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Drivers for Change – Lived Experience

Lived/living experience refers to personal knowledge gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events of life. Individuals with lived/living experience bring first-hand knowledge since they have lived or are still living certain experiences. People with lived/living experience can have a deeper understanding of systemic barriers, problems faced, and what needs to be done to address them. This makes their involvement in decision-making processes necessary for systemic change.

Working alongside communities with lived experience can help:

Adapted from:

Sandhu, B. (2017). The Value of Lived Experience in Social Change: The Need for Leadership and Organisational Development in the Social Sector. Retrieved from:

Soh, B. L. (n.d.). Six ideas on designing advisory councils for the participation of experts with lived/living experience. Retrieved from:

Further Reading / Additional resources

Sample Tools

Lived Experience Advisory Council. (2016). Nothing about us without us: Seven principles for leadership and inclusion of people with lived experience of homelessness. Toronto: The Homeless Hub Press.

The website is an open access platform to share learning, ideas and pioneering work happening across the social change space. It contains a report detailing the need for lived experience among leadership working towards social change.

Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity.