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Including the excluded

Southern Voices is a not-for-profit NGO specialising in participatory approaches to international development. As a development NGO originating from the Global South, we bring the Southern perspective on development policy and practice to the North.

Our vision

Our vision

Our vision is a world without poverty in which every person has a right to participate in decisions, which affect their lives.

Our mission

Our mission is to enable excluded people to have an active and influential say in their own equitable and sustainable development.

Our vision, beliefs and values influence our work at the local, national and international level. Our work is wide ranging and spans individuals and communities and extends up to governments and intergovernmental agencies across the globe. We engage closely at all levels to facilitate community leadership and work to implement the most appropriate and effective solution in any particular situation. The breadth of our network, combined with our knowledge, experience, resources and collaborative approach, enable lasting change to be realised.

Southern Voices works in three ways in order to achieve its vision, mission and objectives.

Our mission

We believe:

In the equality of all human lives and that all have the same fundamental rights, which are to be recognised and upheld at all times.

In the value in every voice and that a lack of voice is a very damaging form of poverty. An individual without a voice is without a place in the development process. This is unacceptable. Development can only be relevant and sustainable when those directly affected are given their right to have an influential say in matters relating to their welfare.

That poverty is eradicable and that vulnerability and suffering are not pre-ordained events. In world rich with resources, poverty can, and should be eradicated.

Unequal power relations fuel poverty and that discrimination on the basis of gender, race, class, caste and ability, increase people’s vulnerability to poverty. There is a link between the perpetuation of poverty and unjust policies and practices, which can be challenged and removed through participatory democracy.

In sustainable development: That human development must not come at the expense of global environmental degradation.

Southern Voices works in three ways in order to achieve its vision, mission and objectives.

We believe

Our values:

Our values

Our values stem from our vision and beliefs and centre around the following inter-related themes:

Participation, equity and justice: that every person has a right to an active and influential hand in shaping their own lives. Also, every individual has the ability to analyse, plan and monitor his own life and make informed decisions about how to better it. We believe that people can and should be ‘makers and shapers’ of their own lives, not just ‘users and choosers’ of ways of life dictated by others.

Inclusiveness: that regardless of gender, age, sexuality, caste, ability, ethnicity, religion or class; all have a right to a place, a voice and a part to play in the world and deserve to be treated with mutual respect.

Accountability and transparency: that we are accountable for all we do, to all we work with; and are open in our actions and communications.

Southern Voices works in three ways in order to achieve its vision, mission and objectives.

Our goals

Our goals

Two closely related statements summarise what we would like our core stakeholders to say about working with Southern Voices.

Excluded groups we work with say:

“We have a more active and influential say in the decisions which affect our lives”

Southern Voices will not speak for the voiceless, that will not lead to empowerment. What we will do is make them capable, of stating their needs and opinions, confidently, by creating an enabling environment for their voices to be heard and heeded. We would want every marginalised group that we have worked with, to feel more in control of their circumstances after having worked with us.

Other partners we work with say:

“Southern Voices is making innovative and significant contributions to sustainable and equitable development through its participatory approaches”

This statement reflects the view of other international stakeholders we work with – donors, governments, academic institutions, civil society organisations and multi-lateral institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank.

Southern Voices’ programming, technical support, and policy work from 2008 to 2010 will focus on actions which maximise the contribution of participatory approaches to sustainable and equitable development. Southern Voices must also be seen to be making a measurable contribution. So our actions will be designed so that we can articulate the contribution we make to equitable and sustainable development to all those that we work with.

Our roadmap

To achieve our aims, four strategic directions inspire us and give us guidance. They are based on the needs identified by our stakeholders and recent trends in international development.

  • Build the technical and organisational capacity of communities, civil society and other stakeholders to enable excluded people to have an active and influential say in their own equitable and sustainable development

  • Develop equitable partnerships: strengthen mechanisms and trust for effective and efficient communication and collaboration between communities, civil society, governments and other stakeholders

  • Advocate for the right to participate: and for appropriate participatory laws, procedures and financial flows for equitable and sustainable development to occur

  • Scale up the use of participatory approaches for equitable and sustainable development

For each of these strategic directions, we have developed specific, measurable objectives from which we, and our stakeholders, can measure our progress towards achieving our aims and our vision. These objectives are ambitious, but we feel that these reflect the urgency and scale of the challenges faced in sustainable development.

In order to achieve these objectives and ensure that they are realistic, Southern Voices will also implement actions to ensure its own organisational, programmatic and financial sustainability.

Practically, Southern Voices works in three ways in order to achieve its vision, mission and objectives.

Our roadmap

Our Board of Trustees

Tom Thomas, Chair, Board of Trustees
Mony Kochupillai

Gnanapragsam Devadass

Tomy Mathew

Our Trustees
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