Defining Marginalization: An Assessment Tool

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Defining Marginalization: An Assessment ToolA product of the partnership between four development professionals at the ElliottSchool of International Affairs & the World Fair Trade Organization-AsiaDevelopment Professionals & Authors:Niyara AlakhunovaOumar DialloIsabel Martin del CampoWhitney Tallarico-Released May 2015-

1Table of ContentsI. Executive Summary2II. Acknowledgements3III. Acronym List4VI. Introduction4V. Background5VI. Research Design & Methodology6VII. Literature reviewA. Definitions and IndexesB. Case StudiesC. Defining Marginalization88910VIII. Assessment Tool Framework10IX. FieldworkA. BangladeshB. USAC. Feedback & Edits11111213X. Lessons Learned13XI. Conclusion15References16Appendix191

2I. Executive SummaryThis paper relays the process and products of the partnership of WFTO-Asia and ateam of four development professionals from the Elliott School of International Affairs atthe George Washington University. The partnership was formed in order to create aboth a definition of and an assessment tool to monitor marginalization. After extensiveresearch of international development groups, case studies, and marginalizationindexes and definitions, the team was able to reach a working definition ofmarginalization: “Marginalization is both a condition and a process that preventsindividuals and groups from full participation in social, economic, and political lifeenjoyed by the wider society.” With that definition and the research in mind, the teamhashed out a framework. The assessment tool was built to include the categories offood security, social security, education, economic opportunity, language, protectionfrom violence, health & sanitation, infrastructure, and private property. The research,definition, and framework presented to producer groups and trade organizations inDhaka, Bangladesh. They were also evaluated through a non-profit working with excons in Washington, DC. Feedback from the presentations and subsequent interviewsserved to edit and condense the indicators into the five, broader, categories. The finalassessment is conducted based on advocacy, availability of resources, health,economic opportunity, and education. Following a brief pilot, both the definition andassessment tool have were handed over to the WFTO-Asia for immediateimplementation. They will be introduced to the whole of the WFTO at their biennialconference in May 2015.2

3II. AcknowledgementsThis research project was conducted by a four-person team of graduate students ofGeorge Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, in conjunctionwith WFTO Asia. The GWU Team completed this project as part of the InternationalDevelopment Studies’ capstone program, in which student groups undertake a shortterm consultancy with an organization to complete a jointly designed project.Our team is extremely grateful for the support of the many individuals at WFTO – Asiawho made this research possible. We would like to first thank Christine Gent, director ofWFTO – Asia, for her willingness to collaborate with us, and her guidance throughoutthe project. Her feedback and coordination with NGOs in Dhaka, Bangladesh wasessential to the successful completion of this assignment.In addition, the “field” component of this research would not have been possible withoutthe support of CORR – The Jute Works. While conducting research in Bangladesh,Bertha Gity Baroi and Milton Sunrajit Ratna invested a great deal of time and energy inhelping us accomplish our research objectives, for which we are very thankful. We alsogreatly appreciate their hospitality while staying in Dhaka as they provided us with foodand shelter.Finally, we wish to thank the wide range actors, including the groups who agreed to beinterviewed as part of our field research. Our team cannot overemphasize the value ofthese interviewees’ insights, observations, opinions, and candor. The knowledge theyshared with us is an integral part of the data our team used to develop the findings andrecommendations outlined in this paper.3

