Join the NABUUR Online Teams

Status: Finished
Step: 
2

There are already teams forming to develop resources for local communities, to shape the way other platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be engaged to increase the effectiveness, to encourage peer-to-peer engagement, and to deal with certain topics occurring in multiple villages, amongst other things.
Do you have ideas or suggestions on any of these topics? Please join the group!

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There are separate groups for discussing

The NABUUR Camp

NABUUR Governance

All discussions regarding the development of the NABUUR platform have been copied to:
Join the NABUUR developers team

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I had intended to say nothing on the message being conveyed in the last day, but after having some more time to fully digest it, I no longer feel I can. Simply put, I am incredibly disappointed. Am I surprised? Not at all.

No paid staff = an absence of clear leadership, no "go to" people to address problems or fix things that so often needed attended to in terms of the website.

Absence of clear leadership = chaos

To add to the issues this presents for the Nabuur site as a whole, expecting groups of active volunteers to willingly give their time to manage Facebook, Social Actions, Twitter, Linked In and the various other places where Nabuur has a presence online is a lot to ask. People are here because they care about the projects and helping them find real tangible results. Managing the rest-is it impossible? No. Will it work without a clear organizational structure? I think if you take a very good inventory of what's being happening here at Nabuur in the last year-the growing silence among volunteers, the number of villages without facilitators, the number of villages with no project or tasks set up that have very frustrated people wondering what they did wrong...I think you really need to ask yourself if Nabuur in it's current state really reflects a platform able to sustain itself.

Part of what has kept many people here despite the flaws is the deep sense of community and friendships developed among the volunteers. I feel like we are continually asked to give and commit to help, but then never end up seeing sustainable, tangible fruits from the ideas we share. I would agree that part of this is due in part to people not feeling empowered to take initiative and always feeling they need to ask permission before they go forward.

This feels very much like we're on a ship that's been taken out to sea, we're in the middle of the ocean and suddenly someone comes onto the PA system and says "I regret to inform you, but our ship's captain and crew have jumped overboard. Decide among yourselves how you think it best to get home. Good luck!"

I really do wish that I could express excitement and a positive attitude, but at this point it is very difficult to feel that way. All I feel at the moment is very deep disappointment.

Respectfully-

Jennifer

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

To Nabuur staff:

My reaction to this is that I am shocked but not surprised.

If you really want volunteers to start running things, get honest about what went wrong and the practical details of how things will be moving forward. Stop keeping so much hidden from us and start trusting us. Tell us who made the decision and why.

I am very disappointed that there is no proper Question And Answer task set up to allow us to get more information.

Some people may be able to attend the open calls next week, but many will not due to personal schedules, costs of international calls etc. To say 'email us' is not an answer as everyone will have the same questions so lets have this discussion out in the open on the website.

For several years I and other neighbours have offered our opinions and help, suggested that Nabuur stops growing until the model works well. But we have been totally ignored, told 'thanks, but we are doing it this way'. I have felt that staff did not want us to have any power to make decisions, that at the organisational level we should be seen but not heard. That it was soemtimes more about having hundreds of (mostly inactive) villages and thousands of (mostly inactive) neighbours so that Nabuur could look big and important, and not about actually achieving results.

Now suddenly you change your mind and say 'over to you'. With no forward planning all we will get is even more chaos than we have already, more people will drift away, more Local Reps will lose hope of finding solutions for their communities, and Nabuur will ceas to exist.

I assume you have been thinking about this change for a few weeks now, but you have continued to put villages online. Was that really in the best interests of those communities, or just because you wanted to keep the appearance of business as usual?

Why did you post a blog entry a couple of days ago (International Cooperation 2.0) that made it look as though all was fine and we would see many interesting developments soon?

I am prtty angry and disappointed at the moment so maybe I am not being as diplomatic as I should be, I just want some honest answers.

Mary

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

I have to say I feel sad and frustrated after reading the email send to all of the community this morning. Sad because of how much Nabuur has meant to me and frustrated because of how the whole site development thing was managed throughout the years. The more I learnt about Drupal the more surprised I was at how much money was spent in site development and how little it was achieved. I just can't understand it. Also I never understood why people's views were never taken into account and it was always as Mary says "Thanks a lit for your contribution but we know how to do things"

Anyway, I am not sure I could join the conference call but it would be good if I get a chance.

I might also sound pessimistic but I have a big disbelieve that things will work out themselves without any clear guidance.

Even worst, I think a platform only managed by volunteers will hugely increase the risk of scams and fake projects. If it has happened with staff over viewing, can you begin to imagine how it could be once there are only volunteers running it. In a way it would be better to just shut the site down all together to avoid any big issues in the future or to pass on the flag to another organisation that could take charge.

Once again, I will be eternally thankful with Nabuur for what it has meant in my life but it is sad that the past couple of years have been full of disappointments.

Raul

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

hi
i am Helen local representative of Buea village and i will like to give
my humble view on the message i just received from nabuur on the changes to be done by jan 1 that nabuur will no longer have paid staff but solely volunteer run. Well, i will not like to see nabuur fall because
this is a good resourse to us who work in the non-profit sector. Nabuur together with its volunteers like Jennifer have helped me so much in building not only my village but also the work of my association wc is a newly created association.
I am so sceptical this new changes will work cos i dont think somebody will work wholeheartedly for free. Is there nothing that can be done to atleast encourage volunteers work well or just keep a
limted number of volunteers and pay them?...i will hate to loose the opportunities i get
on nabuur so, i think a solution should be gotten. and i think what Raul said is right that Nabuur will only open the road for scammers and fake project dealings.
Helen

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Yes I would like to join the team.Tell me more about the teams work.How it works and what it entails.

