Our Beliefs About Poverty
We strongly believe that without a clear working theory of transformational change, that kind of change will always elude us. While theory necessarily must lead to practice, no theory at all more often than not leads to unreflected activism – like a shotgun approach! The need for a solid theory of the causes of urban poverty, corresponding interventions, and how slums may actually be transformed, is of more than academic relevance, it follows. It is a condition for sustainable transformational change.
In developing our change model we studied tangible, life-changing and transformational interventions in urban poor communities around the globe. We talked to seasoned practitioners from cities as variegated as São Paulo, Chennai, Manila, Tegucigalpa, Addis Ababa and Johannesburg, among others. In the course of this research, we identified features of the most promising initiatives. Our change model is largely an outgrowth of the findings of this work. It is based on five key things we believe about urban poverty. These five core beliefs and corresponding working definitions for urban poverty form the basis of our integrated and yet still evolving understanding of urban poverty.
• Definition 1: Urban Poverty is based in hopelessness and a web of lies that entraps the poor in an ongoing cycle of indignity
• Definition 2: Urban Poverty is multi-dimensional
• Definition 3: Urban Poverty in essence is a breakdown of relationships
• Definition 4: Urban Poverty exists because of unjust systems that don’t work for the poor.
• Definition 5: Urban Poverty persists because successful interventions are often not designed for reproducibility and therefore remain small
For a detailed overview of our core definitions, please download What is Urban Poverty?
Our Change Model
Our goal is to transform urban slums and contribute to the building of cities where people can live purposeful and dignified lives and make God’s Kingdom more visible. Clarity in our definition of urban poverty has helped us formulate how to address this challenge.
We live incarnationally among the urban poor, sharing life, practicing hospitality, building bridges between the poor and non-poor and by developing a change model that strategically addresses five core areas of poverty, which correspond to our five definitions on urban poverty. Our desire is that this change model can be adapted, reproduced and multiplied by other organizations, churches, ministry teams and social actors in Mexico City and beyond so that many more slum dwellers can experience life as God intended it to be.
What we describe below, of course, is still an ongoing work in progress. Some of the areas are more developed than others, and some are yet to be birthed. Some of the interventions are fully led by ConeXión Mosaico staff, while other areas are developed in collaboration with other entities and strategic partners.
The basic structure of our change model, which has five strategic focus areas that correspond to our working definitions about urban poverty, is as follows:
• Focus Area 1: Faith Communities that Transform the City
• Focus Area 2: People-driven Development that Transforms the City
• Focus Area 3: Relationships that Transform the City
• Focus Area 4: Systems that Transform the City
• Focus Area 5: Processes of Reproduction that Transform the City
For a detailed anaylsis of our core definitions, please download Our Change Model