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Massey University PhD Scholarship

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Research Topic: ‘We the Village’ – Timebanking as a model for equitable and sustainable postpartum support

A PhD scholarship is available to test a concept in cooperation with Wellington Timebank for reducing the isolation faced by many new parents and promoting positive postpartum mental health. Local exchange trading systems (LETS) are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises holding promise for reducing poverty alongside enhancing social capital. A LETS provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. Timebanking is a type of LETS, which uses time as the currency for exchanging skills and knowledge. Members can exchange any range of skills they have and gain time credits. ‘We the Village’ will be a platform through which family help can be offered and requested using a time bank model with no monetary component.

‘We the Village’ will work with pregnant couples to gain Timebank credits throughout their pregnancy. Some Timebank credits will be gained through helping other families in the postpartum period, and in turn, they will then be able to receive help in the early days with their newborn. These parents will be part of an ongoing support network of parents and other community members, such as older people. Broader aims of this project include:

  • Enabling pregnant couples to gain some experience in newborn care before their baby is born through helping other families;
  • Enhance infant feeding support, elevate the well-being of older people who have time and skills to share and would like to contribute in this way to their community;
  • And foster ongoing community connections.

The recruited student will work with a project manager on implementing and evaluating this project. The concept will be promoted through Wellington Timebank for other individuals, such as the elderly or other parent members, to support families with babies. Ideally, the student will have some experience in practice and possess good interpersonal skills.

Financial support

The scholarship includes a stipend of $25,000 per annum for a maximum period of three years (fees not included).


Students must be prepared to be enrolled at Massey University by 01 August 2018. Students will have a bachelor’s degree with appropriate honours or master’s degree in a relevant field, such as public health, psychology, or health promotion. A minimum GPA of 7.5 (above an average of A-) is required. The candidate will also be required to reside in Wellington for the duration of the project.

Selection criteria

Academic record; interest and enthusiasm for topic; good written and oral communications skills; experience in running participatory and collaborative projects desirable, but not essential.


Primary supervisor: Dr Mat Walton, School of Health Sciences

Secondary supervisor: Dr Eva Neely, School of Health Sciences

Applicants should send a copy of their CV, a statement of interest and the names and contact details of referees to: Eva Neely; phone 04-801 5799 ext 63371; Email e.m.neely@massey.ac.nz

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