BCHC improves the abilities of BC communities to be healthy, thriving and resilient by supporting change-ready community and sector leaders and groups to understand and influence systems change, accelerate learning, and collaborate effectively for greater impact.
We work with those who seek to address the root causes of some of society’s most important and complex challenges by developing capacity in five key areas: multi-sector collaboration, transformational leadership, adaptive learning and action, systems thinking and healthy communities literacy.
BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) is guided by a Theory of Change that defines who we are, our intended outcomes and how we plan on achieving them.
Developed in 2015, our Theory of Change incorporates both BCHC’s original values and principles of the Healthy Communities Approach as well as the fundamental underpinnings of Integral Theory and our Integral Capacity Building Framework.
Working in three key ways (Seed/Grow/Harvest) we focus on building capacity in five key areas outlined below.
Why a Theory of Change?
What needs to be considered and addressed to build healthy communities today seems more and more complex. Communities are grappling with challenges from affordable housing and homelessness, to food security, to poverty, to childhood obesity. These locally experienced challenges are taking place within even bigger contexts, including three primary global challenges of the 21st century — climate change, growing inequality and the increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions.
More and more, people are realizing that traditional, siloed approaches to making progress on tough social and ecological issues are not working. What is needed to address complex community issues is a whole-systems approach and understanding of the world-as-a-living-organism, unpredictable and uncontrollable, full of moving parts whose relationships are messy and always evolving.
Given the systemic and complex nature of so many of today’s problems, siloed responses and linear thinking are often inadequate and result in short-term thinking and solutions that fail to tackle the roots of the problem, often creating unintended consequences that adversely impact other parts of the system.
To build healthy communities and influence change, no one department, organization, or sector will be truly able to address the full complexity of the challenges that we are facing. Collaboration on creating enabling conditions is needed.
We are seeing those that seek to influence change are part of a movement of changemakers. Changemakers think in systems, to develop shared and adaptive forms of leadership, collaborate within and across sectors and have a lifelong practice of learning and development.
Making Progress on Complex Issues
There are many community and sector leaders and groups who are ready for change. They are addressing complex healthy community initiatives, but they need support, and we need more of them.
We are learning that working with complex issues requires different ways of seeing, thinking, and learning, as well as ways of working across sectors and across scales. It requires that we see ourselves as architects of change and possibility.
Change-ready community and sector leaders and groups working in these contexts need a set of capacities to create enabling conditions for culture change, social change, and systems change.
The set of capacities includes:
BCHC has an important role to play in realizing this story of change. For over a decade BCHC has been a part of the worldwide Healthy Communities movement and has developed a strong reputation in building individual and community capacity to address tough social and ecological challenges in BC.
BCHC uses the following strategies to build capacity to influence change:
BCHC will seed the field by providing learning and connecting opportunities that introduce more people to innovative ways of thinking about and working on complex community issues.
Executive Director, Jodi Mucha, reflects on the process that helped BCHC develop an Impact Statement and Theory of Change here.
Contact us to find out how we can help your community make an impact.
Change-makers: A movement of people seeking to influence change by addressing tough social and environmental issues to build healthy, thriving and resilient sectors and communities.
Change-ready: Those groups and individuals who are open and committed to their own learning and development as changemakers.
Groups: Collaborative tables, communities of interest, place based communities, organizations, communities of practice, informal associations, and networks.
Root Causes: The system dynamics or conditions that created a problem in the first place and entrench the problem in society. These root causes are what defy transactional or singular interventions, allowing the problem to perpetuate, be it climate change, homelessness, intergenerational poverty, conflict, or isolation. (Social Innovation Generation (2014). Building Ecosystems for Systems Change. Accessed May 21, 2015)
Resilient: Our ability to respond and adapt to change (to act) in ways that are pro-active, build local capacity, and ensure essential needs are met.
Siloed: Insular, isolated systems, structures, departments, groups, organizations.
Systems Change: A shift in the way that a community, organization or group makes decisions about policies, programs, and the allocation of its resources — and, ultimately, in the way it works with others within the community, organization, group, etc.
Upstream: Thinking and action that creates the conditions and commitments to address problematic situations at their source.