During lockdown, I started volunteering as a member of my local Mutual Aid Group. Mutual Aid Groups come together to organise how to meet their own needs, outside of the formal frameworks of charities, NGOs and government. They operate on the concept of mutualism which breaks down the divide between helper and helped and emphasise equality between the two. Our Group is very local. We began by helping people with shopping and picking up prescriptions or with dog-walking and it’s one of over 4,000 groups in the UK and a fast growing 6,000 globally.
Through participating, I’ve come to appreciate the similarities between Mutual Aid Groups and Emerging World’s new INmersive Corporate Volunteering approach. Both approaches:
– Use people’s skills and passions to serve a people or groups beyond their normal day to day experience
– Emphasise practical engagement and an equality of interest and influence between helper and helped
– Encourage ideas and activities from volunteers themselves
– Have reciprocity at their heart