The background to this question…
Having attended various personal development programmes, it was clear to us (Antony and Pádraig) that they all shared a common challenge: how to hold a group of people in such a way that sustains the momentum and enthusiasm during the periods where participants are no longer together in training – whether in between sessions or after a programme’s completion?
We realised that this same problem is also shared by individuals attempting to create change in their own lives – it is generally far more difficult to sustain a change when trying to achieve it on your own.
Regarding sustainable change there is one common thread that is increasingly recognised by health organisations as being an essential component – and that is our accountability to others. The buddygroups platform was inspired by the buddy system, and hence the name, which utilises the power of accountability.
The buddy system: a peer-to-peer support system in which two or more people, the ‘buddies’, help and support one another in accomplishing something.
We felt that it was important to create a suite of tools that not only supported groups, and the buddy system, but also individuals. The functionality of the buddygroups platform is therefore also designed to support individuals in being more self-accountable.
When creating the online suite of tools we came up with the following four main elements – these are the Journal, Practice, Gallery and Discussion ‘Sections’ (check out our examples of use in the “Platform” menu). They combine to create an online self-development platform that allows people to make positive change either as individuals or in groups.
The online platform is key to implementing the aim of the project: “to create sustainable change in the world through ways that support the individual, and in doing this, support the community at large”. We will continue to evolve the platform in order to support and carry out that aim.
Although the platform plays a pivotal role the project at its core is about community and community building – the buddygroups project “has been born out of a desire to be part of a community of people living in a way that brings more peace into the world.”,
A natural progression of this will be for buddygroups to run personal and community development programmes and this will play a role in how buddygroups gives back to the wider community.