WeHelpen.nl: innovative marketplace for helping and strengthening each other
The WeHelpen (‘WeHelp’) cooperative is a nationwide movement in the Netherlands. The cooperative set up a free online marketplace, www.wehelpen.nl, for finding, connecting, organising and sharing help among people who support and trust each other. Rabobank is one of the co-founders of this platform.
Launched in October 2012, WeHelpen brings together the informal supply of and demand for help in a contemporary way. The flow of activities on its online platform shows that people living in the Netherlands are keen to help each other.
The concept is simple, but effective: using the day planner and logbook on the site, individuals or groups of people are able to efficiently plan and organise help for someone needing support. Everyone can sign up. The kinds of help being sought and offered vary from walking the dog to doing grocery shopping; from pruning the hedge to art lessons over coffee.
17,000 active members
In late 2014, more than 17,000 people and 1,100 closed networks are active on the platform, seeking and offering help. So far, over 7,000 requests have been posted on the platform.
Rabobank, through the involvement of its 15 Dutch member banks, is one of the founders of this platform, together with Achmea, BureauVijftig, CZ, Menzis, PGGM, The Caretakers and VitaValley.
WeHelpen.nl also receives support from its sixty other members, including healthcare and welfare organisations, local councils, housing associations, health insurance providers and ambassador members.
Becoming a national infrastructure
WeHelpen.nl wants to become a national infrastructure, which supports local communities in transitioning back to a reciprocal ‘civil society’. Therefore, everyone has the opportunity to contribute, and is challenged to keep taking an active part in society. It adds a modern twist to the notion of neighbourly help and good neighbourliness.
Strengthening own environment
Supporting WeHelpen fits in extremely well with the level of social impact Rabobank wishes to make as a cooperative. People's social and economic well-being is partly dependent upon the environment in which they live and work.
Ultimately, people have to take the initiative to strengthen their own environment themselves, but Rabobank can provide active support with this via its Dutch member banks. The philosophy of Raiffeisen, the founder of the cooperative, is all about promoting responsibility, independence and self-sufficiency by working together.