The Participate initiative is providing high quality evidence on the reality of poverty at ground level, bringing the perspectives of the poorest into the post-2015 debate.
Participate aims to:
- Bring perspectives of those in poverty into decision-making processes
- Embed participatory research in global policy-making
- Use research with the poorest as the basis for advocacy with decision-makers
- Ensure that marginalised people have a central role in holding decision-makers to account in the post-2015 process
- Generate knowledge, understanding and relationships for the global public good
Key activities include:
- Reviewing lessons from large-scale consultation processes
- Facilitating a global Participatory Research Group (PRG)
- Analysing and synthesising recent and current participatory studies
- Encouraging policy-makers to spend time living with and hearing from people in the poorest communities
- Creating a Ground Level Panel to mirror the work of the High Level Panel
- Putting cameras in the hands of the poorest to make their own films that tell their own stories
- Building partnerships with NGOs and other agencies doing research in the poorest communities
Participate is co-convened by the Institute of Development Studies and Beyond 2015, but the initiative is only possible because of the energy, expertise and vision of numerous organisations committed to participatory research. Participate is funded by the UK Government. For more information contact [email protected]
The Participate team is providing regular updates through Twitter using these hashtags: #post2015; #beyond2015; #post2015HLP and #worldwewant. Follow the debates live on our Twitter and Facebook profiles: @participate2015, @workwithus2015 and Facebook.com/workwithus2015
For more updates check the Participate blog.
Previous global consultations have been experienced by many as ‘extractive’ – with poor people feeling that their voice has been used for political ends which are not their own. There are considerable lessons to be learned about what to do, and what not to do, if the future of development is to be ‘owned’ by those who are most affected by it.
Current participatory research projects gathering knowledge from the margins on the post-2015 debate are brought together through the PRG. This group has been supported through methodological workshops for reflection and innovation, including participatory visual work and documentation of the processes involved. Read more information on the PRG Members or view a map.
Two analyses have been carried out: the first was of recent participatory studies that pertain to the MDGs; the second was all of all of the current participatory work carried out by the PRG. Both the synthesises were conducted in an iterative way, with findings translated into a series of comprehensive research outputs and key policy messages for decision makers, while retaining their legitimacy with the people who produced them.
Participate worked with four PRG partners in Brazil, India, Egypt and Uganda to organise GLPs to deliberate on the future of development and produce its own recommendations. Among others, the participants included dwellers of city slums, pastoralists who walk with cattle across bush lands in search of water, refugees from war, and small farmers whose crops have failed in response to climate change.
Participatory visual processes can reveal and communicate powerfully about experiences from the margins. Six participatory visual processes were supported and facilitated to provide contextualised examples of the complex and nuanced understanding of the subjective aspects and consequences of development. In parallel, a documentary film, Work with us: Community-driven research inspiring change, has brought together learning on the key themes that surface, and how such processes can re-position ground level perspectives for open dialogue with policy-makers.
With an emphasis on engaging marginal communities directly, this initiative is distinct from efforts to engage civil society organisations in the post-2015 debate. However, this work provides a valuable means of triangulating and verifying evidence from both sources, and we will partnerships with relevant NGO and CSO led advocacy efforts to multiply impact where possible.