SHAPE-SEA’s theory of change is to be able to actualise one of the most effective and sustainable ways to move towards human rights and peace, which is through the promotion and strengthening of education and research. This is much elaborated in the graphic below:
SHAPE-SEA’s main role (and niche, particular contribution to change) is to serve as incubator and hub for the development of individual researchers and academics and their community, leading towards the building of a critical mass of academic-scholar advocates. This critical mass of academic-scholar advocates will be SHAPE-SEA’s main contribution to the improvement of human rights and peace situation in Southeast Asia, as they serve as the fulcrum for generating/effecting other changes and influencing arenas and other potential change agents like governments and corporations. SHAPE-SEA endeavors to develop academic-scholar advocates as individuals (as local agents of change in their countries and individual higher education institutions) as well as a community (developing collaborative advantage to leverage greater change).
The academic-scholar advocates are expected to be the main channels or avenues for replication and diffusion of cutting-edge research, thinking and practice of human rights and peace. They are also expected to be champions to create enabling environments for human rights and peace research and teaching in their respective higher education institutions (i.e., as local activists).
SHAPE-SEA’s expectation is that effective work on the development of individual researchers and academics and their community will translate into positive developments in (a) creation of collaboration networks of advocates beyond the academic circles, and (b) influencing human rights and peace language and public discourse, mediated especially by mainstream and alternative media. This also opens opportunities for academics and researchers to influence/inspire decisions on and implementation of public policy. It is then expected (or assumed) that other actors (frontline activists, social movements, and civil society organisations) will take learning from their collaborative work with academics into their own particular work of campaigning, advocacy, social movement building and activism vis-à-vis governments and corporate private sector entities in Southeast Asia to influence the latter’s policies, practices and behavioural changes.
Finally, the ultimate result that SHAPE-SEA expects to happen is durable and sustainable changes in the lives of at-risk population groups in the region.