At a workshop in Brussels last week I heard Alan Fowler and friends about what they call civic driven change, change for the benefit of the community that spontaneously emerges from groups of citizens that solve their problems, change that is not driven by governments or donors. A good description can be found in this brief leaflet on civic driven change published by Fowler and Biekart. It is a concept under construction they warned, the thinking evolves as they say.
Somebody at the Brussels meeting noted that the concept of CDC – the way that Fowler and Biekart describe it – has an eighties-ring to it. Could be, but I do not think there is any misplaced nostalgia to it. The concept of civic driven change actually takes the idea of people helping themselves to the next level, as the example of Kwanda showed.
Having exhausted to complete boredom the aid-does-not-work-argument, some people think that politicians in European countries may find in the sheer force of this “un-aided” change a new reason to promote cuts in budgets for international coöperation. No true. Civic driven change should inspire aid, not replace it.
And for some more inspiration, this great video: