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Raising citizens’ voices on the Sustainable Development Goals

“We know more than you think we do”


To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s most marginalised people must be involved in the process.

But they are often excluded implementing, monitoring and delivering the SDGs through publicly-funded services.

In this report, ActionAction highlights the need to dramatically strengthen measures to put the principle of participation into practice by airing the voices of communities being left behind and sharing their solutions, demands and proposals to make their right to democratic participation into a reality.

The report is the result of a research and accountability project carried out by ActionAid and partners in Bangladesh, Denmark, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia from 2017-2018.

They collected insights from marginalised communities about the working practice of SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 8 on youth employment and decent work and SDG 16 on accountability and participation, corruption and non-discrimination.

Participants called for stronger institutional responses to violence against women and greater investment in prevention, such as safer transport and more support for alcohol and drug abuse. They called for a reduction in harmful practices, including corruption and more citizen engagement in policymaking. Respondents asked for upaid care work to be recognised, reduced and redistributed and for more and better jobs for women and young people by providing more targeted and inclusive vocational training, investment in entrepreneurs or cooperatives and enforceming existing quotas and laws.