On Wednesday 10th February, we held an online demonstration of our new educational resource, The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty. This tool is based on the international participatory research project ‘The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty’ by ATD Fourth World and the University of Oxford. It aims to educate people of all ages about the findings of this report and the process of participatory involvement of those with experience of poverty. Both the report and the educational resource focus on the aspects of life in poverty that are often overlooked. Those attending the online demonstration came from a diverse range of backgrounds, including education experts, ATD activists from Ireland and James, a long time activist with ATD in the UK.
The demonstration took place over Zoom
The resource is an app that uses media such as interviews to educate and to prompt discussion. Those participating are asked to do a number of tasks, including in smaller groups. In addition to other videos, it uses interviews with those who have lived in poverty from ATD Ireland’s 2020 film ‘17 Voices, 1 Message, Stop Poverty’. We thought it was of vital importance that the project used testimony from those who have been directly affected by poverty. This is a reflection of ATD’s philosophy that those with first hand experience of poverty are the foremost experts on the issue.
The demonstration was done over Zoom due to the pandemic restrictions. It was facilitated by Martin, an ATD member who has been working on the project. Those attending stood in as participants, watching the interviews, taking part in group discussions, etc. Feedback was given at the end of the demonstration.
We think that this educational project is important in Ireland because many people, both children and adults, do not realise the extent to which poverty has an effect on a person’s life. As Paul, one of the ATD members behind the project, said at the demonstration:
‘The whole idea of this training is to bring awareness and to bring the hidden dimensions of poverty that people probably wouldn’t associate with poverty…the stigma, the shame, guilt, fear, and an absolute sense of powerlessness.”
As mentioned by the host the most important part of this module is discussion; including the videos from experienced individuals either living in poverty or working closely with individuals affected by poverty, and the involvement of participants which is encouraged from the start. There was space at the end of the workshop to hear from participants and they were encouraged to share their thoughts and feedback about this new educational poverty-awareness resource and workshop. One of the participants said: “I am very impressed by the whole sequence, the structure of involving participants in the conversation”. Another participant mentioned that she was specially struck by the authenticity of the videos used of people who have experienced poverty and shared their voice to help others understand what they have been trough.
Given the limitations of Covid 19 restrictions, the Hidden Dimensions of Poverty will only be able to be used once Level 5 has been lifted. ATD community activists will facilitate its use. We have been invited to use the resource at some adult learning organisations and are looking forward to its full rollout.
You can find more detail regarding the Understanding The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty project on our website following this link: https://www.atdireland.ie/wp/poverty-awareness/