“One thing we have is the ‘Power to Convene’. Somebody comes and has a great idea, such as “I really want to start a bicycle taxi business”, and young people who are graduates of a local bike mechanic programme say “we know how to take care of bikes, we’d like to start a business. So we pulled together a community event, and got 70 people there who were interested, and we got a whole bunch of new stakeholders and allies, and now they have a working group and are working on setting up that business. I think we just keep doing that in every area where there is both a problem and people who want to do something about it. We can get a crowd together, help identify resources and spark them."
Collaborating with others is key to building Transition in your community and also makes it a lot easier. You can collaborate with anyone – local people, community groups, local government, schools and businesses. Transition is not about competition because we recognise that working collaboratively is more effective, fun and satisfying. This is because you can achieve much more together through:
- Supporting each other’s work
- Avoiding duplication
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- Developing new opportunities, ideas and solutions together
There are two main ways you can collaborate with others in your community:
- Building a network of groups that support each other locally
- Working in partnership with groups on shared projects
Frequently asked questions about networks and partnerships.
At the beginning, focus on groups who are supportive of your aims and values. As your Transition group develops, then you may have the resources to partner with other organisations who are less in alignment with your aims and values. We have the big list activity in our community involvement section to help you work out who in your community you should first approach and it also gives you advice on how to build relationships with different groups.
You should listen to their messages. These messages are the ones that they feel will appeal to people and organisations that neither oppose nor agree with you- the middle ground in order to sway them to oppose what you are doing and stand for. These are often based around the objections that people who are in the middle ground might have to your ideas or programs or projects. Understanding these messages can help you to understand how to speak to people in the middle ground to make yourselves more appealing to them.
You might also ask for a face to face meeting, with a view to understanding their objections to your work, and try to resolve them. If this is unsuccessful, then accept there are some who might not share your agenda.
For more information on this read the big list activity.
You might need to shape your message and speak about what their are interested in, often it is issues around well being, happiness, or improving local job or business prospects. It can be really useful to read what they are saying so you understand their aims or objectives. Also, speaking to them about how you can help them achieve those objectives might make you more of a desirable partner.
It is important to have some document that sets out what Transition is and how your TI aims to achieve those aims. It is important so that you can refer to those aims or descriptions about who you are so that if there is a problem like this you can find ways of saying no to being taken over. There have been some instances of political groups who try this, and it can be difficult to counter. But a clear constitution, reference to the TN web site or your national hub, and then clear and firm facilitation at meeting to prevent the agenda from becoming something other than what the group was set up to do, should limit their influence.
It helps to have a clear vision for your group from the beginning, we have a set of activities to help you produce one in our vision section.
Anytime is good, but it is important at the beginning of Transition to seek out other groups, develop your networking and partnering strategy, and work with those your are most able to. It is important because failure to do that and honour the work that they have done in your area can lead to ‘turf wars’ and start relationships off on the wrong foot. As with any relationship this needs nourishing and cultivating to keep it going in the right direction.
This can be a difficulty. You must make an effort to show respect to people who have been in the community longer than you, and understand their concerns and culture. Finding a way to include some longer standing residents in your group this would be very valuable.
Our guide on how to get and keep people involved in transition has some useful tips on how to do this.
You can find out about groups by reading your local newspaper, ask your local government/municipality, drop into the local library, do a search online, and keep an eye out for events that are going on locally. Asking people can often be the best way to find out about other groups, you will be surprised that how many people know of groups when you ask them
You should not partner with someone who will damage your reputation, or causes conflict within your group. Any group that hold beliefs or who actions contravenes the UN declaration of human rights should be avoided.
The big list activity has some advice on this.