4III. Acronym ListDCCKDC Central KitchenDFIDThe Department for International DevelopmentGWUGeorge Washington UniversityIRBInstitutional review boardNGONon-governmental organizationOHCHROffice of the High Commissioner for Human RightsWFTOWorld Fair Trade OrganizationUSAIDUnited States Agency for International DevelopmentVI. Introduction“WFTO’s mission is to enable producers to improve their livelihoods and communitiesthrough Fair Trade. WFTO is the global network and advocate for Fair Trade, ensuringproducer voices are heard. The interest of producers, especially small farmers andartisans, is the main focus in all the policies, governance, structures and decisionmaking within the WFTO.” 1In December of 2014, WFTO-Asia Director Christine Gent reached out to fourdevelopment professionals at the Elliott School of International Affairs. She hoped toproduce a working definition of marginalization for the WFTO. As a part of the WFTOGuarantee System, she wanted an assessment tool that would assist memberorganizations in better monitoring and evaluating the conditions of the producer groupsthey work with. Gent had realized earlier in 2014 that, while the WFTO claimed toknow, work with, and support marginalized people; they did not have a definition inorder to base that off of. She also saw the incongruous and immeasurable methods thatwere being used for member organizations to report on each of their producer groups’status of marginalization. This is why she decided to enlist help from ssion4

5professionals in training. The tool would be first tested and implemented by WFTO-Asia,but Gent’s plan was to introduce the tool to the whole of WFTO at their Biennial Meetingin May 2015.This meant not only that the team needed to produce a broad andinclusive definition of marginalization, but also a tool that could identify and measureuniversal indicators of marginalization.This paper will discuss the research and development process and products deliveredby the team to WFTO-Asia. It will discuss background information about where theirdefinition and assessment tool will fit, the research undergone and the fieldwork andfeedback, lessons learned, and the conclusion.V. BackgroundThe World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is committed to achieving trade structuresthat work to help the poor. The Guarantee System of internal quality management toolsis designed to facilitate the improvement of people’s livelihoods and communities, inaccordance with the Organization's mission. This system is built on a Fair TradeStandard that sets the criteria applicable to certify Organizations as engaging in FairTrade management and operation practices. Many of the Standard’s criteria have beenestablished as mandatory requirements to join WFTO. They are based primarily on theTen Fair Trade Principles, the first of which states that opportunities must be created forEconomically Disadvantaged Producers. As this project is concerned with definingthose who will benefit the most from these fair trade practices, Principle One is the mostrelevant to our work.The main purpose of the research was to compose a definition of those WFTO seeks tohelp. As a first step in evaluating their compliance with the Fair Trade Standard,members must conduct a Self Assessment. They must make sure that povertyreduction and support to marginalized small producers through trade are in their aimsand primary activities. Since they must demonstrate positive impact on marginalizedgroups, it is especially relevant to provide them with an interpretation of what this means5

6and how it could look. This, coupled with an identification tool, will facilitate thedetermination of whether or not they are fulfilling this requirement.The WFTO Guarantee System rests on 3 pillars: a self-assessment report, administeredevery 2 years; a monitoring audit, every 4 years; and a peer visit, every 4 years. TheMarginalization Assessment tool is designed to be used during the 1st phase, as part ofthe self-assessment report. Though WFTO has a set of guidelines aimed at completingthis preliminary component of its internal review, member organizations have no way toaccurately quantify and monitor the positive impact they make on their groups. Our toolwill not only allow member organizations to monitor the indicators of marginalizationexperienced, but also enable them to measure their "gains" over time. It is meant tohelp the trade organizations report whether or not their groups are marginalized in amore standardized way. But, most importantly, it will allow trade organizations tomonitor the change experienced by their producer groups over time.VI. Research Design & MethodologyWhen our team was first given the task to define marginalization and create anassessment tool for WFTO-Asia, we created a timeline with specific deliverables inorder to keep WFTO-Asia Director Gent in the loop. The deliverables agreed uponwere a literature review of our research, definition of marginalization, framework for theassessment tool, a powerpoint presentation introducing the tool, a user guide for thetool, and the tool itself. Below is the timeline we set out for ourselves to follow:Timeline:Dec.- Jan. 18th Research WFTO’s current identification strategies/lessons learnedLook into what defined marginalized groups for other organizationsReach out to NGOs and groups that work with the marginalizedJan. 25thDeliver a 4-page summary of the researchJan. 30thSubmit a rough framework of identification parameters for feedbackFeb 1st-15thTool design6

7Feb. 15thReview feedback and draft the tool with parameter integrationCheck to see if we need to have a survey checked by the IRBFebruary 1stFinalize the tool and send it to WFTO for their feedbackMarch 1stCoordinate final research travel plans with WFTOMarch 6-14thField research and tool feedback, collectionMarch 20thAssess strengths and weaknesses of tool; make adjustments April 1stPresent findings to the WFTO and prepare Capstone PresentationApril 30thDeliver finalized tool, guide, and powerpoint to WFTO-Asia.Our preliminary research was conducted early on in the project and focused on preexisting instances, definitions, and measurements of marginalization. However, weunderstood that it was vital to our tool to get feedback from not only our client, Gent, butalso various professors, trade organizations, and producer groups themselves. For thatreason, our team traveled to Bangladesh and conducted focus groups with producersfrom local organizations.For the majority of the ten groups’ interviews, the teamfollowed a three-step process of asking group members to (1) define marginalization,(2) rank the nine categories agreed upon within our original framework and explain saidrankings (to be introduced, shortly), and (3) to comment on what they think is missingfrom the framework of the assessment tool.For the final two producer groups inBangladesh and the director of monitoring and evaluation at the DC Central Kitchen inWashington, DC, we were able to go through the actual assessment tool questions,getting feedback and making sure that the tool was user-friendly.The team alsopresented the firs phase of the work to a number of trade organization leaders at aboard meeting, which provided understanding of what it would take in order to make thetool easy and effective to use.Overall, the team was constantly evaluating and tweaking the products. We agreed thatthe process of creating the tool needed to be just as inclusive as the tool itself. With thatin mind, the goal of the work was not to let preconceived notions interfere with creatingthe most effective tool possible. For this reason, each phase of shaping the definitionand tool involved internal and external feedback loops. Every detail was scrutinized,7

8down to the final tool, yes, but even back from the very beginning, during thebackground research and writing of the literature review.VII. Literature reviewAs a preliminary step to producing an assessment tool that could be used alongside theWFTO Guarantee System, the team conducted a literature review to situate the currentperception of marginalization within the field of international development. To distill themost important aspects of this research, the definitions, measurement instruments, andindexes of several prominent international organizations were examined. Moreover, theimpact of this particular form of oppression was analyzed and assessed through variouscase studies. Through this process, our team developed a framework to formulate anew, precise and inclusive definition of marginalization.A. Definitions and IndexesThe first stage of this review consisted of a landscape analysis of well-establisheddefinitions and measurements of marginalization. The team examined definitions fromUSAID, OHCHR, the World Bank Group and DFID. The team also reviewedmeasurement instruments such as the Human Development Index (HDI), the GenderInequality Index (GII), the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), the GlobalCompetitive Index, and the Canadian Marginalization Index.Upon synthesizing the findings of this research, the team noted that marginalization isoften understood as both a current condition, and a dynamic process. As a condition, itexcludes individuals or groups from participating fully in society. As a multidimensionaland dynamic process, it channels the social relations and organizational barriers thatblock the attainment of livelihoods, human development and equal citizenship.Essentially, Marginalization describes both a process and a condition that preventsindividuals or groups from full participation in social, economic and political life. Itderives from exclusionary relationships based on power.8

9B. Case StudiesThe second stage of our review consisted of surveying a series of case studies ofmarginalized groups in the areas of the world in which the WFTO is most active. Themain purpose of this research was to decipher similarities and patterns among thesevarious manifestations of oppression.In sub Saharan Africa, we noted several cases of violations of WFTO Principle #1. Byissuing large subsidies to their farmers, both U.S. and EU governments have createdcritical imbalances in international trade. Their policies have had a disastrous impact ontwo of Africa’s chief exports: cotton and sugar. In Mali, where more than 3 million people(a third of its population) depend on income from cotton, an ever-increasing number ofeconomically marginalized farmers are pushed into abject poverty and cut off frommedicine.A different type of marginalization that highlights the unintended consequences of poorlocal macroeconomic decisions exists in India. While India implemented a series ofstructural changes in the 1990s focused on tax reforms and foreign trade andinvestment, the government failed to include any specific package for its agriculturalsector. As a result of this exclusion, the overwhelming majority of Indian farmers havesince been suffering from poverty and barriers to health and educational resources. Thishas contributed to a high suicide rates.Guatemala provided an example of marginalization fueled by the “push and pull” factorsof an increasingly globalized economy-particularly the demand for sugar. Guatemala isthe second largest exporter of sugar in Latin America with 70% of its local productiongeared towards export. The government of Guatemala has consequently allowedsugarcane export companies to aggressively rent or buy massive amounts of land,making the cultivation of other crops increasingly difficult. The government goes so faras to allocate land to large-scale enterprises, while smaller farmers without clear titlesare often pushed off their properties.9

10C. Defining MarginalizationThis literature review represents a very important step towards assessing theparameters that delineate the meaning of marginalization within the context of FairTrade. After reviewing both definitions/indexes provided by some of the major players inthe development field, and analyzing the experience of various groups living in amarginalized state across the world, the team composed the following definition of thisconcept:“Marginalization is both a condition and a process that preventsindividuals and groups from full participation in social, economic, and politicallife enjoyed by the wider society.”VIII. Assessment Tool FrameworkHaving done preliminary research, the team identified nine areas in which a person orgroup may be excluded in order to later evaluate their validity in the field. These wereeducation, private property, economic opportunity, social safety nets, infrastructure,language, protection from violence, food security, health and sanitation. In all areas wewere looking to gage whether an individual/a group has access to services/benefits andagency/ownership to mitigate the risks. Most of the well-being indexes reviewed weresimilar in basic categories of marginalization, such as lack of access to basicnecessities, limited economic opportunities, illiteracy, and lack of social safety netprotection. This considerably helped in identifying major categories and statementswithin them to assess the level of marginalization, as well as to further integrate them inthe tool. While we had identified these areas based on preliminary research, we enteredfieldwork with open minds, in an effort to understand how people perceivemarginalization, if they identify themselves as marginalized, and how they are affectedby their own marginalization.10

11IX. FieldworkA. BangladeshThe team spent the second week of March 2015 in Bangladesh. Members of CORRThe Jute Works, a trade organization that is a member of WFTO-Asia and works with inover 23 areas of production, provided all the resources for the research. 2 Milton, a highranking officer of the Jute Works was kind enough to be translator and arrangemeetings between the team and members of ten producer groups, as a sample of thosethe trade organization works with. These groups were very diverse, from rural groups trying to provide for their families and middle class housewives looking to beable to have a say in their family and buy cosmetics to refugee groups.As mentioned in the research and methodology section, step one of conducting focusgroups involved asking the group what came to their minds when they thought of theword marginalized. We heard many responses. There was a general consensus amongall of the groups that marginalization involved the lack of opportunities. There were afew other things that came up that surprised us, from the issue of cultural traditions suchas dowries to the notion that some people suffered from idleness. These answers gaveus a lot to think about. We realized the limitations our tool would have, as it would bedifficult to monitor things such as seasonal labor options, idleness, and culturalpractices specific to certain countries, regions, etc. We took heart, though, that theirgeneral view of marginalization aligned with the definition of marginalization that we hadcome up with.The second step in our focus groups involved laying down nine pieces of paper with thenine categories of indicators of marginalization: education, language, economicopportunities, private property, infrastructure, protection from violence, food security,social security, and health & sanitation. After introducing each category, we walkedaway and gave the producer group members some time to discuss and rank eachcategory from least to most importance. The team was excited to find that every group2

12ranked education and economic opportunities as the top two most important things.Their reasoning was that people needed education and economic opportunities in orderto have food security, health and sanitation, etc. We were able to bring this informationto our tool by adjust

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is committed to achieving trade structures that work to help the poor. he Guarantee System of internal quality management tools T is designed to facilitate the improvement of people’s livelihoods and communities, in accordance with the Organization's mission. This system is built on a Fair Trade

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