At an individual level, participants in the program:

  1. Became kinder with themselves
  2. Rejected the hero model at work
  3. Redefined what success means
  4. Became open to the ideas of other people
  5. Increased their emotional resilience
  6. Recognized the need to take care of themselves
    before taking care of others

Those working in social change are tackling the world’s most urgent issues like climate change and inequality. But increasingly, these changemakers are facing chronic stress, depression and burnout.

Studies have shown that burnout and depression in the social sector is on the rise. In our work, we found that while 75% of respondents felt that looking after their wellbeing was ‘very important,’ merely 25% reported that they looked after their wellbeing ‘to a great extent’.

To understand the shifts that emerge as changemakers are supported with their inner wellbeing, the Project undertook a model 18-month Inner Development Program (IDP) for three cohorts of 20 changemakers from 45 different countries. A seven person research team followed this group over several years documenting their inner wellbeing journey and how that shifted the work of social change.

The result? After focusing on wellbeing, changes happened within individuals, their organizations and even across the sector. We found that wellbeing inspires welldoing.


  • – Became kinder with themselves
  • – Rejected the hero model at work
  • – Redefined what success means to them
  • – Became open to the ideas of other people
  • – Became more emotionally resilient
  • – Recognized the need to take care of themselves
    before taking care of others
  • – The changes observed by participants at an individual
    level also led to ripple effects at an organizational level,
    and even at a sectoral level.


  • – Connected with others not just as professionals but as human beings
  • – Adopted a leadership style in which they were willing to be led by others, trusting in the capabilities of others
  • – At a sectoral level, and this is where the connection with systems change emerged, the changemakers developed collaboration as a principle of working and began welcoming diverse perspectives to problem solve. This, in turn, led to deeper work in communities and with community members, working more collaboratively across silos, and restoring or building bridges that lead to more effective, holistic outcomes.