Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind


“Even in extreme poverty, a person has ideas. If these ideas aren’t recognized, people fall even deeper into poverty.”
Research participant from Burkina Faso

“There is plenty of aid here, but they give it out without knowing who are the worst off, so the poorest are often not aided at all. This aid creates jealousy, divides our community, and ends up isolating the poorest even
more and worsening their situation.”
Research participant from Senegal


The result of ATD’s participatory research on the Millennium Development Goals, Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind, brings the voices of people in poverty to the sustainable development debate. The result of years of participatory research with over 2,000 participants from over 20 countries, a majority of whom came from a background of poverty or extreme poverty, this report brings a unique voice to the global debate on international development.

The process of assessing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was a unique opportunity to bring the voices of people in poverty to the forefront. This is why we launched our own participatory research project to assess the MDGs. Twelve of the countries in which we have an active presence were deeply involved in the project: Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritius, Peru, the Philippines and Poland.

In each of the 12 countries, our teams organized meetings with people living in poverty and extreme poverty. These dialogues were grounded in mutual trust built over years of working together. The participants met and discussed development issues in weekly or monthly meetings. For six months to two years, depending on the country, the participants gained experience voicing their concerns and built collective knowledge.

The result is an analysis of the MDGs from the perspective of those they were intended to benefit. The report includes a series of critiques brought out by our research and concludes with 5 recommendations for the post-2015 development priorities. The full report and executive summary are available for download.

“The very fact that no one in situations of extreme poverty was in the room to help think about how to design the MDGs made it almost a given that many of the worst-off people living in poverty would be the ones left behind, again,” writes Isabelle Perrin, Director General of International Movement ATD Fourth World in the forward to the report. “This is why ATD Fourth World undertook an evaluation of the MDGs together with 2,000 people, a majority of whom live in poverty or extreme poverty. Their voices, shared in this report, offer insight and guidance for better approaches to post-2015 development.”