The design and implementation of effective poverty eradication programmes: the rights based approach

Nyasulu, Gerald (2009) The design and implementation of effective poverty eradication programmes: the rights based approach. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The aim of this thesis is to explore the views of some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups on how poverty eradication programmes should be designed and implemented. This aim is achieved by undertaking a document analysis of some poverty alleviation programmes and a field study conducted in rural Malawi early 2007 using a qualitative, rights-based approach to participative action research.

Recent economic data shows that while billions of dollars have been spent on international aid programmes in developing countries, poverty continues to increase. Poverty in most developing countries has been exacerbated in recent years by failed economic policies and high levels of corruption both in the developing world and among aid agents. This has led to frustrations on the part of both donors, manifesting itself as donor fatigue, and on the part of the poor people themselves who are demanding new approaches to dealing with poverty.

A qualitative, human rights framework informs all the aspects of the study. This framework provides the context for framing the research question and the choice of methodologies used in the project. The study was divided into two parts. The first was a document review of thirty six poverty alleviation programmes implemented in three developing regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia. The second part of the study involved six focus group discussion meetings with a cross section of rural disadvantaged and marginalised Malawians from Kabwazi and Linthipe Extension Planning Areas. The human rights framework provides the analytical lens for the interpretation of the document analysis results and the data from the focus group discussion meetings. It also informed and guided the conduct of the focus group discussion meetings. In particular, principles of participative action research were used.

A key result from the document analysis is that there are low to insignificant levels of participation by the programme primary stakeholders in the design and implementation of these social safety net programmes. All the programmes reviewed were designed and implemented by governments, or non-government organisations or donors while a few had partnerships between government and non-government organisations or a donor agency. The results from the field study show that these marginalised and disadvantaged groups generally defined poverty from an economic perspective – lack of financial and material resources. However after they had been introduced to the rights-based approach and had discussed the eight human rights principles, they now defined poverty as a violation of human rights. They also went further to propose rights-based poverty eradication interventions which they argued should be designed and implemented by marginalised and disadvantaged groups themselves. These participants proposed a radical shift from economic-based poverty interventions to human rights-based interventions that empower poor communities, upholding their fundamental human rights and effectively eradicate poverty.

This study therefore produces an argument for the need to adopt a rights-based approach framework in designing and implementing development programmes, and in particular, poverty eradication programmes. Practical steps, from the participant’s point of view, on how such programmes could be designed and implemented are also provided.

Item ID: 10535
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: poverty eradication programmes, poverty eradication programs, human rights, Malawi, effects of international aid, international aid programmes, international aid programs, poverty alleviation programmes, poverty alleviation programs, community development, poverty reduction
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2010 23:16
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160101 Anthropology of Development @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation @ 34%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 33%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9403 International Relations > 940302 International Aid and Development @ 33%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 33%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940107 Comparative Structure and Development of Community Services @ 34%
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