The community-led worldview of systems change: a framework centering local knowledge and aspirations in pursuit of transformational sustainability and resilience. Part 1
Keywords:community-led development, systems change, resilience, localization, locally-led development, transformation, decolonization of knowledge, social movements, Movement for Community-led Development
Worldwide, international and domestic development efforts are in a time of deep reckoning. The pandemic, climate crisis, growing inequality, and growing critiques of international ‘aid’ presumptions, systems, and actual impacts are fueling global dissatisfaction with the status quo, and calls to co-create new ways forward. The lens of decolonization highlights the need to revisit fundamental questions including: What counts as knowledge? How can diverse people, both individually and collectively, choose to embody voice, agency, and dignity? At the Movement for Community-led Development (MCLD), we suggest that each person, community, and culture must answer these questions for themselves. Throughout human history, countless communities have proven capable of transforming their own complex local systems. Today, we see how some communities are still co-creating ways forward to resiliency and well-being. We also see the power of networking these local systems together to enable whole regions and countries to maximize peer learning, efficiency, and sustainability. In this article, we share a framework, the community-led worldview of systems change, that can guide such efforts, beginning with intangibles that can lead to tangible change. The content of both articles in this series were generated from the input of over 300 movement members, gathered through in-depth interviews, collective and ongoing dialogue and feedback, and an online survey.
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