CULTURE 4 CHANGE
C4C aims to apply culture to make positive change possible.
Listening to the news these days could make any person feel a little hopeless. On top of all the complex issues we have not solved yet – from poverty to pandemics, from abuse to obesity, from migration to #metoo – we are warned for effects of climate change that will touch us all. We know that the pandemic is part of the same change as the water-wars that have already begun. Real danger is coming closer, and action is needed.
But what can we do? In the midst of all this insecurity, more and more of us are looking for help, comfort and advice – also to keep our own fear in check.
We have come an incredible way in terms of prosperity, thanks to clever use of rationality and science. But it seems we have lost other forms of meaning in the process.
Mankind lives by the grace of stories that give meaning to our existence – as individuals and as a community. The sum of all these stories is what we call culture. To face the challenges we see coming, we need good stories, now more than ever. New stories have always been inspired by old stories – and then a little change is added.
“Inspiring life in frozen communities.”
C4C works on a combination of a deep understanding of stories: cultural norms, values and beliefs from different places and different people. We combine this with a shared understanding of the impact of climate, warfare and poverty. Based on these two pillars we try to help bring change – together, we create new stories, big or small.
You will find the articles of association and statutory objectives here on the legal notice page.
Culture is everywhere: some examples.
We work in Guinee to change the view on female genital mutilation; we work in Burundi to help women look after themselves and become more independent, we work in Cambodia to address domestic violence, and in Belgium and Germany to help isolated immigrants re-socialize.
We respect the local beliefs and find inspiration in working out how local customs can help us better understand our western problems.
We support local organisations and have experience in many different countries and cultures. We use anthropological and medical research, but also theatre and social action. The problem is leading; our network provides the necessary expertise.
Annual report 2022
Who are we: A group of people who share experience and knowledge in applying elements of local culture in change processes that improve the lives of poor and excluded people.
What do we do: C4C enables behavioral change to help the most vulnerable people and populations to improve life. C4C works in different ways:
- in the field of “collective trauma”, focusing on the development of culturally acceptable and above all effective interventions in the field of behavioral change, mental health and psychosocial care (continuing with our partners FMG Guinea, C4C Cambodia, GAMS Belgium, Theatre & Reconciliation Brussels, Banteay Srei in Cambodia and Action de la Femme pour le Bien-Etre de la Famille “AFBEP-KIREMESHA” in Burundi;
- by thinking along with change processes initiated by organizations and associations that asked for our support (Theatre & Reconciliation (T&R) Brussels, Migration Council, Utrecht);
- by sharing knowledge (through work at ITG Antwerp, IIHA Fordham NY, and contributions to Simavi NL, Medical Expert Group NL, Consciente Antwerp).
How? C4C is about an approach: applying culture for change. C4C is not necessarily interested in implementing projects on its own but focuses on support and cooperation with partner organizations. We try to give institutional, strategy and content support, based on our strategy for change and our experience in applying ‘culture for change’ inspired action research, thus generating evidence of what works well or not and why. We act as consultants, participate in projects or programs, work as volunteers, join coalitions or work as sub-contractors.
In 2022 activities included
- Financial contribution to the activities of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry (gip-global.org) to maintain Psychological Aid to Ukraine
- Continued collaboration with the Belgium NGO T&R, in terms of preparing projects and board responsabilities;
- Working on GBV prevention and protection in Jordan: GIZ has asked C4C to help implement an EU funded project to strengthen the prevention and protection systems on gender-based violence (GBV) in Jordan. The main beneficiary of this project is the Family Protection and Juvenile Department (FPJD) and the supporting departments within the Public Security Directorate (PSD).
- Preparing modules for training and assisting in writing proposals for the national Cambodian NGO Banteay Srei on Ending Violence against Women;
- Support in setting up ‘Culture 4 Change Cambodia’ – as an independent Cambodian local organization with which we share ideas and enable mutual consultations and consultancies and project involvement – with a focus on elderly care;
- Contributing to the 18th version of the annual MHCE course at Fordham University.The 19th version is foreseen in 2023, and we are talking about a new course “Dignity and Equity in Complex Emergencies”
- A financial contribution to the activities of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry (gip-global.org) to maintain their program of Psychological Aid to Ukraine.
Our plan for the coming year
We have noticed that the knowledge of the core staff of C4C is appreciated. But we also notice that contracts to work on from institutional donors are not granted to C4C – because although we fulfil all the legal requirements, donors miss a ‘track record’ of the organisation C4C. That puts us in a catch-22 position: the more we accept consultancy work on an individual basis, the less we can contribute to the C4C track record. There are also advantages. There is minimal administrative work. There are no complicated rules and reporting issues on top of the work itself.
But it made us rethink our ideas about how to use C4C as a knowledge platform – and not so much a classical NGO that works like a project-based machine. Most of the work is voluntary, and that feels good.
Together with the members of our Advisory Board we are thinking about how to adapt the platform through the collection of stories and ideas about where culture is changing, how cultural can help change, where culture is blocking change etc. These stories can then be converted to initiatives – ranging from a newspaper article or a ‘peer reviewed publication’, to inspiration for a theatre piece, a film, a contribution to a program that addresses social suffering or anything else.
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It’s not just about money…
…altough money makes the world go round, there are other things of value to share. We hope that people like the idea of creating networks or groups, agencies, people to work together. The idea is simple: culture offers many powerful incentives to create positive change. Cultural traditions, the arts, applying music, dance, old myths and stories about modern changes … it is good fun, it works, it is respectful and common understanding.
We need ideas, funds, contacts, information, and criticism. Feel free!
Suggestions and questions are welcome at :