Systemic change is a comprehensive, holistic approach that looks at several aspects of an individual’s life and tries to determine a plan with the individual on how to develop and create a self-sustaining existence.
As Vincentians, we are the experts in emergency assistance:
- in providing food to those who are hungry;
- paying electric bills, so that one is not in the dark, or can feel cool in the summer;
- paying gas bills so that one can cook or keep warm in the winter;
- paying water bills so that one can cook and cleanse themselves;
- and paying rent so that one continues to have a roof over ones’ head.
At the Systemic Change meeting in Los Angeles it was pointed out that we are excellent in making the individual feel comfortable, for a day or a month, but, as Vincentians we have to broaden our horizon and take all the above into consideration as a whole.
We have to assist our friends in need by changing the overall structure in which they exist by developing strategies/bridges that will help them emerge from poverty. Within Systemic Change there are interrelationships (mentor/mentee) and interdependencies between the individual and the community (religious groups, social service agencies, schools and training colleges) that one must integrate for a successful process.
Systemic Change teaches one that alleviating hunger is not the solution, but addressing the root cause of why the individual does not have enough to eat. If one addresses the root cause, it results in the system as a whole being modified.
Systemic Change is a designed journey one must embark. This journey involves the Vincentian, our friends in need and the development and implementation of a plan. This “journey”, once embarked on, needs continuous evaluation to improve the process.
In order to create Systemic Change, we as Vincentians are the facilitators who must take ownership for it with a shared vision with our friends in need, be passionate and dedicated to the cause, have buy in from donors, stakeholders, government and the private sector.
Working holistically together, we will create “bridges for a sustainable community”.
From the SVDP Frederic's E-Gazette 9-4-2014: The recent Hope in Action workshops in Philadelphia and Los Angeles added 26 Councils to our base of systemic change.