Thursday, 22 October 2015

First notes and a few comments from the OVTRK forum meeting.

Some of the Results of our last OVTRK forum on 14 October with Dr Chrys Horn and Sarah Wylie and a focus on An opportunity to direct our recovery, five years on.  Any responses to please

 What would a thriving and fully recovered community sector look like?

  • There is a strong sense of identity as a sector and all recognise their shared interests.
  • NGOs are recognised and respected and resourced (more than just money) alongside the Govt and Business sectors and are invited in as experts with skills and knowledge in their particular area, rather than having to knock on the door to get heard while someone else makes decisions about them. 1 dot
  • Sector groups are included as partners and have a partnerships accord with Govt organisations.
  • There is provision eg in the East Frame for community groups and services.  Community groups can’t pay high rentals so they need provision for them.  There are places around the City where groups can access assistance, skills and services such as graphics, financial advice, legal advice, printing/ photocopying, hot desks etc. 
  • Groups are able to access the right skill sets or support to deal with the increase in complexity that many face. 
  • There are good connections between groups of many different kinds and all work to support each other 3 dots
  • Volunteers are easy to find and are full of energy and not burned out, or not likely to burn out. 2 dots
  • There will be a culture of possibility.  Not reactionary as things tend to be at present.
  • Groups can be who they are rather than what the government wants them to be – with adequate resources to be creative.
  • There is success when people mobilise and activism is seen as a positive thing rather than a negative thing.
  • We are able to think intergenerationally, financially rather than only being able to think only to the next funding round.
  • The community sector is recognised as working on all four the wellbeings.  The environment is integral to the sector not simply a nice to have add-on.  
  • The sector has access to mainstream media and NGOs and community groups are confident in being able to use the media to get their perspectives out.  4 dots

What steps do we need to recover and move towards thriving?

Things the sector can do:

More networking/ better communication across the sector to develop good peer support and find out how we can support each other.   16 dots

A noticeboard that can direct groups to services, events, information and groups that can help.  It can help with mobilisation and organisation.  A virtual board would be a start but we have to remember that many people have issues with language, literacy and with internet access so we need to find ways to broaden out the communications.

We need a new network of Environment/ sustainability sector groups.  [Are there other networks needed?]  Can existing networks work better?

These things work best if we can develop or have a joint a project that brings groups together (Sophie mentioned that the climate march in late November might be something to get involved in – [is this an immediate joint project that groups could start forming a network around?])

Can we use service clubs such as Rotary, and organisations who help organisations (eg SSPA, SEWN OVRTRK, Volcan) better?  Many groups offer great services, networking opportunities and skills sharing – we just need to use them better.

Distinguish between individual organisational capacity and sector capacity. Small organisations shouldn’t have to have the skills to cover everything – How can we use the spread of skills better? 

Can we introduce the idea of sabbaticals or secondments to other NGOs?  [Is something like timebanking (mentioned later) a tool that we could use here?]  3 dots

Might we have a sort of skills bank where we can access skills across the sector – eg marketing, accounting, legal, graphics etc.

How can the sector recognise and raise the visibility of groups who are completely voluntary?

Do we need to rethink how we use the term volunteer because it implies a hierarchy in which volunteers do the work that an organisation asks of them. look at Maori culture as an example of everyone having a role.  We need a Korowai – a protection over the sector as a way of valuing it.  We need to value all things people bring to groups and recognise how everyone contributes eg the vege co-op there are no volunteers because we are all part of the collective.  Can we useg things like timebanking.  Another example is Android group where people are not volunteers – they just do things together and help each other out.

Unpack the differences between communities of interest and geographical/ location based communities and their needs and interests – There is a difference between place based vs issues based work and it seems important that think more here.  5 dots

Look at the ways in which we support the neoliberal agenda as a sector and work internally and externally to weaken that support and or to find new ways of operating that build support for a more community friendly way of doing things.

Find ways to operate outside of the whole mainstream economic system and set up alternative economies that gives the sector greater independence.

Work towards a partnerships approach to working with Govt at all its levels.  Try ot enter in partnerships accords which could set out the intentions of both parties and keep discussion about the forms this can take open.

Work with funders to provide more balance in the way funding is allocated – away from projects and more allowed for things like having an administrator or just helping an organisation function so it can do the things that need doing in a community. 

Build on what OVTRK and other are doing and increase advocacy to encourage forms that will incline government towards a return to transparency and participatory democracy.  This may involve organising as a sector and putting out a consistent message to the electorate as well as to govt organisations.  8 dots

What we can do as individuals in this sector?

Learn to listen to ourselves, feel into our silence and our bodies and speak our intuitive truths which can open up a whole new conversation.  [This is remiscent of some of the stuff Peter Cammock Talks about in his book on mindfulness and leadership – in case anyone wants to find out more]   7 dots

Things that involve persuading others

Get rebuilding community accepted as an anchor project and prioritise it above the other physical projects in the CBD rebuild.  Put people first and don’t develop in a way that means locals can no longer afford to live in the City.  [This may sit alongside fostering/ advocating for a partnerships approach]  9 dots

Share an idea right after the earthquakes was brilliant and process beyond that – not so much.  It has been talked about but hasn’t been actioned.  Rejuvenate share an idea

Work to change the neoliberal agenda that is dominant in political discourse.  (have some sort of strategy to encourage the consistent use of forms of discourse and ways of doing things that subvert this agenda and discourse?)

Sort out insurance hold ups so we can get much needed buildings up and running again.
Increase recognition of purely voluntary groups as well as those groups who have paid staff. Currently the former are often unrecognised or invisible.