Can the Poor Influence Policy? Participatory Poverty Assessments in the Developing World

Can the Poor Influence Policy? Participatory Poverty Assessments in the Developing World

Can the Poor Influence Policy? Participatory Poverty Assessments in the Developing World

Can the Poor Influence Policy? Participatory Poverty Assessments in the Developing World

Synopsis

The second edition of this book details how to include the poor using the Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) method. This method was developed by the World Bank in partnerships with NGOs, government, and academic institutions and has been implemented in over 60 countries worldwide during the last decade. Participatory Poverty Assessments are highlighting the potentially significant role the poor can play in analyzing poverty, developing interventions for poverty reduction, and evaluating the effect of projects and policies. This book also draws on new PPA case examples.

Excerpt

We are united today by our belief that widespread poverty in the midst of global prosperity is both unsustainable and morally unacceptable. Now, more than ever before, we need to focus on the role our organizations can best play in the fight against poverty, and we must constantly ask ourselves, How does what we are doing affect the poor? Can the poor themselves help to answer this question? If so, how can we reach the poor, and should the poor influence policy?

We think they can and indeed must. The question therefore is not whether we should include the poor but how? This is the subject of Can the Poor Influence Policy? This influential book documents and analyzes the development of a comprehensive methodology that shows how to consult directly with the poor and link the results to the national policy dialogue. This methodology was developed in partnership with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other civil society groups.

The importance of including the poor became even clearer during the East Asian crisis. By directly consulting poor people, policymakers found that there was not only a financial crisis but another profound crisis that affected the poor directly. When we visited the slums and villages, the issues poor people face became apparent. What we learned was that the poor have a very clear idea of what they want. They are able to analyze their poverty, suggest solutions, and prioritize policies. Poor people want a chance and they want an opportunity to transform their lives.

In 1999, the World Bank, therefore, spoke of “the other crisis” in East Asia, the human crisis of those condemned to poverty as well as those who had recently found hope only to see it roughly snatched away. There is an urgent need to look beyond financial solutions, to combine social and structural needs with macroeconomic solutions. We must therefore learn to have a debate in which the need for often drastic change can be balanced with advancing the interests of the poor. Only then will we . . .

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