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.



Monitoring and evaluating empowerment processes

The process of empowerment cannot be externally controlled and managed; if donors use methods that are technocratic and controlling they can have unintended disempowering effects. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) must be used with care in the context of empowerment. Donors have to strike a balance between the flexibility required in supporting empowerment and social change and their need to demonstrate results. Monitoring and assessing empowerment can encourage donors to recognise that they themselves exercise power and reflect on the impact this has on the empowerment process. Donors should also recognise the limits to their power within larger political structure. Participatory methods for monitoring and evaluation can be efficient, producing data for analysis and action to support empowerment.


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