- Published: September 2009
Poverty Reduction and Pro-Poor Growth: The Role of Empowerment
- Published: April 2012
- Region: Global
- 297 Pages
- OECD Publishing
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. The empowerment of poor people secures their rights and drives pro-poor growth. However, empowerment must happen through people's own actions and is enabled by a supportive environment which donors can help strengthen. Empowerment takes time, sustained engagement and the ability to balance short-term results with long term impacts. Aid instruments should be designed to facilitate empowerment and encourage its multi-dimensional effects.
Within their projects and programmes, donors must deal with inequitable power relations and be aware of their own role within such relations. The Policy Guidance Note “Empowerment for pro-poor growth” which opens this collection of ten Good Practice Notes, considers the causal relationship between empowerment and pro-poor growth: how inequity and power imbalances lead to both market failures and political, social and legal inequities that prevent poor people from investing in raising their productivity and production to increase their incomes and increasing their own voice within their own society and community.
The Policy Guidance Note 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. Donors can help establish equitable and accountable economic governance by supporting an economic policy and regulatory and legal environment that promotes poor people's access to economic opportunity and assets' by providing direct support to associations of poor producers, traders and processors and by focussing private sector support on increasing competition and opportunity in markets.
Both grassroots political empowerment and support for governance reforms can help deliver greater political representation of poor people, as well as recognising and facilitating new forms of direct engagement with the state. Collective action is a key driver of pro-poor change and should be facilitated as a long-term outcome.
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. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Part I. Policy Guidance Note: The role of empowerment for poverty reduction and growth
-Empowerment and pro-poor growth
-Domains of empowerment
-Implications for donor practice
Part II. Good Practice Notes
-1. Empowerment of poor rural people through initiatives in agriculture and natural resource management
-2. Women's economic empowerment
-3. Empowerment through local citizenship
-4. Empowerment in fragile states and situations of fragility
-5. Decent work and empowerment for pro-poor growth
-6. Legal empowerment of the poor and its relation to pro-poor growth
-7. Empowerment and equity
-8. Working with social movements
-9. Monitoring and evaluating empowerment processes
-10. Empowerment sustainability and phasing out support to empowerment processes