printUse ctrl + p to print the page

Empowerment and Poverty Reduction: A Sourcebook

Author(s): Deepa Narayan, Senior Adviser, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management

Publication Date:  May 1, 2002

This book defines the World Bank’s approach to empowerment for economic growth and poverty reduction. It also discusses  the World Bank’s social development  strategy. The book presents first the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of empowerment, before examining how to apply this theory in practice, also discussing the lessons learned from analysing previous empowerment-focused projects.

A growing body of evidence is showing the linkages between empowerment, good governance, growth that is more pro-poor, and improved project performance. However, there remain many questions about what empowerment means, how it applies to the World Bank’s work and what actions should be undertaken to move the empowerment agenda forward. This book addresses these three issues, taking into account the World Bank’s mandate and comparative advantage in this field. The final section of the book documents tools and practices that can support the implementation of an empowering approach to poverty reduction including:

  • Legal and Judicial Reform
  • Institutional and Governance Reviews
  • Citizen Report Cards
  • World Bank Corruption Surveys
  • Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys

The book concludes by stating that empowerment in itself is not a stand-alone strategy, rather a necessary consideration when doing business.  Connection to and involvement of citizens needs to be increased through focus on the four empowerment elements: access to information, inclusion and participation, accountability and local organizational capacity.