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How can we better enable inclusion of everyone?

How can we better enable the inclusion of those who are at risk of exclusion from our communities? Those most disadvantaged are frequently most likely to be locked out of the principal decision making forums involved in forming, shaping and evolving our communities.

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Written by DeletedUser

As our global society becomes more economically, politically and socially entwined, local communities are increasingly at risk of becoming torn and fragmented. Those most vulnerable are more at risk of being pushed to the edge in the choice-making you, or I, are involved in. Solutions to global challenges are often sought at a top-down strategic level. Too often this leads to tokenistic brush stroke problem solving. We need to adopt a bottom-up approach to seeking out better ways to include everyone in determining global priorities and bringing about meaningful change.

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. Does this concept deserve a place on the i20 agenda?

Yes – it's definitely a significant global issue requiring innovation - 33.3%

Maybe – it's important but there are other issues which deserve more attention - 50%

No – it's interesting but not of global significance - 16.7%

2. Does this concept point to innovation opportunities that i20 leaders can discuss?

It points to a range of opportunities - 66.7%

It points to a single opportunity - 16.7%

It's indeed a challenge but doesn't point to opportunities - 16.7%

3. Is this concept well framed?

Yes – it relevantly covers the issue to promote onwards discussion - 66.7%

Somewhat – though the scope is either too narrow or too wide - 16.7%

Not really – interesting issue but this concept doesn't really invite conversation - 16.7%

14 comments

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Photo of Gaia Montelatici

I very much do agree that even in 2013 this challenge is still very actual. Social inclusion is on the agenda of UN agencies and many countries in the world. Indicators have been set in order to measure the results of social inclusion policies ranging from education to employment. However, even policy indicators do not properly measure actual improvements or lack of. We still have not reached a balance between qualitative and quantitative indicators, developmental and more traditional impact evaluations. targeting the real socially excluded remains a very strong challenge in a lot of development projects around the world. Often, the assumptions embedded in innovations and solutions proposed in development to achieve social inclusion are actually very much culture-bound/specific and characterized by stereotypes towards socially excluded specific groups we are targeting. I believe that by highthening cultural/diversity competence in planning, designing, implementing and monitoring and evaluating phases of inclusion solutions and projects would enhance the quality of results

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DeletedUser

I am totally on your page on this one Emily. I've been kicking around in the philanthropic sector for about 15 years and the (however well-intentioned) people at the top are rarely representative of the communities they're supposedly serving. I was a the Council on Foundations annual conference this weekend and spoke with Gerald Salole of the European Foundation Center about this exact topic -- he exhorted that philanthropy (and development, and social entrepreneurship) needs to shift away from a colonial "social engineering" approach and look for new (or very old and traditional) ways to listen with the "big ear" Andrea mentions and move some of the design and decision-making power to the people.

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DeletedUser

Congratulations on making it to the final 9 on the agenda! Well done!

Photo of andrea schneider

Hi Emily,
I'm happy I could make a contribution to your concept. I've witnessed how easy it is to assume "we" know what's good and right for someone else or their community. I've seen parents do this to kids all the time, never asking the kids themselves what would work to solve some high risk problems.

You are so right about listening openly, "the big ear", so to speak. I like to think after listening carefully, we can collaborate on resonant solutions/actions to take, so there are real outcomes and results, which can be seen by the community. I've learned to marry planning and evaluation seemlessly into the listening process, so we are working together on strategic, operational and tactical goals. I think it's helped me to be the facilitator with an intermediary role, with leadership emerging from the group.

I often think how many lessons I've learned, and re-learned, from various and diverse communities, which has humbled me many times. I worry those "with" can lean towards arrogance, when in fact the group has the wisdom and just needs a hand and guidance to make it so.

One other variable I think really counts. The issue or challenge has to be compelling to the group or it won't fly.

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DeletedUser

Thank you Andrea. This is what is important to me, that we should not position people and their challenges as "problems" but instead allow them to determine their own challenges and importantly their solutions. Otherwise we are in danger of engendering more distinction between those who are powerful and those who are not... be they children, the aged, indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems... We need to endeavour to learn to listen to those less likely to be heard and encourage their engagement and involvement with needed change.

Photo of andrea schneider

This is an important challenge. We are in serious danger to leaving more and more people out of the process, especially if the primary method of communication and participation is technology based alone.

Different cultures approach the nature of community and community participation quite differently. As we design models to address this important issue, we need to involve those in the different target groups, as part of the process.

I spent years working with the American Indian Community on the nature of the Urban American Indian Tribe. We spent a lot of time looking at what were the best ways to communicate, to an ever increasing number of participants, from multiple tribes.

Thinking that technology might truly make basic communication easier, it bumped up against the tradition of gathering through ritual and food. I asked at one time about writing up this very special project and was told, "Andrea, you know Indian's don't like to write, we like pictures and stories". Why didn't I remember that key concept, I should have known better! I made an incorrect assumption, which was corrected by the community. It was a classic case of my paradigm bumping up against a completely different one.

As we figure this out, we really have to remember the nature of each unique culture and honor their ways of building community, participation, and collaboration. I'm thinking some of the "keys to the answers" lie in asking some excellent questions with a very open mind.

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DeletedUser

This concept needs to underpin the development of the global agenda. As Andy Shrader pointed out this concept is about creating lines of communication and listening.

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DeletedUser

I think this concept invites a discussion that NEEDS to be had and consideration of how to include ALL people in any global challenge seems to be a very apparent and necessary if we are going to successfully achieve much needed change.

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DeletedUser

simple but clear and clearly important

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DeletedUser

Interestingly, as we get more technologically "advanced," and, at the same time, pollute more and more of the Earth, it becomes clear that the very people so-called first-world countries want to "save" are the indigenous people who have been successfully and sustainably living in non-industrialized areas for centuries. Opening lines of communication and listening is not only helpful, it is essential to humankind's continued existence on a planet with rapidly dwindling resources.

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DeletedUser

I agree with Andy, involving vulnerable people in coming up with potential solutions to the problems that they face is essential and will result in greater investment and increased likelihood of success.

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DeletedUser

It never ceases to amaze me how those responsible for vulnerable people seem to feel they know what's best for them. I've rarely witnessed heartfelt inclusion more often than not just box ticking. It is vitally important to make every effort to include these vulnerable people in the decisions that will affect them

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DeletedUser

To really achieve inclusion we need to think about how our societies and cultures construct notions of difference. We need to be aware of how difference is created and seek to challenge reinforced differences. The work of Foucault helped me to understand why and how difference is created. In short it’s about how power is exercised by one group over another. Empowering groups with little power is a step in the right direction at redressing the balance.

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DeletedUser

I think it's really important to look at things from the bottom up especially when it comes to defining which priorities need addressing. We need to move away from the sympathy model of vulnerable groups and instead accept the role the global community has played in constructing disadvantage. Any more top down problem solving just further carves out this disadvantage.