The Research and Training Institute

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The Research and Training Institute, first known as the Social Research Bureau, was created in 1960 by Alwine de Vos van Steenwijk, at the request of Joseph Wresinski, founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.

Its mission is two-fold:

  • To assist the International Movement ATD Fourth World in the formulation and development of its strategy, its message and analyses through continual interaction with the latest trends in research.
  • To support the building of knowledge, research and training in all areas affecting the lives of the poorest, taking into account their personal knowledge and experiences as well as the contributions made by practitioners and academics.

Current Projects

■ Preparation of the proceedings of the international conference "Exclusion, a Challenge to Democracy: How relevant is Joseph Wresinski’s Thinking?" For more information:

■ Project on Innovation and the Combat against Poverty in partnership with EUROCEF (European Committee for Home-based Priority Action for the Child and the Family), the ATD Fourth World movement in Germany and Poland and the Research and Training Institute. This programme seeks out innovating practices in the struggle against exclusion in France, Germany and Poland. Within the context of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010, students, young volunteer workers and young professionals continuing their studies in the fields of education sciences or social work have been invited to conduct research into the theme of innovation in socio-educational initiatives over the years 2009-2010. Three European meetings have been held in conjunction with this project:

  • Warsaw (November 2009): “Endangered children, endangered families. Innovative perspectives of socio-educational initiatives in France, Germany, Poland and Belgium”
  • Paris (March 2010): “Socio-educational innovations, parental support and the fight against exclusion”
  • Schwedt near Berlin (October 2010): “Conclusion of the innovation project 2010” - c.f.

Recently Completed Projects

■ “The Urban Challenge in Madagascar: When Extreme Poverty Drives Out Poverty”: a study for the World Bank by ATD Fourth World in Madagascar and the Research and Training Institute. Using a participative approach, the study aims to illustrate the living conditions and aspirations of the most vulnerable groups in two poor neighbourhoods of Antananarivo, and to draw lessons from this experience on the best ways to support populations in their efforts to resist extreme poverty. (May 2010)

 ■ “Review and Evaluation. Cross-Community Meetings programme”: a study by the ATD Fourth World movement in Ireland and the Research and Training Institute to evaluate the monthly meetings of families from different poor communities over a period of four years. December 2009, 143 pp.


Campus Annual Seminar: Becoming Agents of Knowledge Together 23-27 August 2010: a dialogue between researchers and members of the ATD Fourth World movement on projects relating to the struggle against social exclusion based on four main themes:

  • Becoming agents of knowledge together: research, a creative investigation
  • Evaluating the impact of actions taken
  • Wealth and social cohesion indicators
  • Stopping the violence which creates and consolidates extreme poverty See: Summer Seminar.


  • in partnership with the History Centre of Sciences Po, "L’histoire des pauvres, pour quoi faire?" Paris, June 2008
  • in partnership with the Political Research Centre of Sciences Po and CEVIPOF, "Refuser la misère. Quelle est l’actualité de la pensée politique de Joseph Wresinski?" Paris, March 2008

Other Seminars

  • in partnership with the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL), a regional conference on human rights, violence and knowledge, in association with extreme poverty, was held in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, in February 2008
  • in partnership with the International Movement ATD Fourth World Netherlands, "Dialogue with the Fourth World on Poverty and Human Rights" was held in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, November 2007
  • in partnership with Action mondiale contre la pauvreté France (Global call to action against poverty), a seminar "Extreme Poverty and Decent Work", was held at the Conseil Economique et Social, Paris, 11 December 2006
  • in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement, "Extreme Poverty and Development" was held in Paris, June 2006
  • in partnership with the World Bank, "Attacking Extreme Poverty", was held in Washington, October 2005

Latest Publications

  • Publication in November 2008 of the book Eradiquer la misère. Démocratie, mondialisation et droits de l’homme ed. PUF (Presses Universitaires Françaises). The book contains family monographs from countries in four different continents (France, Burkina Faso, Peru and the Philippines) and analyses and propositions for bringing human rights to all. An English version of this book is currently in preparation.
  • Publication of Le croisement des pouvoirs. This book presents the results of experiences leading to a number of training programmes with partners from the professional world and institutions, university lectures and research, training courses and events as part of the International Movement ATD Fourth World and draws conclusions in four fields: knowledge, methodology, ethics and politics (December 2008, co-edited with Editions de l’Atelier and Editions Quart Monde).


  • Moving Out Of Poverty: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Mobility by Deepa Naryan and Patti Petesch (contribution to Chapter 8, "Resisting extreme poverty : learning from families in Burkina Faso and Peru"), published by the World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, October 2007, 350 pages.
  • Participatory Approaches to Attacking Extreme Poverty: Case Studies Led by the International Movement ATD Fourth World, 2006, World Bank Working Paper no. 77, edited by Xavier Godinot and Quentin Wodon.
  • How Poverty Separates Parents and Children: A Challenge to Human Rights, Study for the United Nations, 2004. Fourth World Publications, 155 pages, 16 €. Also available in French under the title Quand l’extrême pauvreté sépare parents et enfants : un défi pour les droits de l’homme.
  • Another Approach to Poverty Indicators In Belgium (2004). The summary in English and the full report in French are available from ‘Service de Lutte Contre la Pauvreté, la Précarité et l’Exclusion Sociale’
  • The merging of knowledge. People in poverty and académics thinking together Fourth world-University research group, published by University Press of America. See:
    PDF - 93.3 kb
  • Artisans of Democracy (2000). University Press of America, 276 pages, 16 €.

‘Revue Quart Monde’

The Revue Quart Monde is the journal of the Research and Training Institute and is a member of the association of scientific and cultural publications. Based on bringing the life and thinking of the very poor to the fore, it presents articles on actions and studies which hope to shed some light on the path towards overcoming poverty and exclusion and building a more equitable society. Published quarterly, each edition focuses on a particular issue or theme with contributions from a wide range of authors. It is currently only available in French. For more information and for details of purchase and subscription, visit the website at: , or alternatively you can contact:


Research and Training Institute:
Joseph Wresinski International Centre - 2, Rue de la gare - 95 560 Baillet-en-France (France).

Contact the Research and Training Institute

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