A full-day symposium on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
Date: October 2, 2019
Time: 9 am- 5 pm
Venue: 425 3rd St SW Suite 1200, Washington DC
On the day he was assassinated, Mahatma Gandhi left behind a message – what he called a “talisman.” He said, we must think of the face of the poorest person we’ve ever seen and ask whether the action we contemplate will restore that person to control over their own life and destiny. Most of us would agree with the talisman. Yet do the words of our development discourse undermine the self-reliance and dignity of those living in poverty?
The Movement for Community-Led Development (the Movement), a group of 63 global organizations, believes that every human being has a fundamental right to voice in the decisions that affect their lives, and to equal and affordable access to the fundamental public services through which they can achieve their full potential. As donors, implementors, advocates, and partners, it is increasingly incumbent on us to assess our words, behaviors, and actions within our work. On October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the Movement will organize a day long symposium to critically examine how our work adheres (or does not adhere) to our standards of true community engagement and empowerment. This symposium will bring together key actors within the humanitarian and development sectors to focus on three aspects of our work:
- Our words: “Speech is the mirror of the soul.” Words matter. How we speak with and about the communities with whom we work not only reflects our attitudes but can also have a profound impact on the outcome of our work.
- Our actions: Proactively engaging with our communities and local partners from program conceptualization all the way to evaluation and exit can lead to significant improvements in the sustainability and self-reliant aspects of our shared work.
- Our reactions: It takes time to build trust and respect with our partners and participants. The ways in which we react and respond to concerns and critical (positive and negative) feedback will determine the pace of transformation within communities.
The symposium will comprise a series of keynotes and panel discussions. It will conclude with a shared call to action, where we will reaffirm our joint commitment to true community-led development, discarding traditional approaches of top-down development, and mapping out tangible methods for a more engaged and sustainable future.