The MDGs, evaluated by people living in poverty

An ATD Fourth World participative project to ensure those most concerned can contribute to a post-2015 development agenda.

The most vulnerable remain unreached
In 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the most vulnerable had not benefited from the Millennium Development Goals. As part of the evaluation process for the MDG programme, the UN invited civil society organisations to share any good practices that would help development programmes to actually benefit the very poorest. In response, ATD Fourth World has decided to launch – with partial funding from the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind – its own participatory research project evaluating the MDGs. The project aims to ensure that people living in extreme poverty can contribute their knowledge and experience to the development agenda.

Listening to the poorest
To understand the failures of the current MDG programme, it is essential to listen to the poorest. They see the day-to-day problems that arise from the current way development policies are made and applied. They are also the people with the in-depth understanding of the local conditions and ways of life needed if development projects are to succeed. This is why the Millennium Development Goals Evaluation Project will use the Merging of Knowledge research methodology. This allows true participation, creating a level playing field where people experiencing poverty can not only discuss freely with other development experts, but also play a central role in analysing the fruits of their discussions.

Global analysis
Eleven of the countries in which ATD Fourth World has an active presence are involved in the project. They are Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Philippines, Peru and Poland. They not only reflect a geographical, economic and cultural diversity, but with the inclusion of a ’developed’ country like Belgium, emphasise the fact that chronic poverty exists around the world, not only in those countries targeted by the MDGs.

Post-2015 proposals
ATD Fourth World teams in each of these countries will set up spaces where people can meet and discuss the development goals. The ideas they generated will then be brought forward to several national, regional and international seminars, involving grass-roots participants as well as researchers, professionals, policy makers and representatives of international institutions. Each of these seminars will be carried out in the spirit of the Merging of Knowledge approach described above, and aim to reach a set of post 2015 proposals for the MDG programme. These will be shared with the relevant bodies in the United Nations, ATD Fourth World’s partners in the Beyond 2015 Campaign and other partners such as Social Watch. They will also be shared, through tools like this newsletter, with all those involved in making sure that the next set of development goals include people in poverty.