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Supporting escape from chronic poverty: policies in action

Briefing/policy papers

Briefing/policy papers

- A core set of public policies can enable chronically poor people to escape poverty.  These are social protection, education and healthcare specifically for the hard to reach; asset building; anti-discrimination and women’s empowerment; and support for migrants alongside planned urbanisation. These are not all new policies for poor people, but they are undersupported and neglected in development efforts.

- There are numerous examples from around the world (some of which are detailed below) of public policies enabling poverty exits in all the above areas. Public policy vitally supports people’s efforts to escape chronic poverty. Framing such policies within a political project to build a state–citizen social compact not only ensures political support, but also delivers long- term commitments.

- Most people in chronic poverty are struggling to escape poverty and improve their livelihoods, in very difficult conditions that they have not chosen. Policy makers can benefit from seeking to work with them, and treating them as equal partners in development, rather than passive recipients of policy (or, worse still, as a ’problem’).

- A wide range of civil, political and economic organisations are public policy actors. Central and local government are of course powerful (and officials as well as politicians can be key players in promoting pro-poor policies). But social movements, NGOs, and parastatal or private sector companies can also have massive impacts on chronically poor people’s lives.

Tim Braunholtz-Speight