Participation for Economic Advancement

Over the years, a great deal of work has been done on how to build participation and increase the voice of disenfranchised groups in political and social processes that affect their lives. Civil society and public action, with the support of engaged research, have opened up spaces for people to have a say in social and political policies at many levels. However, economic processes have only rarely been the focus of such efforts.

Economic power can liberate, but it can also oppress and disenfranchise as much as other forms of power. Economic policy-making generally still takes place behind closed doors, in processes that are heavily technocratic.  Business decision-making is in the hands of asset owners (shareholders, investors, entrepreneurs).  Orthodox economics emphasises rational self-interest over collective action towards shared well-being. Opening up and creating spaces for the economically disenfranchised to have a voice and to participate in decisions that affect them remains a key challenge. The Open Society Foundations Economic Advancement Programme is working with researchers in the Business Markets and States and Participation research teams at the Institute of Development Studies to try and address this challenge.

The Key Issues Guides and documents included in this collection are designed to present an overview of participation in economic advancement: introducing key concepts (What is Participation?); providing an overview of building participation within economic programmes - at the grantee/investee and at the internal funder levels (Participation for Economic Advancement Programming) and presenting examples of different models and processes in the economic sphere, and how these can enable meaningful participation (Mapping Participation in Economic Advancement).  It is recommended that those new to the field of participation in economic advancement read the overview guide before the other two.

Image credit: Favéla Santa Marta, Painting of life in the favéla | dany13 | Flickr | CC BY 2.0 

This Key Issues Guide is sponsored by the Economic Advancement Program of the Open Society Foundations. The Economic Advancement Program was launched in 2016 to work at the nexus of economic development and social justice by encouraging economic transformation that increases material opportunity in ways that promote open and prosperous societies.

In this collection

 reset

Showing 11-20 of 46 results

  • Ghana Civil Society Platform on the IMF Programme

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2020
    Eleven Accra-based civil society organisations (CSOs) working on social accountability, anti-corruption and governance joined forces in November 2014 to influence the design, implementation and monitoring of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)backed extended credit arrangement for Ghana (2015–18).Prior to the formation of the Civil Society Platform on the IMF Programme, there had been no citizen initiative specifically dedicated to a serious economic intervention like this in the country. The Civil Society Platform has been at the forefront of CSOs’ engagement with key stakeholders (i.e....
  • PEKKA: women-headed household empowerment

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2020
    Grass-roots member-owned cooperatives for female heads of households in rural Indonesia (PEKKA) empower the female members through three economic activities: community-based microfinance through savings and borrowing; a closed trading and marketing system, branded as PEKKA Mart; and economic lobbying and advocacy.Through their membership of the cooperative, female heads of households are increasing their voice and agency over economic decision-making....
  • Buen Vivir Fund: participatory impact investing

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2020
    The Buen Vivir Fund is a participatory impact investment fund operating internationally. It was founded in 2018 by Thousand Currents, a nongovernmental organisation, following a co-design process to conceptualise the Fund, initiated in 2016. The Buen Vivir Fund started small in terms of volume of capital, having raised US$1m in loan capital for its initial investment cycle of 2018–20.This US$1m, plus US$300,000 raised in grant capital, is being deployed with the guidance of the Fund’s Members Assembly....
  • RSF Social Finance: transforming the way the world works with money

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2020
    RSF Social Finance is a public benefit financial services organisation dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. RSF offers investing, lending, and giving services to individuals and enterprises committed to improving society and the environment.The example of RSF provides valuable lessons of how to facilitate meaningful and direct relationships across sectors and among diverse stakeholders within a structure of disciplined investment practice....
  • Participation in economic advancement: The experience of the Brazilian Network of Community Banks (BNCB)

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2020
    This case study was designed to investigate how people in poor communities in Brazil are taking action to improve their local economies and how participation is important to achieve that. In a context of economic marginalisation and limited access to infrastructure and public goods, local movements have risen in which residents organise themselves to discuss major community issues and try to find a solution together....
  • Participatory impact investing: concepts and definitions

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2018
    Impact investors have done a lot of good (and some bad) so far, but mostly on their own terms. From a “return on investment perspective,” this makes sense: they have the capital, the knowledge and the means when it comes to “investment”.However, even with this perspective in mind, incorporating participation affords an opportunity to receive feedback from a larger range of stakeholders with better local knowledge and consequently safeguard against financial and social impact risks....
  • Participatory impact investing: concepts and definitions

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2018
    Impact investors have done a lot of good (and some bad) so far, but mostly on their own terms. From a “return on investment perspective,” this makes sense: they have the capital, the knowledge and the means when it comes to “investment”.However, even with this perspective in mind, incorporating participation affords an opportunity to receive feedback from a larger range of stakeholders with better local knowledge and consequently safeguard against financial and social impact risks....
  • Time to share the costs of participation in impact investing

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2018
    That there are real costs to participation is not news.  But impact investors, donors and investees themselves have not yet confronted the question of how such costs should be addressed across their industry. It is time to do so....
  • Shifting economic power dimensions for women in Adonara, Indonesia

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2019
    Towering over the small island of Adonara in Indonesia, the Ile Boleng volcano is always present in the background. In the nearby village of Adobala, I listened as female heads of households, dressed in sarungs, talked about how they had organised themselves as a women’s group in the local cooperative ‘Lodan Do’e’. The cheerful women didn’t just use the time to talk, but also to weave and make threads or cook coconut oil.Lodan Do’e is part of the Indonesia-wide PEKKA movement....
  • Transformative participatory impact investing: The Buen Vivir Fund

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2019
    In 2018, the Institute of Development Studies partnered with the Open Society Foundations Economic Justice Programme to build an evidence base to explore the question: “What constitutes meaningful participation in economic advancement?” Researchers sought to map cases in which alternative economic processes allow people at the grassroots level to have a real voice in economic decision-making, including business and financing models that enable participation....

Pages

See all content in Eldis on Participation