In Uganda, where perceived corruption levels are the worst in East Africa, NGOs are holding ground-level panels comprised of individuals with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to address this issue.
The panels, which are also being used in Egypt, Brazil, and India, are instrumental for addressing post-2015 development concerns like corruption.
By allowing marginalized and impoverished people to have a voice on these panels, new insights regarding how development is experienced and what changes must be made are apparent. Governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders often overlook this ground-level knowledge when attempting to solve development problems, but not anymore.
In a recent study by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), ground-level panels came up with seven key areas where change must occur in order to address development goals after the UN’s MDGs expire in 2015.
- Empowering governance for all: This notion ensures that all marginalized people have the opportunity to participate in all societal events as citizens with equal rights. When this occurs individual and collective abilities are strengthened which creates a galvanizing force to implement change.
- Human rights for all: Governments must recognize social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights of all its citizens, including marginalized populations. The recognition of these rights is central to a marginalized person’s dignity and acts as a catalyst for them to want to be engaged in finding solutions to societal problems.
- Peace, safety, and security at all levels: Governments must utilize peaceful methods that respect human rights when solving conflicts between or within countries. This is just good governance. Violence breaks down the social fabric of communities creating more issues.
- A holistic approach: All areas of development are interconnected. People, the environment, and government institutions all rely on each other to function, so it is vital that a comprehensive approach is used.
- Equality and equity in opportunities: All of the ground level panels placed great importance on ensuring that all people have the same chance to succeed in society. Discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, language, age, religion, and region must subside in order for development goals to succeed.
- Fair and secure livelihoods: Governments must invest in skills training for their populations so that they have a chance to enter the job market and be competitive. Small business owners need support from governments in order to be able to access markets. A shift in thinking must take place so that marginalized populations trust the economic system that is in place, rather than the skepticism that currently exists.
- Self-sufficiency and agency: Being autonomous is incredibly important to the ground level panels. Minimizing dependency from other countries and the private sector is something that is vital in order for self-sufficiency to take place.
- Local, national, and international institutions must place meaningful participation at their core.
- Truly inclusive, community led monitoring processes must be established.
- Acknowledge the underlying discriminatory practices that are in place and work to ensure marginalized people are allowed to be more inclusive.
- Governments, the private sector, and other institutions must increase transparency and access to information.
– Aaron Faust
*This article is part of a seven-piece series detailing post-2015 development goals.