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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 in fragile states and situations of fragility

In fragile states, economic recovery and growth should be a core priority of donors. Fragile states present specific challenges and opportunities for empowerment: failings in state authority, legitimacy and capacity, weak social and human capital and high levels of inequality and exclusion. Donors often overlook non-state and informal institutions that regulate daily life and it is critical to find ways to work with them and link them to the state. Approaches to empowerment used in lowincome countries are also relevant in fragile states. Priority interventions may include humanitarian aid, supporting inclusive peace agreements and political settlements, strengthening social capital and inter-community co-operation and restoring the dignity and identity of war-affected populations.

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