What’s Meaningful Participation?

Meaningful Participation by Alice WelbournWhat’s Meaningful Participation? A key question that requires many people to answer.

A diverse and dynamic group of activists, academics and public health officials are now collaborating on a new  project — All Aboard! This initiative, spearheaded by the IMAXI Cooperative, combines scientific research with the practical development of a new participatory tool that aims to make “Nothing about us without us” a reality in global health governance. We believe that by advancing the meaningful participation and accountable representation of the most affected communities within decision-making institutions, fewer people living with life-threatening and life-changing diseases / disabilities will be ‘left behind’ and left out of programmes to improve health and well-being.

Before tools to claim ‘seats at the tables’ of the policy-makers can be forged, we seek a broad-based consensus on what meaningful participation actually means. Below are a few elements – we like to know what else can be added to the mix.

• Meaningful participation is based on the principle that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.

• Meaningful participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.

• Meaningful participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants.

• Meaningful participation contributes broad, long-term stake-holding to policy development when supported in a sustainable manner.

• Meaningful participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

• Meaningful participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.

• Meaningful participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

• Meaningful participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

• Meaningful participation helps to assure that ‘no one will be left behind’ in the sustainable development agenda.

• Meaningful participation enables people to realise their rights to participate in, and access information relating to, the decision-making processes which affect their lives.

Please send us any further ideas or suggestions. Everyone’s welcome to “Write Your Rights” to a seat at the table.
Contact us.

Read more…

Beware: Verify the HRBA!

Beware! Verify HRBACaveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware)
Human Rights Reader 26

Beware: The fashion is out. Everybody wants to jump onto the bandwagon of Human Rights.

It is coming to our attention that to be ‘up to the times’ a number of donors and NGOs are telling us that their programs have incorporated participatory approaches to their development, health and nutrition programs. They see those being an “essential” part of Human Rights, because they build activities around the express needs of the beneficiaries.

But this is NOT what the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) is about!

Such programs must be retooled to adopt the full Human Rights paradigm to deserve being called such, i.e. the goal of them should be achieved through interventions founded in international Human Rights law that will provide the legal basis for interventions that will ultimately underscore the host governments’ fault at fulfilling its obligations to redress the violation of Human Rights of its citizens.

To bring about a reversion of the violations requires changing/adapting ongoing programs’ objectives to the Human Rights framework (the difference is one between just delivering the usual services, and making it clear to beneficiaries that they are legally entitled to specific services and can go somewhere to complain if they do not receive what is due them; people need to know what commitments have been made to them).

Read more…