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Research Report

Reducing Urban Poverty; Some Lessons from Experience

David Satterthwaite
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2002
Pages: 48
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    This paper draws on seven case studies that document the experiences of initiatives that sought to reduce urban poverty.¹ The documentation of these cases was funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).²

    The case studies were chosen to reflect diversity in terms of:

    the nations and cities in which they are located;

    the basis on which they are funded (ranging from those that rely on demand from low-income households or draw on community or local resources to those drawing on funding from national governments and international agencies); and...

  2. (pp. 2-16)

    The case studies show considerable diversity with regard to the measures taken to reduce poverty and they demonstrate both the potential and the limitations of local actions. On the one hand, they show the concrete improvements that were possible with modest external funding levels (or no external funding at all) - all the case studies show tangible improvements in living conditions and access to basic services for low-income groups, with many also bringing other important benefits. On the other hand, most also show the limitations, especially the limited possibilities for local initiatives and institutions to generate employment or increase incomes...

  3. (pp. 17-20)

    Many of the case studies emphasize two points of particular relevance to international donors:

    how a growing scale of impact was largely the result of local institutions having the capacity to support a constant programme (or process) through which the success of one initiative or programme supported and stimulated other initiatives or programmes; and

    part of the reason for the growing scale of impact was the capacity of the local initiatives to change the way in which local government agencies operated and interacted with urban poor groups.

    This has enormous implications for donors in that it suggests that a different...