BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Agents of Social Change



Broadly speaking, Social change is defined as any change in social relations and interactions that transforms societal structures and institutions. Social change is constantly occurring in the society because change itself is constant and inevitable. It is important to note that no society ever remains the same. As times change, societies undergo either enforced, or gradual but significant alterations and transformations in social order and mechanisms. These transformations usually have profound long-term consequences for individuals and the society at large. As a social determinant of health, social change affects health, and consequently, the quality of life; hence, positive changes improve health while negative changes depreciate health.

Social change mostly results in increased awareness and understanding  because it allows for the circulation of  information, which enables people and communities to make informed decisions. It also results in improved civic participation  which can be attributed to behaviour change and motivation to challenge instances of injustice.

Some changes in the society are neither gradual nor natural, but are fought for and enforced to transform the community. Revolutionary social change almost  always begins  with individuals- it starts with personal changes which then develop into passionate commitment  needed to undertake group and community change in general. Individual interactions and relationships facilitate social change- understanding and respecting the differences in opinions and life experiences as well as accepting that there are limitless perspectives and points of view in the world.

 An important aspect of social change is the direction of the change. Creating the changes we want require conscious commitment to shaping the direction of social change. Popular examples of social change include social movements in civil rights, women’s rights, and LBGTQ rights. These changes resulted in relationship, institutional, cultural, transformative and organizational changes.

Agents and drivers of social change include various pivotal factors and situations that arise or need to be fulfilled to produce the required change. These types of change involve addressing urgent sustainability issues and challenges such as loss of biodiversity  and climate changes. These changes are guided and facilitated by the application of practical knowledge, education, scientific and social research,  and experience. For change to be successful, the community must be fully involved both in the development and implementation processes of social change policies. Engaging grassroots inspires participation and cooperation, especially when the change requires behaviour modification and compliance. 

Major agents and sources of social change  include;

  • Diffusion and Population change
  • Technological  Advancement
  • Industrialization and Revolution
  • Change in Ideology and Culture
  • Economic fluctuations and Political movements
  • Environmental impact and Evolution
  • Social conflict and Competition
  • Modernization and Urbanization
  • Bureaucratization and Acculturation
  • Mass dissatisfaction
  • Disease outbreak, as in the case of COVID-19

COVID-19 represents an example of urgent, grassroots and  transformative source of social change, resulting in a complete change social behaviour- social distancing, wearing of masks, frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers. The pandemic enforced change in social and health behaviours across the world in order to prevent and control its spread. Organizations such as BlessWorld Foundation continues to support this social change by providing palliatives in form of cash prizes to youths in different communities.

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