Working Paper

IDS discussion papers;374

The Mobilising Potential of Anti-Poverty Programmes

Published on 1 January 2000

Aid and development agencies like to believe that they manage their development programmes in ways that empower the poor. This is rare in practice, even in the case of newly-fashionable programmes that are explicitly targeted at the poor and justified in terms of ’empowerment’.

It is not easy to use public anti-poverty programmes to empower the poor, i.e. to encourage them to mobilise politically around pro-poor agendas and movements. How can ‘friends of the poor’ in government or other agencies design and manage their anti-poverty programmes to encourage this mobilisation?

We explore the options, point out the advantages and disadvantages of the more direct methods, and make a case for the indirect or parametric approach: creating an enabling institutional environment, that encourages poor people, social activists and grassroots political entrepreneurs to invest in pro-poor mobilisation.

We then present a language for understanding the various dimensions of this enabling institutional environment, and use it to examine two contrasting, successful cases: rural water supply in Nepal, and the Employment Guarantee Scheme in Maharashtra, India.


Anuradha Joshi

Research Fellow

Mick Moore

Professorial Fellow

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Joshi, A. and Moore, M.P.
IDS Discussion Paper, issue 374
1 85864 293 0


About this publication

India Nepal

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