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Posts Tagged ‘microenterprise’

WORLDCHANGING - A user’s guide for the 21’st century

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Edited by Alex Steffen; Forward by Al Gore.

This book is a ground breaking compendium of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future.

ecohouse_photoSections on Power, Shelter, Business, Community and just Stuff are divided into short, easy to read explanations of a few hundred of the best solutions out there. The guide is put together by a team of people who invite us to join their conversation on the best tools we can use to improve our lives.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

World Vision

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome extreme poverty and injustice. World Vision New Zealand currently supports more than 70 projects in more than 25 countries.

How can I get involved?

  • Sponsoring a Child
  • Getting involved in a Charity Challenge (biking round Cambodia or climbing Mt Kilamanjaro are a few examples)
  • Volunteer to help run World Vision programmes in NZ
  • Participating in/running a 40-hour Famine
  • Donating directly
  • Getting involved in World Vision advocacy campaigns
  • Joining/starting a World Vision group at your school or university


Wednesday, January 14th, 2009


What do they do?

Caritas is the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is part of Caritas Internationalis, which is a confederation of 154 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies from around the world. Caritas agencies work in over 198 countries: delivering aid, supporting development, and working for justice.

How can I be involved?


Campaigning – Caritas are involved in many campaigns, including Aid, Children, Cluster Munitions Crime and Punishment, Debt, Environmental Justice, HIV and AIDS, Human Rights Make Poverty History Millennium Development Goals, Submissions to NZ Government, and Trade. They offer excellent resources on their website to help you join with them to take action on these issues.

Banking with minutes

Monday, November 14th, 2005

Omar Hamedclock

A young minor offender being sentenced by his peers, an American insurance company being paid for in time, a peer tutoring system that rewards students with recycled computers and Glasgow residents paying for tarot card readings by doing gardening. Four very different applications of one simple idea. Time as currency.

Across 12 countries, over 500 Time Banks are working towards what many see as the “Third Economy”. From Ghana to Japan there are now community organisations structured not around money but around time. It’s not charity, it’s community; it does not value dollars, it values time. Time Banks trade hours of voluntary work, work done for the community and for individuals. It does not create an economy, it creates a society.

It works simply, you give up one hour of your time to voluntary work and you gain one time dollar. You can spend that tax free dollar on local services and other people’s time volunteered by other participating individuals and organisations. And it does not matter if you are a corporate lawyer doing community legal work or a sixteen year old tutoring your neighbour’s children, everyone’s hour is worth the same. A computer system calculates how many time dollars you have and sends you an account based on your earnings and spending.

In London you can spend that time dollar on drama classes or gaining IT skills. There are no longer recipients of charity or what the creator of this system, American Civil Rights Lawyer, Edgar Cahn, calls “the throw away people”.

Time Banks are based on four principles; Assets, that every human being is one, Redefining Work, no more taking women’s, children’s, or volunteers’ work for granted, Reciprocity, replacing one way acts with two way ones, and Social Capital, what British PM Tony Blair calls the “magic ingredient”, the work done that benefits the community and through ongoing investments of which we can turn social breakdown into social cohesion.

Surprisingly, Time Banks have been incredibly successful. In London alone there are 31 Time Banks that have clocked up over 28 000 hours in voluntary work. In Chicago refurbished computers were given out to 4800 students, in up to 50 problem schools, who did one hundred hours of peer tutoring and whose parents also did eight hours of community work. Academic results went up, bullying went down.

The crime ridden and notoriously poverty stricken housing development Benning Terrace in Washington DC now clocks up enough hours to buy four tons of food per month at the local food bank.

Law firm Holland and Knight billed the Shaw community in Washington for $230 000 in time dollars after they closed crack houses, made frozen government money available for a local playground, cleaned up local police corruption and kept the neighbourhood school open. The community repaid this by helping with the local clean up, school tutoring, a night escort service for elderly and by phoning in license plate numbers of drug dealers’ cars.

The benefit to the community does not end with the deed. With each payment and repayment bonds within the community strengthen and those people who have been told that they have no value; the unemployed, immigrants, the young and the elderly discover that they can in fact be an asset to the community. One participant of the scheme said it was “impossible not to make friends”.

In the UK, participation in Time Banks by those earning less than ’£10 000 is double that of the same demographic group participating in traditional volunteer work. Time Banks are redefining the responsible democratic citizen. A Californian law firm receives payment for legal advice by clients turning up to demonstrate outside the workplaces of bad employers.

Time as money schemes have the potential to revitalise the public sector by turning it from resource-stretched to resource-rich. With the expansion of the Time Bank scheme long waiting lists of mental health patients will be a thing of the past.

British doctors are already referring patients with long term depression to local Time Banks. What about New Zealand’s over stretched parole service and high rates of reoffending? In San Diego ex-prisoners pay for aftercare services in time dollars earned by being part of a support group.

In Washington D.C. volunteer youth jurors on a special Youth Court jury are paid in time dollars for their work. The youth offenders go before the court and are given community service sentences, Lifeskills training, they must make an apology to the victims and become a youth juror themselves.

The Youth Court is helping break down the cycle of reoffending which many justice systems encourage. In this way youth suddenly become responsible for participating in their community and finding alternatives to crime. One youth who was sentenced at the Youth Court later became a volunteer juror, helping other youth like himself.

What of Auckland’s growing traffic problem caused by low rates of public transport use? Plans have already been made in London for a “Tutor Commuter” program. You will be able to learn French on the Underground or teach English to new immigrants on the bus on your way to work.

In the 21st century Time Banks will have their day. Cahn’s goal, “To create a society where decency and caring are rewarded automatically” is becoming a reality in London, Washington and many other cities. How long before New Zealand joins this global movement? It is only a matter of time.


Time Dollar USA

Time Banks UK