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Has civil society helped the poor? - A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction?

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  • Solava Ibrahim
  • David Hulme

Abstract

This paper sets out to explore the achievements of civil society in the area of poverty reduction. The focus is mainly on three domains (1) Advocacy; (2) Policy Change and (3) Service Delivery. Three case studies illustrate how poverty can be addressed at various levels and through different approaches: (1) Shack Dwellers International (SDI) operating internationally to advocate for the urban poor’s rights; (2) civil society organizations participating in the formulation of PRSPs to call for pro-poor policy reforms at the national level; and finally (3) the example of BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) providing services to the poorest at the grassroots level. Drawing on these case studies, the paper explains the keys to success and reasons for failure of civil society organizations in tackling poverty reduction effectively. It concludes by pointing out the challenges faced by civil society in the area of poverty reduction and presents recommendations on ‘what is still missing’ for civil society to play a more effective role in poverty reduction.

Suggested Citation

  • Solava Ibrahim & David Hulme, 2010. "Has civil society helped the poor? - A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction?," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 11410, GDI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:11410
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    File URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/gdi/publications/workingpapers/bwpi/bwpi-wp-11410.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shantana R. Halder & Paul Mosley, 2004. "Working with the ultra-poor: learning from BRAC experiences," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 387-406.
    2. Matin, Imran & Hulme, David, 2003. "Programs for the Poorest: Learning from the IGVGD Program in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 647-665, March.
    3. Clark, John, 1995. "The state, popular participation, and the voluntary sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 593-601, April.
    4. Shahidur Khandker & Hussain Samad & Zahed Khan, 1998. "Income and employment effects of micro-credit programmes: Village-level evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 96-124.
    5. Edwards, Michael & Hulme, David, 1996. "Too close for comfort? the impact of official aid on nongovernmental organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 961-973, June.
    6. Molenaers, Nadia & Renard, Robrecht, 2002. "Strengthening civil society from the outside? Donor driven consultation and participation processes in Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSP): the Bolivian case," IOB Discussion Papers 2002.05, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    7. Stiles, Kendall, 2002. "International Support for NGOs in Bangladesh: Some Unintended Consequences," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 835-846, May.
    8. Bhuiya, Abbas & Chowdhury, Mushtaque, 2002. "Beneficial effects of a woman-focused development programme on child survival: evidence from rural Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(9), pages 1553-1560, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niraj Prasad Koirala & Dhiroj Prasad Koirala, 2016. "Poverty and Inequality across the Nations: How Can Governments be Effective in Coping?," Economy, Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, vol. 3(1), pages 24-30.
    2. Spicer, Neil & Harmer, Andrew & Aleshkina, Julia & Bogdan, Daryna & Chkhatarashvili, Ketevan & Murzalieva, Gulgun & Rukhadze, Natia & Samiev, Arnol & Walt, Gill, 2011. "Circus monkeys or change agents? Civil society advocacy for HIV/AIDS in adverse policy environments," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1748-1755.
    3. Leonard, David K. & Bloom, Gerald & Hanson, Kara & O’Farrell, Juan & Spicer, Neil, 2013. "Institutional Solutions to the Asymmetric Information Problem in Health and Development Services for the Poor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 71-87.

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