Types of Social Change

Video for Change initiatives contribute to a number of different types of social change.

Building Capacities

  • Capacity Change — increases people’s knowledge, skills and access to information
  • Access Change — centres people’s voice and contribution, and creates paths for communities to make or participate in their own change
  • Institutional Change — develops institutions to support and sustain movements, reforms, policy change, behaviour change and communities

Influencing Individuals and Communities

  • Perception Change — supports shifts in individual or collective attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, or the way certain groups or issues are represented in the public sphere
  • Behaviour Change — supports shifts in individual or collective behaviours
  • Cultural Change — shifts social practices, values, accepted negative terminologies, and modes of expression that predominate within society

Building Movements

  • Relational Change — creates or changes relationships by building or sustaining networks or communities
  • Positional Change — shifts power to contribute and make decisions, and opens up access to discourse and resources to lesser heard and disadvantaged communities
  • Discourse Change — supports new interaction and dialogue by creating spaces for communication, fostering new and unheard voices, and considering minority views and perspectives

Changing Structures

  • Policy Change — abolishes or alters existing government, institutional, or corporate policies or the creation of new ones
  • Legal Change — abolishes or alters existing laws or the creation of new ones
  • Norm Change — alters the practices of governments, companies or institutions
  • Economic Change — shifts the ways a market or economy (local or wider) functions

The above framework is adapted from Doc Society’s Impact Dynamics, Tanya NotleyLina Srivastava and the Video for Change Toolkit team.

This impact story from a Video for Change initiative in Papua, Indonesia, offers real examples of the types of social change a video can contribute to.

Impact Story: Love Letter to a Soldier

Title: Love Letter to a Soldier

Location: Indonesia

Issue: Personal effects of national military presence in a conflict region.

Aim/purpose of the video: A visual cry for help from a Papuan woman to an Indonesian soldier

Organisation: Papuan Voices, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and EngageMedia

Featured methodologies: Video for Advocacy

Video length: 7 mins.

Year: 2011

Love Letter to the Soldier tells the story of Maria ‘Eti’ Goreti. She was a school student in 2008 when she was courted by Samsul Bacharudin, an Indonesian soldier from Java who was stationed at her village in Bupul, near the border of West Papua and Papua New Guinea.

Samsul left Bupul when Eti was five months pregnant and promised to return, but Eti never heard from him again, even after the birth of their daughter, Yani. The community also rejected Eti for having a relationship with an Indonesian soldier, who are often perceived as occupiers or colonisers.


The film’s director, Wenda Tokomonowir, collaborated with Eti to tell her story. Through this approach, the film was able to achieve the following impacts:

  • Influence Individuals and Communities  Eti reported that working collaboratively to tell her story through the video helped her to be better understood in her local community. This enabled some community understanding and empathy.
  • Build Capacities
    • The film won best documentary at the South to South Film Festival, and Eti was given half the prize money to support her family.
    • Eti used the prize money to contribute to a business cooperative of which she is a member.
    • The filmmaker learnt new skills, travelled to screenings and film festivals, and won the above mentioned award. These successes supported an increase in confidence and her profile as an activist and filmmaker, and secured further employment.
  • Building Movements  The video has been screened more than 50 times both nationally and internationally. Schools, universities and advocacy organisations have used it as a tool for discussion, education and mobilisation.
  • Change Structures
    • Women’s organisations have used the video to talk about issues relating to women’s rights in Indonesia and West Papua. Papuan human rights organisations used the video to discuss human rights issues and violations in West Papua. In one case it was presented to a UN Universal Periodic Review committee to assess the human rights situation in West Papua.
    • The cooperative that received Eti’s prize money used this money to help them start a small indigenous medicine business.

For further information regarding this video and its impacts read this blogpost.

Values and Methods