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Poverty Reduction and Pro-Poor Growth

The Role of Empowerment

image of Poverty Reduction and Pro-Poor Growth

Empowerment of those living in poverty is both a critical driver and an important measure of poverty reduction. It is the decisions and actions of poor people themselves that will bring about sustainable improvements in their lives and livelihoods. Inequitable power relations exclude poor people from decision-making and prevent them from taking action. Sustainable poverty reduction needs poor people to be both the agents and beneficiaries of economic growth - to directly participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes.  Strengthening poor people’s organizations, providing them with more control over assets and promoting their influence in economic governance will improve the terms on which they engage in markets. This economic empowerment combined with political and social empowerment will make growth much more effective in reducing poverty. This report aims to build donor understanding of empowerment and how best to support it.

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Empowerment and equity

Equity and empowerment underpin poverty reduction. They are also important in improving “enabling environments” for poverty reduction and pro-poor growth because they can increase access to opportunities and enhance democratic processes. Some equity challenges constitute discrimination and structural barriers to empowerment. Donors can support the marginalised, build the capacity of civil society and support decentralised government. Donors must build broad-based alliances, working with non-traditional partners and fostering networks. Explicit attention to equity and empowerment reduces the likelihood of unforeseen negative effects and places principles of fairness and social justice clearly at the heart of the work of development agencies.

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