What is a Poverty Truth Commission?

18 Jan 2022 Lynda Gould    Last updated: 24 Jan 2022

Poverty Truth Network logo

Poverty Truth Commissions help to bring about change and alter the ways people think about poverty.

A significant part of the Community Faiths’ Forum (CFF) agenda relates to addressing poverty and disadvantage. Recently, some CFF member organisations have been involved in conversations about establishing a Poverty Truth Commission in Belfast. Building on these meetings NICVA's Faith Engagement Programme invited two directors from the Poverty Truth Network to contribute to a regular Community Faiths’ Forum meeting and to speak to a wider gathering of Voluntary and Community Sector organisations.

On 13th and 14th January 2022 two online meetings took place, both shared the same format consisting of an input from Martin Johnstone and Andrew Grinnell from the Poverty truth Network, followed by a time for Q&A session. The second meeting was recorded and is now available; it covers Martin and Andrew’s input on what a Poverty Truth Commission is, but not the Q&A session. Information on Poverty Truth Commissions also available from the Poverty Truth Network Poverty Truth Network | Poverty Truth Network

Poverty Truth Commissions: ‘Nothing about us, without us, is for us,’

Poverty Truth Commissions are built on a principle of collective and participatory decision-making to tackle poverty, in which people with lived experience of poverty build relationships with those in positions of influence. Working together, they co-create meaningful and longer-term solutions and change. Any talk about poverty must include people who experience the struggle against it. This is at the heart of the Poverty Truth Network, who believe that better responses to poverty will be made if they include people who have experienced it. There is also a video explaining the process available here Poverty Truth Commissions

People experiencing poverty should undertake the journey towards solutions to poverty, with decision-makers and organisational leaders. By listening to each other, sharing wisdom and building empathy, trusting relationships are formed to have difficult conversations and find the way forward. Poverty Truth Commissions are places where those transformational relationships are formed and nurtured. The Poverty Truth Network supports this work and seeks to respond to any organisation that wishes to engage in the process.

‘Nothing about us, without us, is for us,’ is the starting point for Poverty Truth Commissions. It identifies that lasting social change only happens when those who experience the struggle participate in generating that change. If you are interested in learning more about what is happening in Northern Ireland, please email [email protected]

A recording of the session is available here 

lynda.gould@nicva.org's picture
by Lynda Gould

Project Coordinator (Faith-based engagement)

[email protected]

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