Chapter 1

The wider context

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Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are long histories and structures in society that shape what change is possible, and how change happens. 

If we are to become change-makers in our society, we have to understand our history. Not only does this help motivate us to create a better world, it can inspire us as we reflect on past successes and learn from the triumphs (and failures) of those revolutionary movements that came before. 

Often it can feel like everything is just the way it is and that it has always been like that. But when we look beneath the surface, we can see just how much has changed and how quickly. That change has been made possible by people just like us coming together to make a difference.  

Understanding our history, theories of change and the structures at work in society can give you an understanding of how change happens and has happened before – so we can keep transforming our society for a better tomorrow. 

Some questions for reflection and research on how the wider context impacts on the issue you care most about:
  • What do you know about the history of your country / your region / your village or town or city in relation to your issue? 
  • What do you think has shaped that history? How did the society you live in come to be that way? 
  • What changes have happened there over time regarding your issue? 
  • How were those changes made? 
  • Who made them?
  • Where do you see the possibility for change on your issue now?
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