Pro-Poor Policies


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Pro-Poor Policies

Development thinking has moved a long way from the theory that broad economic development is good for all – few today would argue that the “trickle down” theory works in practice. Pro-active approaches addressing poverty may focus on one or more aspects of the phenomenon, depending on the context and the theory of change of the intervening agency. All these aspects may be addressed at different levels, from social protection measures at policy and legislative level to micro-interventions.


Examples of Pro-Poor Measures
  • Addressing economic poverty: facilitating access to affordable credit (micro-credit, group banking, etc.); promoting income generation-generating opportunities (one specific approach being Making Markets work for the Poor, M4P); supporting dignified employment (including equal pay for equal work); and the increasingly popular measure of cash transfers.
  • Building human capacities: promoting access to education for all – often entailing targeted scholarship for girls or other disadvantaged children; vocational skills training, and a wide variety of other long or short term training schemes, possibly targeted to particularly disadvantaged groups.
  • Addressing political aspects of poverty: informing disadvantaged people of their rights and providing access to legal support; facilitating collective action; and building public speaking and negotiation capacities.
  • Addressing socio-cultural aspects of poverty (this can require particularly carefully tailored interventions): facilitating the full and equal representation of different groups of people in community decision-making processes; working with both men and women to combat gender-based violence and mutilation; and supporting discriminated groups and individuals to claim their human rights.
  • Building protective capacities: these measures concern the ability of people to withstand domestic and external shocks such as a severe illness or accident of a family member, or the loss of possessions following a flood or war. Insecurity and vulnerability are crucial aspects of poverty and may be particularly relevant in humanitarian crises in which identifying the most vulnerable can be a matter of life or death.


Further Information

> Linking Poverty Reduction and​ Climate Change

> The Venture Ca​pitalists of Development? A Leading Economist Suggests a New Role for Development Organizations

> Pro-Poor Patron​s? The Role of “Unusual Suspects” in Poverty Reduction

> From Noise to Signal: The Success​ful Turnaround of Poverty Measurement in Colo​mbia