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I am interested in being member of the online team

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Sad Story! I think Nabuur has come across circumstances beyond control. I really pity that and could have wished Nabuur to have had a steady funding that warrants paid staff that leads to efficiency. Let us pray and hope that things change for the better, that there should more efficient staff on a voluntary basis; while at the same time learning the important lesson of never taking some people too long on a journey and very far enough that they are in a fix not knowing whether to get back or forge ahead. Personally, I feel for Nabuur and continue to laud this organization that has created a network amongst communities that could boast of positive results.

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Seems recession has had its impact on Nabuur as well. Well, there are vast possibilities when things are left to be controlled by people from all across, but the need for an arbitor is always there. No doubt, many of those associated with the online platform are experts and professionals, but somebody is always required at the other end to piece up the strings. Let us hope the new scheme works in line with the spirit of volunteerism and provides further strength to the movement.

Regards
Ramesh Negi
New Delhi

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Kindly add my name for online team.Please confirm.

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hi,
this news has shocked me and made me very sad,even though I left nabuur earlier in the year, so i can only imagine how all of you are feeling. The hardworking villages (the neighbours, local rep and the actually community on the ground) must be feeling abandoned right now , for the sake of these villages hopefully we will all find a way to forge forward in these bleak times.
I think first of all we need to have an open disscusion on what is happening and what future we all see for nabuur, as I myself have loads of questions, why don't we set up a project with tasks about the future and try to get through this challenge, because if we don't the villages face their own hard challenges now on their own, and that we act immediately on the decisions made
thank you all for all allowing me to be part of this platform and i hope above all this is not the end but the beginning of the new nabuur and we will see a silver lining soon
hope i make sense,
Sinéad

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Kindly add my name to the online team.I'd love to help in anyway that I can.Please confirm

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I am very disappointed that no one from Nabuur has responded to this discussion yet, but maybe its because it is the weekend. If that is the case, I look forward to reading more on Monday. There is only a month to get all this sorted out, with Christmas in the middle which means that many people will be away from home for several days, also out in the evenings more than usual.

Siegfried as you are the one in overall charge, I would have expected that you would have shown some respect for all the local communities and volunteers and come online to give us a full and honest explanation of how Nabuur got into this situation and what happens now, but obviously not. You post an exciting-sounding blog post on Wednesday, then totally disappear. I cannot speak for others, but I am not impressed.

A few of the questions that occur to me:

Will new villages still be allowed to register?
My opinion is that new registrations should stop immediately.
If there is a successful transition, they could restart once all current villages are receiving the support they need to function properly.
If new villages will still be allowed, it should be made very clear to them that Nabuur is going through some serious changes and that they cannot expect much support for a while. This is also true for villages that are currently in the registration process.

Nabuur is registered as a non-profit foundation in the Netherlands and, as well as the paid staff, has a board with Seigfried in overall charge as CEO - http://www.nabuur.com/en/board-management
I don't know how such things work, but would assume that they have been a part of making the decisions that have got us to this point? If so, will they continue to be in control after 1st January?

Will the current paid staff continue to be involved as volunteers?

Who will make decisions about how Nabuur should be run, control day to day activity, recruit and train facilitators and others with necessary skills etc? If volunteers, how will these people be selected and held accountable, are there any legal implications?

The email and blog post states that "The NABUUR platform will remain online, and limited central support will still be available...". What does this mean - what kind of support, provided by who, to who?

What happens if the site crashes - will there be people with the skills to fix it, and within what timescales?

It will take money to keep the site online, organise the NabuurCamp events etc. Where will that come from?

Mary

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

I am interested.

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I believe running Nabuur is a full time job. Asking people who already have such full time jobs to now run it is not just feasible. There will definitely be a conflict of interest. What happens to Nabuur when there's extra demand on such volunteers from their paying employers? If you want Nabuur to be run by volunteers, there should at least be a transitory period where such volunteers will be trained and evaluated by the staff till there is certainty that they can do the job. And what exactly is 'limited central support'?
I hope i can join the conference call because i really need some things clarified.

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Dear all,

To those who announced they want to join the online teams: Welcome and thank you! Please allow me some time to get back to you.

I'm aware that the message will have come as a surprise (or a shock) to most of you. I don't find it an easy situation myself either. While in the midst of positive publicity, exciting developments (International Cooperation 2.0), a steady stream of stories from villages, but also an unfinished redesign, we didn't manage to secure sufficient funding for keeping NABUUR running 'the old way' in the next year.

Looking back we haven't sufficiently been able to let Neighbours get involved in running the show, to tap into the potential of the community.

I will stay involved in NABUUR (as a volunteer), Romina will also stay around. Frans promised to restart the site if needed, but it runs pretty much by itself. Kester is also still there. This should be enough to keep NABUUR running, address spammers/scams answer questions.

At the same time this means there's an opportunity to develop a new way of working, work on a new governance model with the board, improve the way things work. Call me stubborn, but I refuse to just let it go.

Pelle

P.S. I know this leaves many questions unanswered - I will get back on those later.
P.P.S. Mary, I'm not surprised that you bring up the point about 'adding' villages again. We haven't been able to agree on that issue over the last year(s). If you want we can call to discuss the different views?

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