The mighty @markomanka, after some lengthy discussions with others (including myself), has produced a very interesting document. It is an explicit social contract, of the sort we imagine is hovering over the best community-care initiatives we have seen in the two years of opencare. I find it very, very thought provoking; it seeks a way that we can promise to do our best, which is all that communities can do, while still taking responsibility. It somehow brings home the unwavering gaze at our human fallibility, our perennial underfunding, our precarious organisational structures, and still the excellence, still the empathy, still the grit to soldier on.
Reading made me think of the Helliniko Metropolitan Community Clinic, or of the Woodbine Health Autonomy Center, or of @alex_levene's and the other volunteers' work at the Jungle in Calais.
I am sharing it here, hoping for comments from all of you – starting from @gehan, @woodbinehealth, @winnieponcelet and @patrick_andrews. In fact, I am thinking of making a non-care specific version that would cover all community initiatives. But then again, maybe all community initiatives have an element of care.
A much longer, commented version is here.
- This form of care is designed to outlive the individual initiators, and has a clear strategy towards sustainability, or the necessary situational awareness to navigate through changes preserving the right to care of its beneficiaries.
- This form of care is designed to work as a catalyzer, it may remain available an arbitrarily short period of time, and it is explicitly meant at raising awareness and/or teaching coping or problem solving strategies and/or passing the responsibility of care onto well identified existing organizations, rather than offering outright care in the traditional, entrusting sense.
- Care offered by our team/s is designed with you based on information that has been, and will be tested for validity concerning both its effectiveness and safety. Our partners and we commit to publicly discussing our practices, to be transparent and to have the opportunity of discovering what could be done better/differently.
- We commit to transparency about our funding streams, and we commit to procuring and managing resources adhering to the ethical standards we apply in all our activities, and in measure to sustain the continuity of our action, designing adequate fallback strategies should causes of force majeure cut us short of planned funding.
- We have designed this initiative with our community in mind, we struggle to maintain space and opportunities for everyone of you to join us and use, or ethically misuse what we maintain, so that the forms and offers of care existing here could evolve with the community itself. We are aware we cannot do everything alone, but we can facilitate you doing your part.
- We put in place every measure within our means to support your conscious participation to the production of the desired outcomes, and to support you in behavior changing and maintenance. However, we will never deny your access to care from us, as long as fall within the community we care for, as it is transparently stated and advertised in our statute.
- We may enforce temporary restrictions to your access to care, under those circumstances in which your behavior represents an acute risk for the care providers (e.g.: violent or otherwise threatening behaviors), or whenever your behavior poses an absolute barrier to the achievement of the goal of said care, until modified (e.g.: requirement of discontinuation of alcohol abuse before accessing organs availability lists).
- We devote ourselves to care, and we are aware that the very objective and meaning of care evolve with the vision of the world of individuals and community. Thus, we commit to continuing independent evaluation of our activities, and to turning any breach or near miss consequently identified into the awareness of a changing landscape that would guide an evolution of our operations and governance. We invite all our members and users to raise a flag and report those instances in which needs required work-arounds, not because we aim to police the ethical dimension of your behavior, but because we want to rethink with you our rules and principles in order to find ways to accommodate the unmet needs you spotted in the most transparent and widely acceptable form possible.