Update on Pro Poor Scenarios

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IAF competition offer prizes for scenarios that create shared narratives for the future of poor communities

Alexandria, VA – March 11, 2011
The Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, has developed a “Pro-Poor Scenario Toolkit” and is now holding a pro-poor scenario competition, with the best scenarios from around the world receiving cash prizes of up to $5,000. Scenario submissions must be received April 30, 2011.

Scenarios are descriptions of alternative paths into the future that allow comparison of different strategies and policies that could be pursued in the present. Scenarios are an important tool for learning and for decision-making when there is high uncertainty. Pro-poor scenarios are scenarios that explicitly take the perspective of poor and marginalized populations in considering potential future circumstances. These scenarios can be used to identify emerging challenges and opportunities that can be addressed in order to improve the lives of these populations.

In March 2009, the IAF and the Rockefeller Foundation gathered scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore how foresight could be used to enhance and accelerate development opportunities for poor and marginalized populations. One of the meeting’s recommendations was to encourage people from the academic, civil society, and policy communities to develop scenarios that create narratives and shared visions for the future of poor communities. With this goal in mind, IAF designed this “Pro-poor Scenario Toolkit.” This toolkit specifically invites policy-makers, researchers, students, professors, and active citizens to explore the future as stakeholders who can identify actions to be taken today to avoid feared consequences and achieve desired societies.

For the scenario competition, IAF is seeking submissions of scenarios produced from the perspectives of poor populations and that look ahead to the year 2039. Scenarios will be evaluated by a panel of experts in the fields of futures studies and international development. Winning scenarios will be posted on IAF’s website and will be awarded a cash prize. The Pro-poor Scenario Toolkit can be downloaded from IAF’s website at http://www.altfutures.org/pro_poor.

To be eligible for an award, submitted scenarios must:
• Give voice to the perspectives of poor populations and communities. That is, the scenarios must be well developed based on forecasts that would be important to the future of the global poor.
• Present at least three different scenarios for the future.
• Connect compelling and plausible images of the future with present realities to clarify decisions and provide meaningful recommendations for action.
• Include contact information for all co-authors and list all participants.
• Special consideration will be given to scenarios that have engaged or included poor or marginalized populations in their development.

Judges for the scenario competition include: Ilmas Futehally, Executive Director, Strategic Foresight Group; Jerome C. Glenn, Executive Director, Millennium Project; Dr. Rockfeler P. Herisse, Senior Alliance Advisor, USAID; Dr. Sohail Inayatullah, Professor, Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of Futures Studies; Claudia Juech, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation; Arthur Muliro, Deputy Managing Director, Society for International Development; Dr. Claire Nelson, Vice President, IDB Staff Association, Inter-American Development Bank; Sanne Tikjoeb, development consultant; and Jonathan C. Peck, President, Institute for Alternative Futures.

The Institute for Alternative Futures

The Institute for Alternative Futures is a nonprofit research and educational organization that helps communities and organizations more wisely understand and create the futures they prefer. Since its founding in 1977 by Clem Bezold, Alvin Toffler, and James Dator, IAF has been a pioneer in the use of futures methods, such as forecasts, scenarios, and vision, in the fields of health and health care, energy, transportation, education, and business. For more information, please visit www.altfutures.org. Through its Disparity Reducing Advances (DRA) project, IAF has worked to identify and accelerate the social and technological advances with the greatest potential to reduce health disparities in the U.S. For more information of the DRA project, please visit www.altfutures.org/draproject.
The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation fosters innovative solutions to many of the world’s most pressing challenges, affirming its mission, since 1913, to “promote the well-being” of humanity. Today, the Foundation works to ensure that more people can tap into the benefits of globalization while strengthening resilience to its risks. Foundation initiatives include efforts to mobilize an agricultural revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa, bolster economic security for American workers, inform equitable, sustainable transportation policies in the United States, ensure access to affordable and high-quality health systems in developing countries, accelerate the impact investing industry’s evolution, and develop strategies and services that help vulnerable communities cope with the impacts of climate change. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
For more information contact:
Eric Meade, Vice President
Institute for Alternative Futures
100 N. Pitt Street, Suite 307
Alexandria, VA 22314
[email protected]