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Making a lasting change

Many interrelated factors influence whether families flourish. Reducing the number of people living in poverty is a complex challenge.

We believe systems change is an important approach to reducing poverty in a lasting way.

Given the focus of the Peter McKenzie Project, we are particularly interested in:

  • systems which have an effect on family income – taxes, benefits, the factors that determine wage and salary levels, ability to save, access to decent jobs and to capital; and
  • features of systems which make a poverty-free life harder to achieve for some groups than others.

Ways to change systems include:

Changing the rules:

e.g. building and ‘selling’ a case to create or change policies, laws, rules and practices, at national or local level;

Improving the ability of systems to learn and evolve:

e.g. strengthening links between different sectors and industries (schools, businesses, NGOs, banks etc) so that families in or near poverty benefit.

e.g. developing processes for people running a system to be better informed and guided by those the system exists to serve.


Changing structures, underlying values or goals:

e.g. increasing the priority given by society and its decision-makers to children and young people, and hence their caregivers.

e.g. building a groundswell of public opinion can help create a climate in which systems change is more likely.