an exchange network. Some of us had already been members of a time bank abroad, and since the idea of time banking wasn't sufficiently developed in Greece we decided to create our own Time Bank. Since then, our assembly has been filled with people want to participate and help out in order to make the Time Bank a reality.
The core steps were: (local level) 1. Group formation (at least 6 people that are passionate about the idea and have the time) Discuss together the principles of our group. Find the key people (programmer, graphic designer, etc.) 2. An open meeting - organise an event to promote the idea and inspire more people to participate voluntarily in the group. 3.With a group of 20 you can start organising the time bank and share responsibilities - create an online platform - create an e-mail account - use social media to promote it - organise an event for people who want to participate and start performing exchanges. 4. Plan events to promote the idea - connect with other similar initiatives and join forces.
How does it work
Find people who are passionate and have time Find the key people who will help voluntarily. Work together as a group without any hierarchy. Share responsibilities. Don't give up!
Participation and governance
In Time Bank Athens, local citizens/ordinary people make the decisions and work together. There is no hierarchy and our assembly is open to anyone who wants to participate and make decisions. All the work that is carried out is on a voluntary basis. We don't have, and don't want to have, any relationship with the State or other public authority/institution, mainly because we want to be independent and free.
Contribution to the community
Below are all the services exchanged: Arts & Crafts Building Trades Business Administration Computers Education Entertainment Event production Food Gardening & Yard Work Gifts Goods Health & Healing Home Improving Household Services Legal-Law Mechanical Trasportation Social care Urban Homesteading Writing Pets
Main Difficulties - to be able to involve more people in the decision-making process and to have them participating in the assemblies so that tasks and responsibilities will be shared. - to ensure that our members will be active. - to find a permanent place for our assemblies and events. We would like to have our own space in the future.
Proposals for change
-People who participate in assemblies should realise that along with their rights , they also have responsibilites. Very often people propose ideas but they don't make their ideas a reality, or they think that someone else will make it happen for them. Therefore, those who participate from the beginning should know that they need to have the time and commitment if they want to participate in decision-making and in the realisation of ideas. - We must continuously welcome new members and be there to help them understand the concept of time banking, to answer their questions, invite them to participate in the decision-making assembly or at any other fun events we organise especially for them. More importantly however, we must show themhow exactly other people already using the Time Bank are benefitting from it. For only if they witness in practice how beneficial time banking can be, will they participate and promote it to their friends and families. Only then, will they include Time Bank in their everyday lives and be more active time banking-wise. - This is very difficult however since we don't have any money or people to sponsor us. Again, it is our choice not to be sponsored by the State or any institution. One solution is to try to find a place that a member of our time bank could offer us and, as an exchange, we will take extra care of the place. Another solution could be to rent a place and share the costs with other initiatives. Organise fundraising parties to collect money for this purpose.
Spread the idea of time banking throughout the neighbourhoods of Athens Connect with all the initiatives based on economies of solidarity in Athens Improve our website and try to make our members more active Find a permanent place for our meetings and assemblies