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Community-driven systems change

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, and 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 catalyze,  rather than hinder, lasting impact at the community level.

The Firelight Foundation conducted a three-year process (2017-2020) of inquiry, learning, co-creation, and validation with community-based organizations (CBOs) who were current or past grantee-partners of Firelight, to develop a clearer and deeper understanding of how change comes about at the community level, and how funders can more effectively support it. In this report, Firelight 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 the foundation’s practices.

Published: May 2021

Published by: Firelight Foundation

Download: ‘Community-driven systems change‘ or review the report ‘At-a-glance

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