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.



Empowerment through local citizenship

Poor people live their daily lives at the local level where they engage with the state, public services, markets and the political system. Their empowerment requires participation and accountability in local governance and decision making through effective and inclusive local citizenship. Supporting inclusion requires an understanding of existing power relationships and the practical obstacles to participation faced by poor people. Public sector decentralisation is an important opportunity for empowerment through increased accountability for public expenditure allocations and local delivery of pro-poor policies. Capacity development, for both communities and citizens, must promote leadership and facilitation, communication, advocacy and political skills. Widely available, transparent and substantive information is a critical but easily achievable first step in capacity development. All development aid modalities can support local empowerment and donors should co-ordinate to identify and maximise opportunities for empowerment at the local level.


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