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Extreme Poverty is Violence – Breaking the Silence – Searching for Peace
an article by Jo-Lind Roberts

Video: Breaking the Silence

« We can’t continue being silent, only letting those who know speak ». Valentina Ccoyo, from Cuzco, Peru, is tired of not being listened to due to living in poverty.

click on photo to enlarge

Over 1000 people were involved in a three year international participatory action research project led by the International Movement ATD Fourth World. The research examined the violence faced by people living in extreme poverty, and sought to understand the role of all stakeholders in forging pathways toward peace. Most of the participants have an experience of living in extreme poverty. The three year research culminated in a colloquium held at UNESCO House.

The findings show that people living in extreme poverty are confronted with different aspects of violence in their daily lives. The denial of fundamental rights when one is living in chronic poverty was discussed, as was the institutional and political violence that people living in extreme poverty are submitted to. The research also demonstrated the violence of extreme poverty eradication projects that are ill-adapted to people's needs. From these analyses of violence, the crucial significance of mutual recognition in order to build peace was also examined. The importance of working in partnership with people in extreme poverty, through projects that allow all participants to learn from one another, was underscored.

The Colloquium was a starting point for disseminating the findings of this research. The findings of how extreme poverty is violence, as illustrated above, will contribute to action-research ATD Fourth World is carrying out on the impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on people living in extreme poverty. This includes inviting the research participants to contribute to a process of pooling their knowledge with that of development “experts” from national and international bodies to draw out proposals for what should emerge in terms of a successor framework after the MDG deadline in 2015. Some of it will be submitted to the United Nations for its collecting of best practices in the area of achieving the MDGs. The findings of the research will also be used in ATD Fourth World's project for the evaluation of the MDGs, with people living in extreme poverty.


Question(s) related to this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Community plays a important role in developing culture peace. We should promote our cultural values by interacting with each other and making these values part of our daily lives. A good example of this would be raising our children according to beliefs and values which are important for us and our cultural peace. We can also promote cultural peace by making small commuinties within big community and share different ideas and bring new ones in.

This report was posted on March 26, 2012.