The main focus of this report is to understand how positive change can happen from the perspectives of people living in greatest poverty and marginalisation and what can be done to promote this change. It is based on findings from participatory research, conducted by the Participate Participatory Research Group (PRG), that was undertaken by grassroots organisations, activists and citizens in 29 countries across the world. The views, stories, and experiences of the participants were collected and shared through diverse mediums including participatory film-making, digital storytelling, public forums, public theatre and art.
The report highlights how the poorest and most marginalised communities' experience of poverty is multidimensional, often characterised by low incomes, insecure livelihoods, limited or no assets, harsh living environments, violence and environmental degradation. These factors combine with multiple and interconnected inequalities, and close down the opportunities that people have to change their situation themselves. Most of all this research showed the depth of insight and intelligence of people who face extremely difficult circumstances and is a call to pay attention to what this ability offers to those who seek to promote development.
The report's authors argue that development should focus on the very poorest and work with them to make the decisions that matter most in their lives. The research shows that development interventions are targeted at those who are easiest to reach. They are often based on strong assumptions about the experiences of the poorest, rather than a real understanding of how they experience poverty and inequality. The results of this research will contribute ongoing international discussions about a new set of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability targets to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
In 2013, a group of young Karimojong set out to explore land, peace and customary law in Karamoja. This book presents their finding on how decisions are made internally between Karimojong and between Karimojong and government on these subjects.
This research report presents the findings of case study research with youth in six locations in Zimbabwe, carried out within the Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency (PVCA) programme. It shows how young people experience growing up as citizens in a country known for its repressive regime, and highlights the differences for young men and young women.
Young people consider political violence as one of many forms of violence and other challenges they face in life. Election periods bring increased risk, when youth feel targeted. After the turbulence of elections has waned, surveillance by state security agents persists, affecting how young people use the public sphere. Between elections, forms of structural violence pose more challenges to youth than physical, political violence: patronage along party or ethnic lines is a major barrier to finding jobs, and generational differences deny young people a voice. High unemployment levels can result in youth participating in violence orchestrated by political actors.
This research shows also that family and peers have a strong influence on how young people choose to engage in the public sphere and respond to the polarised political environment. Youth empowerment strategies thus need to go beyond economic empowerment. This report argues that a shift in vision is required so that government, aid agencies and civil society recognise the importance of active citizenship among youth and make it a priority area for interventions. Programmes should build the citizen capabilities of young people and improve relations between them, their parents and communities, and public authority.
Turning the Tide: The role of collective action for addressing structural and gender-based violence in South Africa
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.
This report articulates three strategies by which the poorest and most marginalised have attempted to ensure accountability from national and global policymakers to local people. It is a response to demands, articulated through the Participate initiative research conducted from 2012 to 2013 with extremely poor and marginalised groups, for greater participation and accountability in decision-making.
This Reality Check was undertaken by a team of Nepali researchers, and carried out as a contribution to the mixed methods approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning commissioned by DFID Nepal to complement and assist the routine monitoring and evaluation of the Rural Access Programme 3 in Mid and Far West Nepal. It complements a ‘baseline’ RCA that was undertaken for RAP in May 2014.
Translating Complex Realities Through Technologies: lessons about participatory accountability from South Africa
Accountability is a complex issue in South Africa. The country has high levels of inequality, and marginalised groups – as in many countries – struggle to make themselves heard by those in power. Yet the issue is further complicated by an interacting set of factors, including the legacy of apartheid, gender and religious issues, and the lack of access to those in power.
Through a six-year research project, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) used a range of technology-enabled participatory processes to unpack this lack of government accountability. This report focuses on four case studies, which examined the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf: activists against gender-based violence and for community safety; community care workers and health committee members working for public health; informal traders and the informal economy; and traditional medicine, Rastafarian bossie doktors and indigenous rights.
Using a multi-method research process, SLF supported these groups to work together and identify the accountability issues that they felt were important, and then consider how they could raise their voice collectively to those in power and those who shape and implement policy. As well as providing valuable findings, which SLF fed into the policy dialogue, this process also strengthened the capacity of these groups to speak out – not least through the use of different participatory technologies including digital storytelling, filmmaking, PhotoVoice, geospatial mapping and infographics.
This report reflects on the different tools used, considering not just the effectiveness of the outputs generated but also how these tools can empower citizens and bring marginalised groups together. Lastly, the report reflects on SLF’s role as an intermediary organisation, and how this role can influence the path that marginalised groups take in their efforts to make government more responsive to their needs.
This first issue in the Voice for Change series is focused on members of the transgender, sex worker and homosexual communities who are often left out of the development processes because of the stigma attached to their identities. It takes the reader through a series of narratives that are often unheard by those that frame policies and implement programmes. Why do they face discrimination? How do they cope with it? When have they succeeded and when have they failed? It is the result of a series of engagements with these groups and attempts to amplify voices of communities on issues underlying these questions.
This report is based on a participatory research that involved the following stages: community participants facilitated scripting a participatory video and producing a film; collecting and collating case stories of CityMakers facing different problems and their views on the issues; using participatory tools, facilitating discussion with community participants to cull out different arguments that the analysis needs to contain; and presenting a draft report to community participants for their concluding remarks. Also appended to this report is a participatory video, which was created by members of the urban poor community themselves.
This fourth issue of the Voice for Change series is focused on children and their understanding of safe spaces, and their aspirations for each of those spaces such as water, sanitation, housing, open spaces, power and road and transport. It is the result of a series of engagements with these groups and attempts to amplify voices of these communities on issues underlying these questions.
This third issue of Voice for Change is focused on issues that thousands of sewerage workers in India face on a daily basis. They enter sewers to clean them manually with minimal safety equipment. They face instability because of the contractual nature of the work along with poor pay and benefits as well as general apathy from the State. Their voices amplify various issues ranging from discriminations of caste to the undignified manner in which they are treated, from the hazardous nature of their work to indifference to their plight, and culminate in a a series of demands.