Theme for 2019
Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty

On this page you will find:

  • Testimonies: messages from people living in extreme poverty,...
  • Presentation: the meaning of the Day, its spirit,...
  • Highlights: activities, messages, significant gestures,...
  • Contact us: for any question related to October 17.
  • Toolbox: poster, concept note, documents of reference, videos,...

Select a country to see what took place the previous years

New Orleans - Tuesday 16 October 2018 - March at the 7th Ward, New Orleans, October 16, 2018

Together let’s build a world of respect for everyone’s human rights and dignity!

To celebrate October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, our team in New Orleans, Louisiana, held a march in the city's 7th ward where ATD Fourth World has been present for many years, followed by a block party together with the community members.

Enjoy these beautiful photos!

New Orleans
United States

Geneva - Wednesday 17 October 2018 - October 17 Interviews at the United Nations in Geneva

This year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty commemoration took the form of a series of interviews conducted in a public space at the UN in Geneva. In the style of a TV talk show, an interviewer addressed questions to three different groups of guests.

Extreme Poverty as a Human Right Violation

Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, addressed the first theme in a videotaped statement: “The greatest problem with many approaches to addressing extreme poverty is that people think that it is the fault of the people themselves – that they are lazy, don’t want to work. If we insist that there is a right to social protection, then it is clear that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that people can improve their situation.”

Natacha Foucard, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, asserted that the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights was an important step forward because the Guidelines provide a practical tool for policy-makers.

Janet Nelson, as ATD Fourth World’s Vice-President, agreed, emphasizing that the Guiding Principles help change the way people living in extreme poverty view themselves. They affirm that extreme poverty can be overcome only by addressing the human rights violations that are its cause and consequence. In addition, the Guiding Principles stress how important it is for people in poverty to participate in developing strategies that correspond to the reality of their lives.

Seeing extreme poverty as the result of human rights violations is a revolutionary idea, Ms. Nelson explained, and so it will take time for policies and behaviours to change accordingly. However, impacts of this view can be seen in new strategies from NGOs who used to approach poverty from a charity perspective. In addition, many anti-poverty NGOs now realize that they are not reaching people living in extreme poverty. And countries such as France and Haiti are using the Guiding Principles as references for policy development.

When asked about the leading role that France played in the adoption of the Guiding Principles, the French Ambassador to the UN, His Excellency François Rivasseau, stressed France’s ongoing commitment to human rights. Insisting that “France is committed to addressing poverty”, he explained that President Macron’s new anti-poverty strategy focuses on programs for children and young people, since these are formative years that will affect their opportunities for the rest of their lives.

Effective Projects in the Struggle against Extreme Poverty

A new set of people gathered around the table to be interviewed on effective projects. Philip Alston’s statement affirmed: “We must accept that even economic growth will not improve the situation of people living in extreme poverty.” Junko Tadaki, from OHCHR, emphasized that a charity approach does not address the structural causes of poverty. “One of the measures that many countries have adopted is cash-transfer programs… in which they try to identify the most vulnerable households. What we see as a problem is that often these programs can result in the exclusion of some households… and so we argue for a universal approach based on the right to social protection.”

The moderator then turned to Cathy Low, a member of the ATD Volunteer Corps, who described ATD’s Madagascar computer training project. Ms Low explained that it was aimed at young people, some with very little schooling. The project was a public-private partnership, with internet companies contributing to the training and offering internships to the students.

Bertrand Foucher, President of Émerjean, the company formed as part of “Territory with Zero Long-Term Unemployment” in France, discussed the project’s goal of eliminating long-term unemployment. Located in Villeurbanne, a city with a 30% unemployment rate, Émerjean hires everyone who wants to work. Welfare funds are redirected to help finance jobs serving needs that the community itself identifies. Project participant Halima Zaghar explained that, despite her university degree, she could not find a job because as a practicing Muslim, she wanted to wear a headscarf. “The project has changed my feelings towards French society,” she said. “I feel surrounded by well-intentioned people.”

Poverty in Geneva

Mrs Nadine Mudry, from Geneva’s Office for Social Reintegration, explained that “Poverty is not very visible in Geneva…. [However,] more than 13% of the Geneva population benefits from social welfare allocations….” Philip Alston’s statement concurred: “The majority of people aren’t aware of the fact that poverty exists in their country. […] But in fact, in every country, there are people who are completely excluded.”

