Poverty affects all aspects of life: it is not only about economic or material needs but also social, environmental and spiritual needs. Tearfund sees broken relationships as the fundamental cause of poverty, and these broken relationships are in turn the result of man's rebellion against God.
Humanity went from a life in wholeness to life in brokenness: a broken relationship with God, a damaged self-image, unjust relationships between people and exploitation of our environment.These broken relationships can also lead to broken systems, causing structural problems such as unequal power relations, corruption and exclusion.
Broken relationships with ourselves, God, others and the environment lead to selfishness, greed, powerlessness, injustice, inequality, conflict and disaster. This creates various forms of poverty and is visible in people who do not have enough income, suffer from violence or abuse, and do not have access to good education and medical care or political representation. It also manifests itself in people who are indifferent, who feel unable to take action and bring about change, or who are unaware of the effects of their own choices on other people and their environment.
The change we want to see is for individuals and communities to thrive in all aspects of their lives: a holistic transformation. This makes them resilient and enables them to devise and apply solutions to meet their own needs and the needs of those around them. Achieving this transformation goes beyond meeting basic needs. It enables people to fully live up to their God-given potential. To create holistic transformation in all areas of life and allow people to truly flourish, we believe that four types of relationships need restoration.
Tearfund has established the vision of holistic transformation as Theory of Change. This theory guides the strategy and planning of our work, measuring, understanding and proving the impact of our work and the communication about our work.
Our Theory of Change is partly based on the various program strategies and identity documents of recent years. Parts of policy documents and research reports from sister organisations within the Tearfund Family are also included because their mission, vision and approach are closely linked to ours and we are working increasingly closely together.