Edgar Cahn: Scotland is taking the lead worldwide on co-production

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As part of Co-production Week Scotland, Edgar Cahn, creator of Timebanking and author of No More Throw-away People: The Co-production Imperative, writes about his support for the week, the progress made and how co-production is now more imporant than ever.

"In devoting an entire week to promoting CoProduction, Scotland is taking the lead worldwide. Congratulations. You are transforming what it means to “help others” from a well-intended service delivery role to being a catalyst that enlists those being helped as partners and coproducers of real change, for themselves and for others.

TimeBanks USA is undertaking to bring CoProduction into our higher education system – both for undergraduates at the University of the District of Columbia and at my law school. The law faculty will shortly authorize a course in Becoming a Changemaker which introduces law students to CoProduction that reframes providing legal services to clients from a service delivery role to a transaction that enlists those clients as co-producers advancing System Change.

This past week, at the Annual Conference of our National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), TimeBanks USA, my law school and the NLADA conferred a formal Client Contribution award to clients who had advanced social justice.

As we look at the recent election, we can see that we may being learning that the well-meaning efforts of all our dedicated NGOs to “do good” may have relegated those  recipients to being passive and disenfranchised – a status they did not appreciate. This election may have been their expression of dissatisfaction with that role and that status. My hope is that coproduction will be the way back to restore us to the core values on which this nation was founded.

Empowering the disempowered and disenfranchise is the mission to which I have committed myself since 1963 when I served as Special Counsel and speech writer for Attorney General Robert Kennedy. I’m not turning back – and you in Scotland have provided a role model for us all."