“Action” is the keyword to GAPI’s common approach. We see action as practice, as a way of transforming behaviour, social arrangements, rules and policies in response to the manifold global and local crises with which people are confronted. Action is not a one-off exercise. It allows for practising and experiencing actual changes. Through action, people are becoming empowered, individually and collectively.
GAP International’s approach to behaviour change is cyclical – we believe that engaging a person’s emotions, desires, beliefs and social relationships is the best way to create true care for the causes we work on, and long-lasting, continuous action. This won’t happen over night. It is a process of ‘success’ and ‘relapse’ and a process of enthusiasm and frustration that is gradual and requires long-term attention and care. To the extent that a group or community embraces the change process, believes in it and takes care of it, the changes will become more embedded in the daily life of the group, they will go deeper and wider, and they will last longer.
GAP-I members support the people they work with – young or adult – to lead lives, choose education and career pathways and make daily choices and decisions that are in closer alignment with our natural compassionate values. We support them in building resilience against and crowding out the all-pervading self-interest values continuously flooding our society and communities. We are helping people to develop the curiosity, confidence, capability, and compassion to question and challenge the status quo and become changemakers for life, no matter what the setting, the issue or their age and stage.
We are convinced that the sources of change and transformation lie in the development of actions and practices themselves. For example, we know that individuals are much more inclined to reduce the environmental impact of their consumption, if they are invited or supported to experiment with behaviour and actions that actually reduce environmental impact. In contrast, simply persuading people to make different (pro-environmental) decisions is much less effective. It is in the practice itself that people experience being in charge of their own behaviour change while acquiring the necessary information and knowledge, rather than being simply recipients of such information. It is in the practice of actually changing behaviour that people actively learn new skills and new attitudes and develop new norms governing their relationships with others.