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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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Policy Guidance Note

The role of empowerment for poverty reduction and growth

Inequity and power imbalances, adverse employment conditions and the lack of economic opportunities or control over assets are all manifestations of peoples’ disempowerment and contribute to their poverty. This Policy Guidance Note considers the causal relationship between empowerment and pro-poor growth. It identifies eight domains of empowerment within three spheres: the economic (markets, decent employment and productive assets); the political (political representation and collective action); and the social (human capabilities, critical awareness and inclusion) and describes what donors can do to support and strengthen empowerment in those domains. Suggestions for how donors should work for optimal effect include key messages for development co-operation.

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