How can people experiencing poverty get involved in poverty policy in the future

It is essential to involve people with experience of poverty and affected organizations in preventing and combating poverty. BFH is developing a proposal for a suitable participation structure for the Federal Social Insurance Office.



The National Anti-Poverty Platform (NAPA) evaluated previous work and tested forms of participation. These include the research project on models of participation (Chiapparini et al. 2020), the practice guide derived from it and developed in a participatory manner (Müller & Chiapparini 2021) and a national conference on the topic of "Participation in Social Policy", in which people experienced in poverty participated. The interim results show that there is a need to promote more continuity so that the positive effects of participation can be felt. The National Platform against Poverty has therefore commissioned a team from the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and the Fribourg School of Social Work (HES-SO) to develop a proposal for a permanent monitoring structure in a participatory process for the attention of the Federal Council. A permanent monitoring structure brings the following triple benefit: 1) It serves as a representation of interests for people experiencing poverty by giving their interests greater legitimacy and pooling resources and communication. 2) It is an exchange and networking platform for people experiencing poverty, which can offer support to effectively advocate for their concerns. 3) For government agencies, experts and researchers, a broad-based permanent structure is a clear point of contact and facilitates a continuous and constructive dialogue with people experiencing poverty and their representatives.

Course of action

During the project, we will include international best practice examples as well as people experiencing poverty and organizations affected by poverty in order to develop a proposal for a permanent monitoring group in poverty prevention and reduction, which will serve as a basis for the political negotiation process. In a first step, a systematic literature review on permanent monitoring structures and their potential impact in an international context will be conducted. The results will serve as orientation to develop a proposal for the Swiss context in a participatory manner. The joint development of the proposal is organized as follows: In a first step, persons experienced in poverty as well as affected persons' organizations (as central providers of a permanent support structure) will participate in workshops in French and German. The knowledge of experts and representatives from social policy will be gathered in a second step. This complementary knowledge serves as feedback by recording useful information on the concept's connectivity to existing political structures and possible funding opportunities. An advisory group consisting of two representatives of stakeholder organizations, one representative of the research team and the BSV project group ensures that the views of the different stakeholders are sufficiently considered.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 1: No poverty
  • 3: Good health and well-being