March 2019 is International Transition Health Check Month!
By Sarah McAdam 1st March 2019
We are really excited to be launching the first international health check month for the Transition Movement.
Many Transition Groups have already arranged to get together to carry out a health check this month. If you haven’t set up a meeting yet, it’s not too late to take part – see the end of this blog for details.
So what is this health check?
The Transition health check is not a test that you pass or fail! It has been designed to help your Transition Group:
- Reflect on how your group is doing, sparking conversations about what’s working well and could be strengthened and what isn’t working and needs to change;
- Celebrate your strengths and successes … and your failures as they are also great learning experiences;
- Identify areas which might need more work, skills, or resources;
- Clarify appropriate next steps – which might include agreeing to do less.
The Transition Animal
Sometimes we compare a healthy group to a healthy animal, different parts of its body representing different aspects of what makes Transition successful:
Four legs: A Transition group needs legs to walk and move in the right direction. The 4 essential legs needed to help make Transition a reality are; a well functioning group that gets things done and looks after itself, involvement with your local community, working with a range of partners and networks and running practical projects that support positive change to happen in your neighbourhood.
Heart: We also need a healthy inner life when doing Transition, taking care not to burn out. The heart brings values and principles that help us to take care of ourselves and each other – creating a positive culture, creating time to reflect together and checking on our energy levels and personal sustainability. This is what we call Inner Transition
Vision: It is very hard to see where you’re going without eyes, in the same way that it is difficult to see what it is you are trying to achieve without having a vision.
A wagging tale: A happy animal often has a wagging tail and it is important that a Transition group is having fun, enjoying what it is doing and taking time to socialise.
A Transition Group can definitely function without some of these elements. However, we have evidence from research, experience and feedback that a group which pays attention to all these areas is more likely to be healthy, successful and sustainable. That doesn’t mean you need to be working on improving all these areas at once – many groups take time to develop or have periods when they need to step back and conserve their energy. You may decide that some aspects just aren’t relevant for your group. We encourage you to reflect together and decide what feels right for now.
You can find more information about each of the elements here:
- How to start Transition
- Healthy Groups
- Community involvement
- Networks and Partnerships
- Reflect and celebrate
- Practical projects
- Inner Transition
- Part of movement
Here is a short video in English explaining the health check and how it is used:
It’s all about the conversation
Every Transition group is different in the mix of people involved, the opportunities and challenges where you live, and the internal and external factors that influence whether people get involved. That means each group’s experience of doing the health check will be different and the discussions themselves will probably be the most fruitful part of the process. Many groups have found that going through the health check raises lots of questions, some they answer during the session and some they take with them back into the world. We encourage you to approach the health check with honesty and openness and actively look for opportunities to appreciate yourselves and others. Celebrate your successes and don’t beat yourselves up for things that haven’t worked. Hopefully, there will be a range of perspectives and experiences represented in your group, so listen carefully to what is being shared and take time to explore your conclusions and ideas for the future.
The health check process can give your group renewed energy as you discuss new possibilities. We encourage you not to end the health check meeting with a huge list of actions, as that can feel overwhelming. See if you can identify a few things that your group has the appetite and capacity for and focus on them as your next steps. Trust that this will support you to be more effective and connected in the weeks and months to come.
No group that we know of could achieve perfect results – and we’d probably be worried if it did!
Here’s what Transition Granja Viana in Brazil have to say about their experience of doing the health check…
How to take part
It’s pretty simple for your group to be part of international Transition Health Check Month:
- Download the Healthcheck here https://transitionnetwork.org/do-transition/healthcheck/ (it’s available in 15 languages so we hope there is a version that you can use!)
- Arrange for members of your Transition Group to get together for 3 – 4 hours some time in March 2019
- Agree that at least one of your group will read through the Healthcheck guide before the meeting, so they can lead the process.
You can apply your own style and find ways to make the event even more nourishing and fun. Some groups have arranged a shared meal beforehand or a party afterwards. Some have chosen an interesting venue or have come together in a space where they feel connected to nature. You may be able to find someone from outside your group who will act as a facilitator.
We hope you will join us in this exciting international experiment. If you are a Facebook User, please register your interest here [Health Check Month event page] so we can build up a picture of who is participating.
What happens after our group has done the health check?
Once you have completed the health check, it would be great if you could share your group’s results. This will contribute towards our first attempt at an international self-assessment of the Transition Movement. We will share an overview of the information collected. Then together we can celebrate the positives and reflect on what else might be needed to help the Transition movement have even more impact in the future.
We are beta testing a new service to map initiatives and record health check scores – visit the new site here.
The health check may help your group to identify particular areas where you plan to focus your energy and attention and would welcome some inspiration or support. You can access a range of resources on the Transition Network website relating to each section of the healthcheck (see here).
Thank you for taking part in this new global experiment!