Equal Opportunities

Economic and social development which leaves no one behind.

We believe that no one is left behind when there is:

  • Equal access to livelihoods opportunities and employment
  • Equal access to basic services including health, education, water and sanitation
  • Equal opportunity for people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and other neglected or vulnerable groups
  • Equal opportunity for women and girls

Our Approach

Discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender, cultural belief, disability, lifestyle, education or any other divisive categorization is a major impediment to the development of free, fair and prosperous societies. Equal opportunities demand that no one is left behind due to some perceived inability to participate in a growing economy. Maxwell Stamp has demonstrated the analytical ability to identify disadvantaged groups, to ensure that credible survey instruments are used to identify their characteristics and needs, and that programme design and implementation ensures these needs are met.

Equal access to livelihoods opportunities and employment

Our work on industrial strategies in the Gulf States has ensured that equal opportunities are provided for growing national populations, and that affirmative action is used where appropriate to develop the indigenous skills base.

In poorer countries pathways out of poverty may proceed at different speeds for different groups within society, and may have different starting points, sometimes requiring affirmative action to ensure that development is both inclusive and sustainable. Our work has confirmed that the rate of economic participation for people with disabilities is lower, and we have ensured that they are represented and supported in our poverty alleviation programmes in Bangladesh and Laos.

Equal access to basic services including health, education, water and sanitation

Equal access to basic services requires a combination of approaches which maximize the effectiveness of both public and private investment. Our work in these sectors is described on other pages, and explores a combination of approaches including innovative financing, economic and sectoral planning, capacity building and institutional development.

Equal opportunities for people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and other neglected or vulnerable groups

The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 underpin worldwide development efforts until 2030. The SDGs place more emphasis on equal opportunities throughout, and goals will not be met unless achieved by all strata of society.

Marginalization of communities is amplified when they do not have equal opportunities for accessing justice. Maxwell Stamp managed the Community Legal Services project in Bangladesh for five years. By early 2016 this project had reached 13 million people in more than 1200 unions and wards. Those helped included ethnic and religious minorities, and women and girls. Discrimination on grounds of religion, sex, race, caste, place of birth is prohibited by the Constitution of Bangladesh but the Constitution is silent on discrimination on other grounds such as disability, sexuality, or occupation. Project advocacy was effective, and the Bangladesh Law Commission drafted an Anti-Discrimination Law.

Equal opportunities for Women and Girls

We have a solid track record of successful implementation of international cooperation projects in the field of gender and women’s empowerment specifically targeting poor households in developing countries. We provide advisory services aimed at improving the livelihoods, incomes and food security of extremely poor and vulnerable women through sustainable interventions.

We have strong experience of gender-based work, having implemented a number of large donor-funded project incorporating cross-cutting issues of gender. We have developed effective community based social change techniques which have been used to delay child marriage in Ethiopia.

Some significant achievements

  • The Chars Livelihoods Project in Bangladesh is an award winning project regularly cited by UK and Bangladeshi government ministers and parliamentarians which has increased access to a sanitary latrine from 6% to nearly 90%, and access to an improved water source from 5% to over 40%.
  • The End Child Marriage project in Ethiopia has caused over 1,200 child marriages to be cancelled in a single year in the Amhara Region, with leaders of all religious faiths united in condemning child marriage.
  • The Social Protection and Sustainable Livelihoods Project in Laos ensured 25% of the initial 600 beneficiary households had at least one person with disabilities, and 63% of households were from ethnic minorities.