lfrmsShifting the Power

Community-driven change: The power of grassroots-led change for long-term impact


Full title: Community-driven systems change: The power of grassroots-led change for long-term impact and how funders can nurture it

Community-driven systems change is an approach to development and social transformation that emphasizes the insight, leadership, and ownership of the people who are living and experiencing issues at the community level. It also emphasizes their work to create lasting change in the systems and root causes that underlie the critical issues they seek to address.
In this era of philanthropy, greater investment is being made in grassroots efforts to effect long-term change, especially when it comes to some of our world’s greatest social challenges. However, we have a long way to go in understanding how to effectively support and catalyse, rather than hinder, lasting impact at the community level.

At Firelight, a three-year process (2017-2020) was conducted of inquiry, learning, co-creation, and validation with community-based organizations (CBOs) who are current or past grantee-partners of
Firelight. This was done to develop a clearer and deeper understanding of how change comes about at the community level, and how funders can more effectively support it. This report shares the findings and recommendations around community-driven systems change that emerged from this learning and reflection process. These learnings have also informed a substantial re-formulation of Firelight’s own practices.

Review by Wilde Ganzen

Firelight is an American multi-donor public charity fund that raises money from foundations, individuals, and institutions to support community driven systems change for children and youth in eastern and southern Africa.
This useful report summarizes Firelight’s experiences in the field of community driven systems change, in a very accessible way.
In addition to the report, at http://firelightfoundation.org/cdsc several ‘tools’ can be downloaded, with guidelines on how to create good conditions for supporting community-driven systems change.


Community-led development

Author: Firelight Foundation

Publisher/source/organization: Firelight Foundation

Place and year of issue: Scotts Valley, CA 95066, USA 2021

Type: Evaluation report

Country/region: Africa

More information

The evaluation report >>

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