Theories of Change(ToC) is a very important concept as it “helps us to monitor consciously and critically our individual and also collective way of thinking and acting”.Also it is “a concsious and creative visualization exercise that enables to focus our energy on specific future realities which are not only desirable,but also possible and probable”. (Theory of Change,Inigo Retolaza Eguren,p.4).
Nevertheless, it is quite difficult to specify and define exactly how social change happens. According to Ronan Krznaric ““There are no generally applicable models of how socialchange happens. Every context has its own history and its own peculiarities… Explanations given for how changehappens are also strongly shaped by the disciplinary perspective that is taken [political, sociological, psychological,economic, historical etc].Each discipline contains different assumptions about human motivation and behaviour, and the role of institutions and worldviews.”(How Change Happens,2007, OxfamGB, page 30).
The ways with whom social change can occur are:
a)Individual behaviour change (Campaigners try to understand what makes people take action in order to bring social change)and/or
b)Structural or institutional change (Campaigners focus on where power lies and how can be used in order to make governments,institutions, corporations etc enforce social change)
When it comes to the implementation of ToC I decided to write about the campaign of the UK charity “Rethink of Mental Illness” and they way that it achieved social change.This charity campaigns for the support of people who suffer from mental illness and fights for an equal place in society for them as well as for a better future.Their basic slogan is “People with mental health problems should have the same rights and services as everyone else. ”
This charity supports every year almost 60,000 people across UK in terms of advice and information,mental health services and support groups. and of course campaigning. The work of this charity is supervised by the Board of Trustees.
After visiting the charity’s web site I tried to understand the model that the campaigners used in order to bring change.First of all I visited the page where there is information about funding.When it comes to fundind, the money of the charity come from donations, health and local authorities.Thus as we can see this charity is open to cooperation not only with other organisations and individuals but also with the national authorities.
Also, I found information about the achievements from the campaigning of Rethink Mental Illness Campaigning.Here are some exaples of their success:
- 143 campaigners worked together all over the country achieved 4,148 meaningful conversations.
- 78% said that, following a meaningful conversation they had with a campaigner, they would feel more confident speaking about their own mental health.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICIANS-SHADOW HEALTH
- 10,000 campaigners joined the charity in order to in demand that Jeremy Hunt start listening to mental health patients.The result is that a plan for inspecting mental health services has been announced.
- 4 MPs shared their mental health experiences during a Mental Health debate in Parliament supported by Rethink Mental Illness.
- The campaigners of the charity got invited to attend an event at the Royal College of Psychiatrists
- The charity led a coalition of health charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and Age UK, to push for greater patient and public involvement in the new NHS.
For more information click here.
From the above results we can see that the charity used theories which are based both on the Individual behavior change and on the Structural or Institutional change.Campaigners focused both on individuals in terms of mobilisation and information and also on efforts in order to bring change through the government,MPs, as well as the coalition with other organisations and charities.The reasons why the campaigners focused on both approaches might be that mental illnesses is a critical issue.Many patients feel ashamed as they face racism and isolation from the society.Thus , if change is need to be brought,there should be a focus both on the state by itself and the support that provides to these patients and to individuals who need to send down any prejudice they might have.
- Theory of Change (A thinking and action approach to navigate in the complexity of social change processes)-Inigo Retolaza Eguren
- How Change Happens(Roman Krznaric