Our activities

Since September 2012, the Participate initiative has carried out participatory research, communications and advocacy work to ensure that the voices of the poorest and most marginalised are included in post-2015 decision-making processes.

Participate key activities include:

Reviewing lessons from large-scale consultation processes

Previous global consultations with people living in poverty have promised new opportunities for those most marginalised to influence the decisions that affect their lives.  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 affected by it, then it is crucial to learn these lessons.

Read Participate’s review paper of previous global consultations, What Do We Know About How to Bring the Perspectives of People Living in Poverty into Global Policy-making?

Facilitating a global Participatory Research Group (PRG)

Current participatory research projects gathering knowledge from the margins on the post-2015 debate are brought together through the PRG. This group is supported through methodological workshops for reflection and innovation, including participatory visual work and documentation of the processes involved.

The PRG comprises 18 organisations working in many countries with the poorest and most marginalised communities.

Analysing and synthesising recent and current participatory studies

Two analyses have been carried out: the first is of 84 recent participatory studies published in the past seven years that pertain to the MDGs; the second is of all the current participatory work carried out by the PRG members. Synthesis was 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. The synthesised research reports and key policy messages can be viewed in Publications. Learn more about each of the PRG members’ research initiatives, under Research Activities.

Creating Ground Level Panels (GLP) to mirror the work of the High Level Panel (HLP)

Ground Level Panels (GLPs) of people experiencing poverty, insecurity and exclusion deliberated on the findings of the UN High Level Panel report published in May 2013, around the future of development and produced their own recommendations. Among others, the participants included urban slum-dwellers, disabled people, sexual minorities, people living in conflict and natural disaster-affected areas, rural poverty, or geographically isolated communities, nomadic and indigenous people, and internally displaced people. Read more about the GLP processes in India, Brazil, Egypt and Uganda, and download the GLP communiqués here.

Putting cameras in the hands of the poorest to make their own films that tell their own stories

Six participatory visual processes were facilitated which provide examples of the complex and nuanced aspects and consequences of development. The films, stories and photographs taken by the communities themselves as part of the participatory research can be viewed under Research Activities. In parallel, a documentary film has drawn together learning on the key themes that surface, and how such processes can reveal and communicate powerfully messages from the margins to policy-makers.  Please visit the Documentary film page to watch the film; and the Research Methods pages to learn more about the participatory visual methods used by the network as part of their research.

Coordinating an exhibition of Participate’s research findings

An interactive exhibition, Work with us, draws together the findings and messages from the research. The exhibition communicates the voices of those living in poverty through their films, stories, photographs and written research reports. Launched during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September 2013, the exhibition offers a platform for continued dialogue around the research, and a direct channel to influence governments and UN decision-makers. Learn more about the exhibition on the Exhibition website and Facebook page.

Building partnerships with NGOs and other agencies doing research in the poorest communities

With an emphasis on engaging marginal communities directly, this initiative is distinct from efforts to engage civil society organisations in the post-2015 debate. Participate provides a valuable means of validating evidence from both sources, and builds partnerships with relevant NGO and CSO led advocacy efforts to increase impact where possible.

Download Participate’s Key Outputs and Activities information leaflet here