Four organizations came together during the 2014 World Bank Annual Meetings to discuss the importance of local-level and women-centric programming to ensure sustainable development for all. The main argument defended that if there is not local democracy and development methodologies conducive to empowering citizens, human dignity is neither recognized nor preserved. Without human dignity, therein lies hopelessness, helplessness, and extreme poverty and hunger.
John Coonrod, Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project, opened the presentation with a sobering picture of a young mother farming with an archaic hoe and a baby strapped to her back. Her world is a six mile radius, yet it is unlikely that there are government services within her reach. Each person is entitled to access to government services, not only preserving life, right and thus dignity. Such a young, impoverished, rural woman arguably has no rights and is denied her human dignity. Therefore, it is at this most local level that development initiatives and the strengthening of governance systems must take place.
Methodologies and best practices for local-level development are possible for a variety of development actors. World Vision’s Social Accountability Advisor, Hwa Yoo, explained the Citizen Voice and Action workshops as a means to develop or improve social accountability mechanisms at the grassroots level. This is done through mobilization of people through a series of innovative education and training sessions. Similarly, Marybeth Hastings of Center for Health and Gender Equality (CHANGE) discussed how to advocate at the local level with certain actors to establish effective partnerships with local nationals and minority groups to implement sustainable development programs.
Peace Direct’s Local First movement, described by Board Member Bridget Moix, details the local-level frameworks of several organizations and the best practices associated with identifying local resources and capacities prior to providing development aid and resources. This helps to ensure that development is efficiently and effectively reaching the poorest and hungriest but also engaging and empowering people to become “animators” of their own development.
The Sustainable Development Goals will be a universal call to eradicate hunger and poverty for all persons without distinction, requiring good, local governance at all levels. Within the [short] fifteen year window to reach the 2030 goals, development initiatives must be made – increasingly so – from the bottom-up to ensure that development occurs sustainably for those most in need and most vulnerable.
Watch videos from the panel below.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_cFYR74pFk]
Intro – John Coonrod, The Hunger Project[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0O_kstjRas]
Peace Direct’s Local First Framework – Bridget Moix, Peace Direct[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIuagDmADx0]
Grassroots and Sustainable Advocacy – Marybeth Hastings, Center for Health and Gender Equality (CHANGE)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoH2_Ko-03k]
Strategic Advocacy for Local Level Programming – WASH Advocates[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI3SVNGIDLo]
Citizen Voice and Action Workshop – Hwa Yoo, World Vision