Challenge 2015

The Participatory Action Research: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind, The Challenge of the Post-2015 Agenda

The research is available as a free PDF here.

ATD Fourth World teams from 15 countries have conducted an 18 month Participatory Action Research project to assess the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The countries involved in the research include: Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Senegal, Central African Republic, Mauritius, the Philippines, Peru, Haiti, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, U.S., Poland, Spain and Belgium

These projects were completed in order to satisfy three aims:

  • To assess the impact of the MDGs on people most affected by extreme poverty;
  • To use research to provide people living in extreme poverty with the means to contribute their experience and knowledge to evaluate the MDGs and their enjoyment of human rights;
  • To deliver proposals on how policies and programs can benefit people living in extreme poverty and bring their experience to the Post-2015 process.

During the research, several major themes emerged, including: eradication of extreme poverty and right to decent work, access to quality and culturally appropriate education, gender equality, maternal and infant health, and sustainable and healthy environment. Other cross-cutting themes that emerged were: effects of discrimination, violence of extreme poverty, and conditions for meaningful participation of people in extreme poverty in programming and policy-making.

“We are human beings and must be treated as such. …Extreme poverty will never end if they don’t look at the extreme poor.” – Raquel, Brazil


How it Works

ATD Fourth World teams facilitate sessions with people living in extreme poverty, the majority of whom are already engaged in the ATD Fourth World Movement. In these sessions, people living in poverty are provided a space to develop their own thinking and knowledge among peers, receive training and support for exchanges to pool their ideas and identify rights which have been unmet by existing or absent policies and programs. As a group, they draw up proposals to address the identified issues. This is a particularly unique process as it enables some of the most marginalized individuals and communities to speak not only about their feelings and experiences of living in poverty but also give concrete solutions to poverty eradication.

In most project locations, monthly forums have been taking place over a one-year period to work on the MDGs-related issues selected by the participants. Following this, academics, policy experts, civil society organizations, and practitioners from different sectors, including UN agencies, are invited to assess the impact of MDGs programming and implementation nationally according to the themes studied (health, work, housing, education, gender equality, discrimination), and enter into dialogue with people living in extreme poverty. This research directly informs all advocacy done at the UN and other national and international institutions.