What development policy can learn from collective activism

by Ann Perreras, Policy Coordinator / Smitu Kothari Fellow, IAP

Ann Perreras with Jocelyn Medallo (right), Policy and Advocacy Director at IAP.

In his own local language, I heard a representative of a local community affected by a harmful development project ask a bank official, “This is development for whom?”

This and other questions about how development is decided and funded started with my job at NGO Forum on ADB. The Forum is an Asian–led independent network of civil society organizations championing the rights of local communities adversely affected by the Asian Development Bank’s projects and policies.

As the Policy Officer, I witnessed the struggles of local civil society groups and affected communities in filing complaints to the Asian Development Bank’s complaint mechanism. Also, I saw the serious gaps with how the bank did not follow its own policies to ensure local lives were respected. These false promises have led to massive displacement, loss of livelihood, environmental plunder and human rights violations.

Through these experiences and others, I developed my skills on community engagement, local governance and policy advocacy.

Now, by supporting IAP’s policy work in Washington, DC, I see the opportunity to continue, on a different scale, the advocacy I have always done and help shape community-driven policy that respect peoples’ rights.

Annabel Perreras is a Filipino national who is the Policy Coordinator/ Smitu Kothari Fellow at International Accountability Project (IAP). Ann has five years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including the NGO Forum on ADB and the Leagues of Cities of the Philippines. Ann earned her Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Philippines and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Santo Tomas. Ann is based in Washington, DC.

International Accountability Project works to defend the rights, land and livelihoods of people threatened by destructive development projects.

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