Fostering social change

CSEPP’s approach to fostering social change is rooted in the principles of social ecology. By grounding every project and citizen interaction in the culture of a place, successful projects become more likely as citizens become partners with agencies in planning and delivering services. The following table highlights specific ways CSEPP social ecology based approach differs from traditional approaches to fostering social change

Traditional  Approach Social-Ecology Approach
Reliance on highly structured and formulaic needs assessments CSEPP learns community first and identifies issues through a field-work driven Discovery Process
Over-reliance on public meetings CSEPP first engages citizens informally at natural gathering places. We plan and locate public meetings collaboratively with community residents.
Outside-in approach: Giving to and working for communities CSEPP works shoulder-to-shoulder with community residents to cultivate citizen ownership of projects through the entire project cycle
Organizations tend to work with other organizations and treat them as proxies for community CSEPP directly engages with community members through informal networks and trusted channels of communication
Measures of community well-being are overly quantitative and are seen as imposed from the outside CSEPP makes the informal systems visible and ensures that community well being indicators are culturally-appropriate and relevant.