I’m fascinated by the momentum for nationally coordinated, policy-sanctioned efforts to stimulate social capital. One day perhaps it will be possible to study and compare the expressed objectives and reported outcomes of some of these schemes.
Our kiwi friends had their inaugural national celebration of neighbourliness, 26-27 March. Hopefully there will be some useful evaluation material to emerge: at least they’re giving it some thought. One of the founders, Rebecca Harrington, is reported here on Scoop:
'Because the idea of Neighbours Day Aotearoa is focused on locally organised gatherings in homes, backyards, or footpaths across the country, gauging exact levels of participation was always going to be a challenge.
'The indicators we have are the visitors to the website, media coverage, participants in social media, and direct contact from individuals (which was hard to keep up with)' she says. 'A huge number of websites have helped spread the word, and we’ve discovered mentions published in all kinds of places we didn’t know about from kindergarten notices to businesses’ staff newsletters. So we think the real level of involvement is a lot higher than we can see or measure.'