In June 2012, shiree began the process of collecting recommendations to feed into the Manifesto for the Extreme Poor. Over the last year, we have received over 200 recommendations from a variety of stakeholders – international donors, NGOs, government officials, private sector actors, youth, academics, front line field officers and the extreme poor themselves. Through this consultative process, we have engaged over 70 organizations and approximately 2,000 people asking them what needs to be done to eradicate extreme poverty. These recommendations are broadly categorized under six themes, or challenges, that based on shiree’s experience from working with approximately 200,000 extreme poor households, address the needs of the poorest in Bangladesh. The process of gathering recommendations has initiated a dialogue on the state of extreme poverty and continues to raise awareness of the challenges facing the extreme poor and what needs to be done to act on their behalf. It is worth noting that the issue of extreme poverty has also broken on to the global agenda over the last 6 months, with global leaders proposing the eradication of extreme poverty as a core global objective for the post MDG period.
The recommendations received so far vary greatly from the broad to regional or issue specific, but they are all valid as each represents a deliberate act of recognizing extreme poverty and endorsing the need to address it. On November 30th, 2012 at Extreme Poverty Day, five panel discussions were held to start to synthesize and consolidate these recommendations. The event was highly successful in gaining recognition and support of the Manifesto as well as in raising awareness of extreme poverty.
So, what’s next? 2013 holds a year of great potential for embedding extreme poverty on the agenda of policy actors. However, a lot still needs to be done to produce a credible Manifesto that will be recognized and supported by political parties, international donors, civil society and private sector actors. For the first half of the year, shiree will work toward producing a final Manifesto for the Extreme Poor in English and Bangla by continuing to broaden the dialogue, consolidating recommendations and providing a strong evidence base by including the voice of the extreme poor. We will also estimate resource needs required to implement the recommendations. The second half of 2013 will be used to publicly disseminate the final Manifesto and gain the widest possible endorsement. The Manifesto will be a realistic set of actions that will allow extreme poverty to be eradicated in Bangladesh by 2021!
In the mean time, we encourage you to submit your recommendations for action online. Under each of the 6 sub pages there is a brief explanation of each of the challenges, some supporting data links to other information sources – and an invitation to submit your ideas. We are interested in hearing from experts, organisations and the ordinary citizen. We also welcome your recommendations in Bangla (আপনি আপনার সুপারিশ বাংলাতেও জানাতে পারেন এবং আমরা তা আমরা সাদরে গ্রহণ করব).
Here are some of stories from the extreme poor and their own recommendations for change: