Making Voices Heard and Count is a collaborative project of the Leave No One Behind partnership, bringing together international and national civil society organisations (CSOs), civic networks and platforms (see Partners). The partnership is hosted by the International Civil Society Centre.
Our joint ambition is to bring about a scalable solution for filling data gaps on marginalised groups in the monitoring and review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thereby making a key contribution towards fulfilling the Agenda 2030’s universal pledge to leave no one behind. The project fosters an inclusive model of SDG monitoring, supporting the collection, analysis and dissemination of community-driven data and giving a stage to data produced by the local target groups themselves – helping to make their voices heard and count.
The Leave No One Behind partnership was launched in late 2017 by 12 international civil society organisations (ICSOs). In 2018, the partnership set up national coalitions in five pilot countries: Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nepal, and Vietnam (see Countries). The national coalitions brought together national CSOs, civic networks and platforms, as well as community-based and community-led organisations. Each country coalition delivered a national pilot research with a focus on various marginalised communities with the overall goal of closing knowledge gaps, analysing local drivers of vulnerability, and deriving concrete recommendations for public policy-making and planning. In total, more than 2.000 community representatives from over 20 different counties and neighbourhoods were involved.
The pilot demonstrated that official monitoring measures fail to fully capture the SDG progress of marginalised groups, with numbers highly deviating from national averages. The pilot research further demonstrated that, when equipped with adequate tools, members of marginalised communities play a meaningful role to inform local planning and to hold authorities accountable.
Following the successful pilot projects, the five LNOB country coalitions developed and undertook new and expanded data projects in 2020-2021. Building on this momentum, the partnership expanded in late 2021 by launching two new country coalitions in Malawi and Denmark.
Denmark is the first high-income country to join the partnership, which marks an important milestone since the SDGs are often perceived as primarily being relevant for low- and middle-income countries. However, specific communities in high-income countries, such as older people, refugees and people with disabilities, can also be left behind due to underreporting. The discrimination, stigma and negligence these communities often experience—regardless of which country they live in—results in inadequate public policies and services that do not account for their specific needs.