Theory of Change

Global Diversity Foundation believes that times of immense crisis carry the seeds of positive transformation. This positive impetus interacts with the great diversity that thrives on our planet, a source of vast wisdom both ancient and new, creating the conditions needed to address the multiple, interwoven challenges of our time. The transformations needed to achieve justice, dignity and respect for all beings are complex and non-linear. Our theory of change takes the shape of an ecosystem – specifically, a meadow, the resilient matrix in our High Atlas Cultural Landscapes Programme.

Download the full Theory of Change here.

 

Vision and values

Our vision guides all of our operations. GDF believes that the future depends on our respectful engagement with the vast biological and cultural diversity of Earth. To protect this diversity and enhance socioecological wellbeing, we establish collaborative programmes at different scales. These programmes build resilience, foster innovation and promote learning.

Our values emerge from this vision to form the core of how we operate as a team. They underpin all of our programmes:

  • Integrity: we hold ourselves accountable for our decisions and actions, which are rooted in our values.
  • Collaboration: we believe in the power of alliances and mutual learning to inspire long-term transformation.
  • Interdependence: we are aware of the equal value of all beings and of the intrinsic, life-sustaining connections between us all.
  • Adaptation: we continuously take stock of our learning to enhance our approach, methods and impact.
  • Responsiveness: we are flexible and capable of responding to emerging needs and priorities.
  • Trust: we believe that no matter the shape our future takes, our actions contribute to positive transformation and wellbeing.

Programmes

Our core programmes achieve our goals and outcomes. Though operationally distinct, each influences and feeds the others. Environmental issues are never solely technical: they require cultural and political engagement. To address them, we convene interdisciplinary, skilled groups who have strong, positive relationships, and complement one another’s knowledge. All of our programmes are based on the needs of the communities we serve, as identified by the communities themselves, and grounded in a view of conservation that sees human and ecological wellbeing as inseparable. In all our work, we actively uphold processes of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

Our work with communities in the Mediterranean and North America directly impacts populations at the forefront of environmental and social injustices and helps develop their capacity to build better futures. We support these communities as they improve their livelihoods and wellbeing while maintaining their cultural landscapes and conserving their biocultural diversity. We also work in mentoring partnerships with emerging environmental and Indigenous organisations as they strengthen their institutional systems and funding base.

The Global Environments Network (GEN) brings together changemakers from diverse communities and backgrounds around the world through our global and regional academies and exchanges, and our dedicated online platform. GEN members learn and work together, overcoming isolation and gaining essential skills to increase their transformative potential. We provide funding and institutional support to GEN members to implement cross-cohort, multiscalar collaborative projects. Many GEN members also become involved in our core North American and Mediterranean programmes.

The Global Migrants Project focuses on the immediate humanitarian needs of migrants, particularly in North Africa, while also seeking an integrated vision of migrants and their reasons for leaving countries of origin, whether economic, environmental or political. We consider the ways in which diversity, both cultural and ecological, can be maintained within changing landscapes and populations in movement. We work throughout the migratory cycle – departure, journey and arrival – to ensure people migrate out of choice rather than necessity, travel in humane conditions, and successfully integrate in host societies.

Outcomes

Our key outcomes, represented by the leaves, form the necessary preconditions for achieving our more specific impact goals, which we set at 5-year intervals. Our 2022 Impact Goals are listed in the box below. These five areas – conserving diversity, promoting innovation, forging connections, increasing resilience, and enhancing wellbeing – are the core changes that our programmes catalyse in the communities with which we work, moving us towards our vision. We continuously monitor how we are meeting these outcomes, and review our actions to ensure that we stay our path and respect our values.

2022 Impact Goals

By 2022, we expect these programmes and outcomes to achieve the following impacts:

  • At least 15,000 members of selected Indigenous and local communities in the Mediterranean and North America are revitalizing their biological and cultural diversity, while improving their livelihoods and resilience to global changes.
  • Over 500 emerging leaders from some 100 countries and Indigenous nations create a viable and vibrant network to seek collaborative solutions to contemporary environmental and social challenges, rooted in peer-to-peer learning.
  • Over 300 Central and West African migrants in Morocco have increased access to basic necessities and urgent relief services, while engaging in intercultural dialogue that assists their social integration.

 

Problems

At ground level our programmes seek to address and respond to the problems we see. We are witnessing rampant, unparalleled economic, environmental and social injustices. These erode biocultural diversity and associated social and ecological systems at an alarming and accelerating pace. Migration and other impacts of global change increasingly affect the stewards of global environments and community wellbeing. Emerging environmental and social changemakers – those capable of leading the urgent transformations of social systems, institutions and human behaviour – often lack support and operate in relative isolation, limiting their potential impact. Our programmes focus on these changemakers, working with them in their communities and convening them through our Global Environments Network to help them develop the skills and connections necessary to create a better world.