TimeBank in Verkhovyna - an effective tool of cohesion for a new times
The initiative group in Verkhovyna municipality started the Timebanking system - a mechanism that promotes social integration and provides an opportunity to strengthen mutual support and create more inclusive communities, revealing the potential of participants.
The idea of the tool is simple – community members receive time credits for helping others for free and then use the received hours to get help from others.
The first TimeBank appeared in Japan in 1973, and gradually the movement spread to more than 30 countries around the world. Edgar Stuart Cahn, one of the founders of the timebanking movement, emphasized that such a tool "can rebuild the infrastructure of trust and care, and this will strengthen families and communities."
How did it all begin in Verkhovyna? Having learned from representatives of the PAUСI Foundation about such an unusual tool for interaction, the "Verkhovyna - our second home" initiative group, looking for ways to cohere the community in the current difficult wartime, turned to the PAUCI Foundation with a request to hold an introductory workshop. Since there was no experience in implementing such a tool in Ukraine until now, the Foundation's experts turned to their British and American colleagues, who have been supporting the development of the timebanking movement around the world for many years. The leaders of the world TimeBank movement Sarah Bird from Great Britain (www.timebanking.org) and Krista Wyatt from the USA (www.timebanks.org) gladly agreed to help Ukraine and shared with the Foundation's experts their own experience and guides for launching a community based on the principle paying it forward.
The introductory workshop took place in mid-May on the basis of the NGO "Verkhovyna - the flower of the Carpathians", and the well-known Ukrainian business trainer and coach Oksana Voronina moderated the event. The participants of the workshop - representatives of IDPs who found refuge in the Verkhovyna area, together with local residents, enthusiastically accepted the values on which the practice of Timebanking is based and jointly decided to start a community and developed a plan for the first steps. In their opinion, the Timebanking tool is an additional opportunity to strengthen the community - because mutual help, which works in timebanking as a "two-way street", expands opportunities for all participants - both for the recipient of help and for the one who provides it.
Old friends and partners of the PAUCI Foundation - the Ukrainian technological organization SocialBoost - joined the help in piloting the tool in Ukraine - both organizations were pioneers in the implementation of participatory budgeting in Ukraine. SocialBoost specialists have developed a digital tool that allows accounting for the exchange of hours between members of the Timebank community.
And what's next? The circle of mutual help in Verkhovyna worked - Oksana conducted a coaching session for Kostiantyn, Kostiantyn mowed the grass for Nadia, Natalia held classes with the children, and Anna advised Ksenia on how to start a business selling her own handmade items on the Internet, and so on. Step by step, the community is strengthening, growing, enriched with new talents, and looking for answers to new challenges: how to fully involve children and youth in Timebank? How to build bridges of trust between IDPs and community residents with the help of Timebanking?
And what do the members of the TimeBank Verkhovyna community say?
Natalia: "For me, TimeBank is a great platform on which I can do cheerleading with children in my spare time or prepare them for competitions. It gives me the opportunity to realize all my creative ideas and see the result. And as a bonus, I exchange my hours with great pleasure for the services I need, for example, my son became interested in fishing, and unfortunately, I don't understand anything about it, but there are those who would love to teach Matviy fishing".
Maria: "Timebanking is a community that unites and brings not only benefit but also satisfaction from the opportunity to help".
Maria: “TimeBank is live communication, new acquaintances, and good advice! With the help of the TimeBank project, you understand how you can be useful to others. After all, it is so important for us today, to support each other!".
If you want to start a TimeBank in your community and would like to organize an introductory workshop, please contact Nataliia Baldych, a member of the Executive Committee of the PAUCI Foundation, tel. +38 (067) 813-58-73, email@example.com.