Change – How it happens, how to understand and promote it

Change – How it happens, how to understand and promote it
Author: Mary Crickmore, CRWRC (2008)

Remember that interventions with low external inputs and high local ownership have a good chance at promoting lasting change.

This article starts with a brief history of change in Africa and Europe, looking at the attitudes to and reasons for change, personal motivation for change and a Christian perspective. It continues by examining the three different levels at which change takes place – worldview/values/morality, informal cultural customs and technical. Change also affects power relationships, so the need to discuss potential changes with all the players and avoid loss of face for each is vital, as well as being aware of people’s motivation, peer pressure and the need to take things slowly.

Different approaches to promoting change are outlined: coercive (forced), economic (bought), social marketing (persuasion using media), education (teaching), consciousness raising (empowering local people) and relationships (discipling). Finally three stages of effective interventions to promote lasting change are suggested that include the need to listen, research, communicate, pilot, learn and adapt, reduce the level of intervention and finally let go. The article also offers some practical application points.

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