Knowledge from Experience

Knowledge from Experience: Building the Post-2015 Agenda with People Living in Extreme Poverty

In July 2013, ATD Fourth World hosted a three-day seminar at the United Nations (UN) titled: “Knowledge from Experience: Building the Post-2015 Agenda with People Living in Extreme Poverty.” This seminar was the conclusion of ATD Fourth World’s 18-month Participatory Action Research to evaluate the Millennium Development Goals and to deliver proposals concerning how policies and programs can benefit people living in extreme poverty by bringing their experience to post-2015 processes. It embodied the participatory method, merging of knowledge, while simultaneously releasing the project findings. The main purpose of the seminar was to provide a space for an exchange between individuals with a direct experience in poverty and UN stakeholders as well as other individuals with professional experience in international development.

seminarThere were three phases included in the seminar. First, participants with a background of poverty met for one day to share national and regional perspectives and experiences. Next, a one-day discussion workshop involved Member States, UN agencies, and civil society organizations working in Post-2015 Agenda to dialogue with project participants. Finally there was a panel discussion at UN headquarters to present project findings and discuss the relevance of the findings to a broader audience of the UN system, particularly Member States involved in the Post-2015 Agenda.

In the panel discussion, five recommendations – derived directly from the Participatory Action Research – were presented by participants:

Seminar participant speaks at the UN.

  1. Leave no one behind: Eliminate stigmatization and discrimination based on gender, social origin or poverty; reach out to the most impoverished population groups; foster participatory development and service provision.
  2. Introduce people living in poverty as a new partner in building knowledge on development: Create cooperation and new forms of shared knowledge between people living in poverty and mainstream society – academics, professionals and policy-makers – to increase their involvement.
  3. Promote decent jobs, social protection and meeting the essential needs of all: Invest private and public funding to create decent jobs by meeting essential needs.
  4. Achieve education and training for all based on cooperation between all stakeholders: Remove hidden barriers on equity in education, build cooperative forms of education in partnership with communities, and ensure high quality education with improved results for people in poverty.
  5. Promote participatory good governance: Ensure that participation in governance is more than a consultation exercise and that the conditions are created so that communities can take part willingly.

Seminar participants outside the UN