Jean-Claude Etienne, Co-president of Coalition 17 October, added that “…[S]ince I am also on welfare, I’ve seen that eventually you lose confidence in yourself.” It is difficult to look for a job, he explained, when the potential employer finds out that you are unemployed or have received disability benefits. “Those of us with low incomes don’t fit well into our societies, which are based on production and consumption…. We can’t afford to go to the movies or out to a restaurant, and so find ourselves isolated even from people who were formerly friends.”

Mrs Mudry stated that Geneva has developed a municipal action plan to address poverty. Asked whether people in poverty themselves have participated in developing the plan’s strategies, she said: “Not yet, but that will be the next step… We will present our plan to the people we serve, and see if it corresponds to their needs.”

The session ended with questions and answers from the participants, followed by a reception hosted by the Missions of Belgium and France.

In a significant recognition of the connection between extreme poverty and human rights violations, OHCHR listed the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty commemoration as one of the events celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Geneva
Switzerland

Brussels - Wednesday 17 October 2018 - The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) marks the World Day

This article describes how the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) marked the World Day on October 17 in various countries in Europe including Scotland, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.

The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroot groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990.
Brussels
Belgium

London - Wednesday 17 October 2018 - Global Call to action Against Poverty Campaign (GCAP) for October 17

This newspaper article ('Independent', 17/10/2018) provides information on the Global Call to action Against Poverty (GCAP) campaign to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty around the world.

You can read the article here.

The GCAP is a worldwide alliance of over 100 national coalitions comprising charities, social movements, faith groups, trade unions, community groups, youth organisations and individuals that challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty and inequality.

London
United Kingdom

Dublin - Saturday 17 November 2018 - Candlelit Vigil and Symbolic Walk, Ireland

Candlelit Vigil and Symbolic Walk from the Famine Statues to the Human Rights and Poverty Stone

Custom House Quay - Dublin 1

Saturday 17 November 2018 - from 5pm to 5.45pm

In past years, All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland invited the general public and leaders of churches and spiritual communities to gather at the Famine Statues and the Human Rights and Poverty Stone for a candlelit vigil. Usually the annual event was planned on the eve of the UN End Poverty Day (17 October each year).

This year, ATD Ireland plans the event on another very significant day.

On Saturday 17 November 2018, Ireland and all other EU Member States will mark the first anniversary of the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar calls among other things, for the protection of the right to Housing, Health Services, Education and a Minimum Income.

This very day is also special in 2018 as it is the eve of the 2nd Catholic World Day of the Poor initiated by Pope Francis in 2017. While ATD is not a faith-based organization, we value the potential role of churches and spiritual movements in the challenge to achieve the 17 Goals and the Leave No One Behind promise of the 2030 Agenda.

So on this event of 17 November, we aim to remind the Irish Government  that  it made a "Social Rights Promise" at the EU Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017.

We will also call on members of all churches and people of faith, christian or non christian, to join the global movement to End Poverty by 2030.

We invite you and citizens from Dublin to attend our symbolic candlelit walk from the Famine Statues to the Human Rights and Poverty Stone on Custom House Quay.

Church and Spiritual Movement Leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland Diarmuid Martin, will participate in the event.

During the 40-meters long symbolic walk, we will stop three times and read some short extracts of "Voices for Dignity" a book launched one month ago on the 2018 UN End Poverty Day.

A pdf version of the book is available here: http://17october.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Voices4Dignity-WebVersionFinal.pdf. Free hard copies will be available on the day.

When? Saturday, 17th November 2018 - Start 5pm - End 5.45pm

Where? Start at the Famine Statues on Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Who? The walk is prepared by All Together in Dignity Ireland (www.atdireland.ie) and other members of the Irish Committee for the UN End Poverty Day (www.17october.ie)  

  • About the Pillar of Social Rights and the platform "Stand Up For The Social Pillar":

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/deeper-and-fairer-economic-and-monetary-union/european-pillar-social-rights_en

https://europeanmovement.eu/news/press-release-stand-up-for-the-social-pillar/

http://www.cecop.coop/Stand-Up-for-the-Social-Pillar-Strong-presence-and-interest-for-the-first  

  • About the World Day of the Poor:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/poveri.index.html and https://www.romereports.com/en/2018/06/14/pope-francis-presents-new-and-improved-world-day-of-the-poor/

We hope you will be able to join us.

Nota Bene: If you would like to play a role in the walk (e.g. share a message on the EU Pillar of Social Rights, read a short extract of "Voices for Dignity" or invite people to pray or meditate whatever is your faith or church ) please let us know!

Dublin
Ireland