We are working together to put marginalized communities in charge of their own development.
(Field Hearings in Northeastern China)
“They do not feel they have chance to influence the decision-making” (partner in China).
Our Field Hearings are not research. We take input on local problems, solutions and priorities from the perspective of community members, then organize to develop solutions and take action:
* We compile the analysis and priorities of these community members, and present them in various national and international decision-making processes. The Field Hearings have had a major impact already, resulting in the inclusion of Goal 10 – reduce inequalities within and among nations – in the new global Sustainable Development Goals.
* We work with local communities to hold governments and agencies accountable for meeting their responsibilities and promises.
* We organize opportunities for follow-up with interested communities, facilitating their development of plans for achieving more equitable and sustainable development, initiated within their own communities.
When we conduct Field Hearings in poor and marginalized communities around the world, here is what people tell us about how inequality works:
(Field Hearings in Uganda)
“They attribute [their poverty] to the ability of rich to access better services such as health and education; engagement of the rich in activities that make worse the conditions of the poor, such as land grabbing…; public opinion by the poor often being ignored in planning and decision-making; and unfair competition” (Field Hearing partner in Uganda).
(Field Hearings in Kyrgyzstan)
“Deprived groups are left in a helpless situation and cannot escape it without monetary help, which is only accessible from wealthy people. Unfortunately, privileged and rich people are only concerned about their own situation” (community member in Kyrgyzstan).
(Field Hearings in Malawi)
“They complained that the rich are not creating a favorable environment for the poor to graduate from one level to another economically… most of the time the policies are made without consulting the local communities who are affected much by these policies” (partner in Malawi).
Inequalities in social status and economic well-being are locked into place by disempowerment. Our goal is to help put marginalized communities in charge of their own development agenda and lives. We support the empowerment of people in poor, socially excluded, and marginalized communities to set their own priorities and exercise their right to hold authorities accountable. We work towards effective political empowerment through:
- facilitating problem-solving discussions within these communities to identify people’s top-priority issues for action
- developing grassroots citizen monitoring approaches to enable effective feedback, helping communities to hold governments and institutions accountable
- presentation of monitoring results to support impact at all scales including international decision-making on development
- capacity-building for civil society organizations working in these communities, and global networking between local groups so they can share approaches, findings, and advocacy strategies with one another
Join us! If you are interested in working on these approaches within your local community, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.