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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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Legal empowerment of the poor and its relation to pro-poor growth

Legal empowerment of the poor (LEP) encompasses both bottom-up approaches and state-level reforms. Poor people are at the centre of the LEP approach, although donor strategies are most effective when targeting the right-holder and the duty-bearer simultaneously. Donors should address the plurality of legal systems as well as integrating all institutional levels of the sector into their reform and capacity-building processes. Donors should also be aware that the enhancement of rights, awareness, enablement and enforcement must go beyond the justice sector and be integrated into other sectors. Political reality must also be considered and donors should be aware that they are aiming to change power relations. Because state accountability is central, donors should improve trust and confidence in the state as duty-bearer.

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