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Hi, I would like some advice/help in developing a program for positive change in Zimbabwe. After nearly 40 years of oppression and corruption, the country is facing yet another crippling economic crisis. I have observed that the general population has given up hope and there is an atmosphere of despair and negativity coupled with the feeling of powerlessness. The people of Zimbabwe need a common vision of hope for the future.

              Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box  with your very big and important question, and please excuse to our delay in getting back to you.   . 
               To develop a program for positive change for an entire country is of course an extremely formidable and challenging task – and certainly especially so for a country like Zimbabwe, which has special challenges of its own.  To create the changes you want will naturally take your own dedicated and sustained efforts over time, as well as those of your colleagues and supporters. We do not want to minimize the difficulties involved, and we suspect you know them very well.
               Given that, what strategy should you adopt?   There are options, one of them certainly being to engage in a long-term political process and work toward getting more political power for you and your supporters and backers.
              But in keeping with our own focus on communities, a different option could be to start at a community level. That is, you could choose to start small, perhaps in one community or even a neighborhood in Zimbabwe. You would focus your efforts in that area, see if you can demonstrate small measurable positive  changes in quality of life for residents there, and use your success as a model for other communities to follow.
              In other words, if you can show real success in one particular place, that much by itself can encourage others.  Success is reinforcing, and with your success you have now created a model that others can follow. In different words, this is applying the principle of social leverage.
              Such a strategy is not guaranteed, of course, and not the only way to accomplish your goals, but we think it’s something to consider.  
           We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you.  Thanks again for writing, and all very best wishes for success in your work.

Question Date: Fri, 01/04/2019