Development thinking has moved a long way from the theory that broad economic development is good for all – few today would argue that the “trickle down” theory works in practice. Pro-active approaches addressing poverty may focus on one or more aspects of the phenomenon, depending on the context and the theory of change of the intervening agency. For example:
- Economic poverty may be addressed by facilitating access to affordable credit (micro-credit, group banking, etc); promoting income generation-generating opportunities (one specific approach being Making Markets work for the Poor, M4P); supporting dignified employment (including equal pay for equal work); and the increasingly popular measure of cash transfers.
- Human capacities may be built through promoting access to education for all – often entailing targeted scholarship for girls or other disadvantaged children; vocational skills training, and a wide variety of other long or short term training schemes, possibly targeted to particularly disadvantaged groups.
- Political aspects of poverty – the lack of agency or voice of people living in poverty – may be addressed through informing disadvantaged people of their rights and providing access to legal support; facilitating collective action; and building public speaking and negotiation capacities.
- Socio-cultural aspects of poverty can require particularly carefully tailored interventions, but examples include facilitating the full and equal representation of different groups of people in community decision-making processes; working with both men and women to combat gender-based violence and mutilation; and supporting discriminated groups and individuals to claim their human rights.
- Protective capacities concern the ability of people to withstand domestic and external shocks such as a severe illness or accident of a family member, or the loss of possessions following a flood or war. Insecurity and vulnerability are crucial aspects of poverty and may be particularly relevant in humanitarian crises in which identifying the most vulnerable can be a matter of life or death.
All these aspects may be addressed at different levels, from social protection measures at policy and legislative level to micro-interventions.
From Noise to Signal: The Successful Turnaround of Poverty Measurement in Colombia
Joao Pedro Azevedo, May 2013, The Economic Premise Notes - World Bank
In the mid-2000s, poverty measurement in Colombia was at a standstill. A dated poverty measurement methodology was clashing with improvements in the national household survey system. As a result, official poverty rates showed volatile trends, and a weak communication strategy produced an unconvincing storyline, which further resulted in the rapid deterioration of indicator credibility. This happened during a period of high and sustained growth that also included a number of poverty reduction interventions, such as the flagship program Familias en Accion and the Unidos strategy. This note summarizes the main lessons learned from government efforts, supported by national and international experts, including the World Bank, to restore credibility to the official methodology for poverty measurement in Colombia. Read the full article »
Kate Bird and Stefanie Busse, November 2006
This discussion paper on pro-poor policy provides an overview of the debates around pro-poor policy and raises some important issues about the nature of pro-poor policy. It identifies what types of policies might be considered pro-poor and highlights some of the challenges in policy formation and implementation.
Download (PDF, 498 KB): Pro-Poor Policy - An Overview - Kate Bird and Stefanie Busse