The right to have your voice heard. We believe that good governance – ensuring that governments and public bodies listen to, and take on board, the concerns of the poor – is a crucial first step out of poverty.
All people have a right to participate in and influence the decisions that affect their lives.
Many poor people however are unaware of their rights and of what they are entitled to and have no way of engaging with those who have the power to make a difference to their lives.
Alone, their voices are often not heard. This is where community organisations and NGO’s come in. CARE and its partners help people build a shared voice through collective solidarity and actions, so that they can influence the decisions that affect their lives.
Community organisations, such as one that CARE helped to establish in Botlagari Union in Bangladesh, strengthen the voice of poor people in a way they could not do individually, helping them to participate in decisions that affect their lives. The villagers in Botlagari Union used to receive very low wages, but after working together they mobilised to negotiate fairer wages from landowners and employers.
These communities were also able to lobby their local government to lease them land for cultivation purposes. When they had approached the government as individuals they were easily turned away but as a group they have been able to secure resources. They are now respected members of their communities able to speak in public and negotiate successfully with much more powerful people, “the head of the local government now consults us on development in our villages” said Sri Valo Bala Rishi.
Strong community organisations, like the community council in Botlagari also help to make governments and public bodies more accountable by ensuring they deliver the vital services they are responsible for, like water, health and education.
CARE’s work on governance particularly focuses on:
- Raising awareness about peoples rights and promoting the engagement of vulnerable people in public decision making processes
- Empowering people and communities to express their issues and demands, often through acting collectively. This contributes to overcoming some of the barriers to being heard.
- Strengthening spaces where governments and poor citizens can get together to discuss and negotiate a more inclusive and pro poor development agenda
- Improving government transparency and accountability, and encouraging citizen’s monitoring of public spending
- Engaging in and supporting debates about the way aid is used and its impacts on reducing poverty
- Holding Northern governments to account to meet their commitments on aid expenditure
CSO Civil Society Organisation Accountability and Effectiveness
- Working to ensure that civil society organisations establish systems and mechanisms to enable participation of the most vulnerable in monitoring and evaluating our work
To support CARE’s work on governance please donate now.