We sat down to chat with Jinni Cheon and Dave Meyer from the communication team at ATD FourthWorld International, to find a bit more about their organisation and why they are supporting Blog Action Day 2014.
What is the ATD Fourth World?
ATD Fourth World holds a vision of a world without poverty, where everyone has equal opportunity to access all human rights. In this world, everyone can be fully themselves and be known and treated with dignity, as whole human beings. Everyone has a part in building this world.
ATD Fourth World works to engage with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty. Working in partnership with people in poverty, we use a human rightsbased approach to support families and individuals. We maintain a grassroots presence in disadvantaged communities in over 30 countries, in both urban and rural areas, creating public awareness of extreme poverty and influencing policies to address it.
What does Inequality mean to you/ATD Fourth World?
More than simply an economic question, we see inequality as a question of exclusion and lack of opportunity. People living in poverty are regularly deprived of the dignity and respect they are entitled to as human beings. This is a violation of their basic human rights. Beyond that though, this is a tragedy for all of society, as exclusion prevents us from hearing all the voices and contributions that could make our world richer. Inequality impoverishes all of society.
To fight for more inclusive societies, work we do has to begin with and be designed by people who have already been left behind. The global dialogue needs the voices of all relevant groups, from those in the most extreme poverty to those in the most extravagant wealth, as equals. We believe that shaping a world where all people can live decently and have a place in their community requires a genuine partnership with people living in extreme poverty.
What activities or projects do ATD Fourth World movement to address inequality?
We work hard to avoid a cookiecutter approach to fighting poverty, and so each team in each country has different strategies and activities to meet the needs of the local people. Our central focus as a whole is reaching out to those whose contribution is missing, with three following priorities: 1) building knowledge and accessing education, 2) shaping a peoplecentered and earthfriendly economic vision, and 3) organizing for human rights and peace. A few of our recent projects that look at inequality are
The Roles We Play Launched to mark the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, these portraits explore the roles played by those living in poverty within their families, communities and society at large. The aim is to highlight their efforts, recognise their contribution and challenge the negative attitudes often held towards vulnerable and excluded families in the UK. Everyone is invited to join in the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #rolesweplay and our Facebook page
Artisans of Peace Overcoming Poverty is a free ebook based on our participatory research on the violence of extreme poverty. The book looks at the often unseen ways people in poverty work for peace in their everyday lives.
Challenge 2015 is the result of our participatory research on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This research project to assess the MDGs provides the perspectives of over 2,000 people, most living in situations of poverty or extreme poverty, from 12 countries.
Unheard Voices is a multimedia project in which a wide array of videos shows how women and men living in extreme poverty can transform our societies and contribute to building a fairer world, based on their own lived experiences.
Do you think that inequality can be overcome?
We believe that inequality can be overcome by connecting people whose voices are unheard with the aspiration of the top ends of society to contribute to shaping a better world for everyone. People experiencing inequality must not be isolated from the conversations. Building collective knowledge with the contributions from all relevant people is necessary to overcome inequality in a systematic manner.
What can ordinary people do to help overcome and stop inequality?
What suggestions and ideas do you have for Blog Action Day participants that they can use in their posts on October 16.
We encourage participants to reach out as much as possible to people in poverty and to work to share their voices. In doing so, we can turn the day from a discussion of inequality to an actual step in breaking it down.
We encourage people to look in particular at the site The Roles We Play, a project that has come out of our team in the UK, and which works to showcase the positive roles that people in poverty play in society. We invite people to use the hashtag #RolesWePlay on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to share their thoughts on the roles they and their community play in combating inequality.
Why is ATD Fourth World taking part in Blog Action Day?
We believe that Blog Action Day is a great platform for individuals and organizations to come together and open up a discussion for global issues that impact all of us. Blog Action Day provides an opportunity for people around the world to contribute to the important conversations by raising awareness and sharing knowledge and experiences. We hope to learn from others, share our experience, and work together to fight against the issues that we care about through the participation.