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Nov 21, 2014
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Rural Healthcare for 5000 people in Coastal Kenya
 
Nov 21, 2014

Giving Poverty a Voice Conference

Angela delivers her conference presentation
Angela delivers her conference presentation
Giving Poverty a Voice started two and a half years' ago to give people with experience of poverty and social exclusion the platform to discuss the issues that affect their lives, get informed about the wider context of the issues or the system and get involved in the democratic process. In light of the great progress we have made, in November we held a public conference to look back at the work we have done, how we went about doing it and what we got out of it.
The conference showcased presentations by participants based on the three major themes of the project.
The first theme was contributing to the democratic process. Angela described her experience of delivering a speech in Parliament and told us: It was a big deal. I had never done something like that before. And it took a long time to get to that point... I couldn't have stood up and done something straight away... I wasn't confident enough to stand up and speak in front of a crowd. I didn't know how to speak in public. Giving Poverty a Voice has helped me learn how to do that and be more confident. 
The second theme was meeting decision makers. Reflecting on the opportunities to meet politicians through Giving Poverty a Voice, Seamus told us that It helps us see that politicians are not all the same and that they work in different areas. James added that: The impact of meeting politicians and being able to discuss things properly with them means they get to see where our point of view is really coming from and what is really important to us. From there, they can look to make changes to policy. A real discussion and a genuine exchange of views, like the ones we have had through Giving Poverty a Voice, are constructive steps forward that make real change possible.
The final theme, getting involved in the local community, led us to Paul and Patricia's talks about their involvement as part of the backstage crew in the Old Vic New Voices theatre production Housed. As Patricia told us, It was a fantastic experience and the best thing I've ever done. We all pulled together and we all got on. I want to do it again... It felt like being part of a big family and something I'm really proud of. I met a lot of great people. In describing his experience, Paul illustrates why community involvement is so important: Long-term unemployment is not fun; I just wanted to do something and working on the Old Vic New Voices production of Housed was an opportunity to do something... Going through the whole process and getting so much out of it has made it easier for me to get out into my community. Before, I was pent up in my flat most of the time but this has got me going out more.

Giving Poverty a Voice in 2015

In the new year, Giving Poverty a Voice will be focusing on human rights, a topic that was selected after extensive consultation with project participants and a vote on shortlisted themes. In September we held an introduction session to human rights. After discussing some key human rights concepts we got into small groups to imagine that we had just landed on a new planet. Our task was to create together a human rights document containing what we considered to be the 10 most important human rights. These were written on leaves and placed on a tree. Following creation of our human rights ‘tree-ties’ we then looked at copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and compared our human rights selections with the rights contained in the document. 

By the end of the meeting participants shared that they felt really fired-up about the concept of human rights and could see its potential as a campaigning tool. Many were really shocked to see the extent to which the aspirations in the UDHR simply did not match up with their life experiences, which often fall short of the document’s articles.

We are looking forward to discussing human rights in greater depth in 2015 and applying it to issues that affect us.

A Human Rights
A Human Rights 'Tree-ty'
'Giving Poverty a Voice'-  in the UK

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