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Tools and guides

Can our community make changes

An introduction to the concept of 'mobilising', where local groups make change happen

2005 Available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish

Pillars magazines on a desk

From: Pillars guides

Practical, discussion-based learning on community development for small groups

  • Waiting for change to be brought into the community by outsiders may take a very long time indeed. It may also not bring the changes that people long to see. For example, local people may see a health clinic and training for health workers as their priority. However, they may find it hard to say no to an NGO wanting to test a new malaria vaccine in that area and train people to collect information.
  • However, it may be possible for a small committed group within a community to bring about real changes for the better on their own. This is called ‘mobilising’. This may be a church group, a women’s group, a farmers’ cooperative or a youth group. This guide will provide ideas to help you mobilise your community to bring about improvements.


  • How can the members of our group support efforts to mobilise the community?
  • Discuss the statement, ‘Poverty is more an attitude of mind than what is available in the pockets.’
  • In addition to members of our group, are there other people in the local area who are committed to improving things?
  • Have you seen any changes in the community because of action taken by local people? Discuss if this type of change could be increased by involving more people.
Illustration of a small group of men and woman standing speaking together outside a building

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