by M. Md Anisur Rahman
Tribute to Wresinski. A written contribution to the international colloquium “Exclusion, a Challenge to Democracy. How relevant is Joseph Wresinski’s thinking?”
People’s Initiatives in Bangladesh and Insights for Poverty and Development Discourse
For decades Joseph Wresinski and the ATD Movement that he created have worked with disadvantaged people customarily referred to as “poor”, and have made a major contribution toward developing an alternative view ofpoverty and approach to poverty alleviation.
Recently Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB), a poverty-research supporting agency in Bangladesh with which the present author is associated, has initiated a search by 70 journalists of creative self-initiatives of disadvantaged people of this country to advance their lives outside of government or NGO programmes. RIB has also initiated processes of people’s collective self-inquiry (gonogobeshona) and action for advancing their lives, and with RIB’s collaboration the Hunger Project, Bangladesh is also initiating such processes. These experiences fully support the viewpoint of Wresinski and the ATD Movement on the notion of poverty and of the role of people’s knowledge and thinking in addressing poverty.
This paper presents glimpses of some of the more illuminating cases of people’s initiatives in Bangladesh obtained from RIB’s search as well as of the gonogobeshona exercises in the country, and discusses how they confirm the thinking of Wresinski and of the ATD Movement, and reflects in this connection further on the poverty and development course.