Making it Happen
Systemic Change is a wide ranging term that can be applied to many issues (social/ economical/ political, etc.) in our society and the world. In our case our focus is on looking for the root causes of poverty in systems that affect those we serve. We look for root causes of the barriers and then pursue brining about change to remove the barriers. We look for change on three particular levels: the individual we serve, he community we werve, and the institutions that serve us all.
At the individual level we engage those we serve through home visits and dialogue trying to understand the barriers they encounter. We try to understand the root causes of the barriers so that we can work with them to bring about meaningful change. By being aware of their needs and the many resources available in our communities we can introduce them directly to new resources, or ways they can leverage other resources to help thenselves remove the barriers. This work requires us a s Vincentians to become familiar with the many resources and the many other social help groups that are avvailable in our communities. There are a lot of good examples of work in this area being carried out regularly by some of our conferences. We encourage more good work and the sharing of these good news stories with other Vincentians so that we can all learn and grow in capability.
At the community level we address common issues that exist creating barriers for those living in the community. We look for solutions in several ways; by collaborating with other groups such as church groups, community groups, etc. or by coming up with new solutions or projects to make change. Som examples of projects carried out and sponsored by our ONRC systemic Change committee inclde our Ozanam Education Fund, the Vinnie's Wallet project, the RESP (education) project, Leo's Linens project, etc (see the ONRC systemic change pamphlet for more details). Again there are a lot of examples of community based Systemic Change projects (lage and small) happening at our conferences. We encourage you sharing these good news projects with other Vincentians. Of on the other hand you would like to discuss getting help (financial or otherwise) from our Systemic Change committee in starting a new project, please contact us.
A we address the issues that our friends in need are facing and look for ways to remove barriers, we ask ourselves if there are ways that our institutions could change their systems to help remove the barriers. We may be doing things at the individual or community level that brings about change but there may be ways for institutions to make policy changes to their systems that can help in more effective ways to remove the barriers. Bringing about Systemic Change at the institutional level (Government or Government or Governing Institutions) we refer to as Advocacy for change. Our ONRC Advocacy/ Voice of the Poor committee provide a focal point for addressing these issues. We encourage you to direct issues that should be considered for Advocacy to this committee.
The "Social Justice Issues & Systemic Change" has a chart summarizing some of these examples of ways we can help.
Jere Hartnett – Chair systemic Change Committee