About reverse participation


Introduction to Reverse Participation

There is neither any logical or legitimate reason for either poverty or inequality which exists in our society today. We have space, we have technology, we have people, we have the concept of money, we have free and easy access to everything to ensure that every single human being has everything they need to live a meaningful, fulfilling lifestyle and existence.

The myth of overpopulation

Some people might think that there is overpopulation and that there are too many people in the world. But if this is what you think, how do you know? On what basis are you making that assertion? Mankind has never come close to realizing its potential as a species. It's true we are creative and highly intelligent, because we have so much technology and so much that is beautiful. But it also true that the vast majority of people, around 80%, are never given any real opportunity to be creative. We cannot even treat half the population - women - anywhere close to being equal to men, who we value for their intelligence, knowledge, creativity. Even today most women are valued only for reasons which are directly connected to their bodies or ability to have children.


The real reason for both poverty and inequality is that people generally have an extremely limited view of reality, the truth about who they really are and the reality of their existence. We have poverty and inequality because generally we are too wrapped up in our beliefs in ideology and various belief systems, we judge ourselves and each other on the basis of these different ideologies and belief systems, and we confuse possession of money and material possessions with wealth.

Confusion over reality

It is this confusion where we perceive the possession of money and material possessions as wealth which also causes us to misunderstand power. Many people judge others and themselves on the basis of how much money and possessions they have and they give them both value and authority for this very reason. They are perceived as successful and worth knowing, and so people look up to them and give them authority. However if you have no money, and do not own that much, or you don't fit in, you also get judged as someone who has little or no value.

Understanding power

However real power comes from being yourself, knowing who you are, being creative and being able to connect to other people. It has nothing to do with the possession of money or material possessions, or even property. These are things which, if you were one of a few people marooned on a tropical island and isolated, would help you survive and create some sort of life. You could not eat money, and possession of the tropical island would be meaningless. What would really matter is your ability to survive, your ability to create things and solve problems, and your ability to treat people as themselves and how you make them feel.

Knowledge from personal experience

Given the fact that people who experience hardship, inequality and poverty learn about the often harsher reality of what life in society or a community really means such people have knowledge which is not shared by the rest of the population. You cannot teach people about poverty and people who do not experience poverty or inequality for themselves often have a completely false understanding or even no understanding of the real issues involved. This gives people who have experienced such issues knowledge of the truth and reality of these issues and as a result it gives them a different perspective and understanding of these issues.

What reverse participation is about

As Qultura has been set up to function as a community of people working together to promote human creativity and individuality, our focus is on learning about ourselves and other people through individual creativity and cultural development at the level of the local community. The idea here is not to try and fit in with a community, but to create a better community and environment for not just ourselves but each other and everyone as a whole.

The need for better community support

While cultural development has a lot to do with human creativity and sharing ideas, and such activities as developing art, music, theatre, film making and photography, it also has a lot to do with tackling local community issues and addressing such issues as poverty and inequality. The central issue in community cultural development is the creation of opportunities for people and more than this, development of much better community support systems so that people do not suffer from further deprivation and hardship, that they do not become isolated, or hungry, or left without resources, or suffer the stress of losing their home, or are put in a position where they are isolated and subject to the full force of government or corporate power.

The need for change

Inevitably the question of cultural development in today's society needs to address and find solutions to address the issues of inequality and poverty. Charity does not work, and neither does pushing people into neat societal boxes or forcing them into menial jobs or further servitude to a corporation. These solutions only perpetuate poverty and inequality for the benefit of those people who are not affected by such issues. Nor can we trust politicians to come up with solutions simply because they don't understand enough about the reality of poverty and inequality to begin with. This means that the solutions have to come from those who are affected by these issues supported by other people in the community.

Empowerment of the poor and disaffected

When Qultura was first set up in 2009 this was not the focus of Qultura's work, which was mainly to do with the performing arts, but in subsequent incarnations of Qultura it has become much more of a priority and focus of our work. This is so much so that we have needed to restructure everything and implement a system for empowering those who are affected by either poverty, or inequality or both. The aspects of the system are shown below.

Reversing your participation

Anyone can reverse their participation in the Qultura community on the basis of personal experience of a social issue such as poverty, inequality, or such as homelessness or social exclusion. This doesn't change anything about your ability to participate in the Qultura community other than recognizing the fact that you have direct personal experience of a certain social issue and your knowledge about that issue comes from experience rather than belief. The only restriction, which is due to law, is that you cannot be a Qultura trustee while being a reverse participant.

Reverse your participation

Developing networks

Reverse participation is about using your experience and knowledge not just for the benefit of yourself but also for other people in the community. This doesn't just mean people within the Qultura community but also people outside the community and working together to create better community support networks.

The whole purpose of reverse participation is to 'reverse' the common relationship where people who are affected by poverty and inequality are seen as a problem because of their issues and where your involvement in say an organization is as a service user restricted only to what you are offered. Qultura sees this completely differently, as you have knowledge and experience which is needed in such things as social design and cultural change and therefore you need to be empowered into a situation where you can use your experience and knowledge for the benefit of yourself and others in the community.

Therefore the idea is to create community support networks of people affected by various issues who can work together and based on mutual support and community interaction take effective action to bring about change.

Sharing resources

We have worked to create an effective system of sharing resources and support which is known as 'pledge and support'. Supporting Qultura means supporting the Qultura community and anyone who needs support within that community. This is not about an organization fundraising because it states that it supports certain people, but a system created to ensure that resources go directly and as efficiently as possible to those who need those resources.

Whereas anyone in the Qultura community can start a project and develop it, any project which requires considerable resources is defined as an appeal particularly when it is connected with community support and addressing an issue of poverty, hardship or status loss which comes from inequality and social stigma. As a reverse participant you can create and develop appeals.

Creating appeals

Appeals are created by reverse participants who can create projects to gather resources either for their own benefit or for the benefit of others in their community or who are affected by similar social issues. Through this reverse participants can raise public awareness of various social issues and promote a better understanding in the wider community of those social issues.

To create an appeal you need to have a concrete objective or mission and specify what resources are actually needed. You also need to have a volunteer administrator to work with you to administer the appeal and this is given a unique ID and reference which can then be used to gather resources and get support. Once an appeal has a unique ID or reference it cannot be changed and once all resources have been obtained the appeal is considered spent and can no longer be used.

However if you need further support as a reverse participant you can simply create another appeal. Unlike other support systems there is no limit to the subsequent number of appeals you can create as a reverse participant but you need to be a reverse participant before you can create an appeal.

Create an appeal