"Lack of power is a universal and basic characteristic of poverty. Poverty is not solely a lack of income, but rather is characterised by a vicious cycle of powerlessness, stigmatisation, discrimination, exclusion, and material deprivation, which all mutually reinforce each other.
"Empowerment happens when individuals and organised groups are able to imagine their world differently and to realise that vision by changing the relations of power that have kept them in poverty, restricted their voice, and deprived them of their autonomy.”
- Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona (2013)
COMMENT | On Wednesday, I had the privilege of speaking at the Hasanah Forum on the role of CSOs and NGOs in providing community-based and community-led approaches to tackling child rights and child protection to some of the poorest, marginalised children in Malaysia.
I was then asked to comment on the role of government, special interest groups, institutions, and society in addressing the same issues. It was supposed to be two or three paragraphs - I wrote a page. I have a lot to say!
The poorest communities in almost any region tend to be the minority and marginalised communities, who have been rendered invisible or their needs, at best, negated or rendered to just fighting for basic needs.
This is because...