Development Cooperation Handbook/Interviews/Amitabh Behar
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National Campaign Conveyor of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan
India, New Delhi, November 2010
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan is a national campaign to hold the government accountable to its promise to end Poverty, Social Exclusion & Discrimination.
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan emerged from the consensus among human rights activists and social action groups who were part of the World Social Forum 2004 (Mumbai) on the need for a forceful, focused and concerted effort to make a difference to the fact that one-fourth of the world's poor live in India, and continue to experience intense deprivation from opportunities to learn, live and work in dignity.
Can common people influence policies? Common people can influence their governments and government policies, however it needs strategic advocacies, involvements of huge number of people and hard work in terms of mobilizing people. But i would be uncomfortable drawing a linkage between people's local process and global development agenda. This does not happen and this is why you see a lager civil society coming up. At the local level citizens have felt disempowered and they feel that they don't have a say in their own government structure. Civil society then becomes a vehicle for peoples voices and protest and is building alliances which goes beyond local boundaries to create a much stronger network. We need today a strong partnership between the Local and the Global civil society.
Do you think that you as an individual can make a difference to the poorest in the world? Every individual can make a difference to the poorest in the world; it is about having the will to make a difference, having the commitment and also a strategy to make a difference.
Why is it important to keep the Government accountable? "Governments always make promises, but we must ensure that these promises are maintained. We must keep questioning the work done in a constructive way."