2019 Democracy and Human Rights Review

Impact of Civil Society Anti-Discrimination Initiatives: A Rapid Review

Rachel Marcus, Dhruva Mathur, Andrew Shepherd

Poor people often belong to discriminated against groups. For a sustainable reduction of poverty, it is necessary to work against discrimination and disrespect of human rights. How effective are anti-discrimination measures undertaken by civil society organizations? This is studied in the review Impact of Civil Society Anti-Discrimination Initiatives. The authors emphasize areas for improvements and where knowledge is weak or lacking.

The report was presented during the seminar Left behind – anti-discrimination in the fight against poverty.

Main findings

  • Attitude, norm and behavior change initiatives are the most common in anti-discrimination work.
  • Work to strengthen discriminated against groups’ capacity to claim their rights becomes more effective when multiple actions are combined.
  • Civil society organizations seldom frame their anti-discrimination work in terms of impact on poverty. Still, they reach results in terms of reducing multi-dimensional poverty.
  • Work is constrained by shrinking civil society space and is met with backlashes. More generic anti-discrimination work could be a strategy to deal with this.
  • There is a weak of lacking knowledge about e.g. long-term effects, the importance of socio-economic and political context as well as effects from more generic work on anti-discrimination.

Rachel Marcus, Senior Researcher Fellow in the ODI Gender Equality and Social Inclusion team

Dhruva Mathur, Researcher at London School of Economics and the Hertie School of Governance

Andrew Shepherd, Principal Research Fellow at ODI and director of the Chronic Poverty Analysis Network

Why this report was initiated:

Important conclusion 1

Important conclusion 2