CSO Consultative Group: Voices of the Poor, By the Poor, For the Poor

The poor have to interact with other interest groups and with policy makers. With other interest groups interaction is necessary because the poor do not live in isolation. Interaction with the World Bank in Washington is simply not possible for poor who are spread out all over the world. The need is for facilitating the creation of institutions (at various locations in the world) that can create a space for interaction between politicians, interest groups and communities, and planning and O&M agencies. This space will need to be nurtured and institutionalised over time. Support for the poor in this space will have to be provided by participatory research on the basis of which politicians and policy makers can reach informed decisions regarding development and management of projects and settlements.

An important element in this process is the holding of forms in which government officials / politicians present their proposals before local communities whose lives are to be affected by them. Feedback from these forums should be followed up by committees comprising of members of the community and officials. The organisation should also arrange talks and lectures for the communities on development plans, processes, laws, rules and regulations. These should be modified, if necessary, on feedback from these gatherings.

For this to be successful, the World Bank will have to give up its present form of monitoring which is policing rather than monitoring. What is required is simply correct minute keeping and accurate follow-ups on it. In addition, the creation of a culture of affluence, bureaucratic red-tapism and events, and lack of transparency will have to be avoided. Instead, a culture with a strong populist bias will have to be promoted.

A school curriculum that inculcates an understanding of development related issues in children should be developed and teachers trained to use it. All material in school curriculums that promote constraints for the development of a just and equitable society should be removed and/or modified.

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