Shame and stigma are common denominators in the experience of poverty worldwide. Addressing poverty requires co-creation of knowledge and formulation of policies together with people with lived experiences of poverty. Creating opportunities for people from different backgrounds to learn about what it means to live in poverty can create a sense of solidarity and common purpose in working towards social justice.
These are some of the messages that I took away from my conversation with Diana Skelton. Diana is a member of the National Coordination Team of ATD Fourth World in the UK.
ATD Fourth World is a human rights-based organisation that has a unique approach to working with people with lived experience of poverty. They deliberately seek out those who are most marginalised and excluded in order to ensure that their voices are heard and amplified. They do this in more than 30 countries across the world, working towards social justice and dignity (ATD stands for All Together in Dignity). And despite their relatively small size, they have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times, which is testament to their incredible work!
Diana has been pivotal to the work of ATD Fourth World, having worked in the US, Madagascar, France and now the UK. She co-authored the three-volume series ‘Artisans of Peace‘ that offers in-depth insight into the organisation’s work across many different countries. She also wrote the novel ‘Until the Sky Turns Silver’, which provides a fictionalised but very true and potent reflection of the challenges and opportunities of bringing people with lived experience of poverty, high-level UN policy makers, researchers and others together in overcoming poverty.
In this interview, Diana discusses the origins of ATD Fourth World, their approach to working with people with lived experiences of poverty and their latest multi-country research project ‘Understanding Poverty in All its Forms‘. Diana is very conscious of speaking without jargon (I have much to learn!) so this should be a good listen for everyone.
Here are a few links to some of the projects and reports that are mentioned during the interview, or that are worthwhile to look into:
- Short video about the research ‘Understanding Poverty in All its Forms’.
- Full report, executive summary and annex with findings from ‘Understanding Poverty in All its Forms’ (documents can be downloaded through links at end of main text).
- Video and report for the project ‘The Roles We Play’, which was a 10-year long project that serves as a platform for people with experience of poverty to challenge the widespread negative stereotypes of their lives through focusing on the many positive contributions that they bring to society.