Poverty is a cross-cutting issue. NGOs may address it via 'development', 'environmental', 'social justice' and 'human rights' approaches.

Eldis has a large archive of resources on poverty which can be searched by country.

Understanding poverty by consulting with the poor (50 pp. PDF) is a 2009 study by the World Bank which concludes that:

  • poverty is a condition, not a characteristic
  • power ‘within’ can help a person move out of poverty
  • poor people’s access to economic opportunity overwhelmingly remain inequitable
  • responsive local democracies can help reduce poverty
  • collective action helps poor people cope but not get ahead

What is poverty? Concepts and measures (24 pp. PDF) by the UNDP reminds us of the importance of the analysis and views of poor people themselves – a case for changing language, concepts and measures in development. The key issue is whose reality counts - theirs or ours? 

Best practices in poverty reduction (156 pp. PDF) asks: can good ideas about poverty reduction be transferred from one setting to another and still work? The book explains the factors that need to be taken into account in identifying and describing the evolution of best practice.

Is equal partnership possible between the elite and the ultra-poor? The Bangladesh case study Engaging elite support for the poorest (21 pp. PDF) raises the concern that improved livelihood for the ultra poor might create an increasing dependence on patrons.

The Fairtrade foundation is a small but growing movement that offers a progressive alternative to the conventional model of trade.

The relationship between, humans, wild animals and the environment: see our CASE STUDY: Zambia

Land Reform: 

“Globalisation can be an instrument to end hunger, poverty and slavery, but at the same time it can facilitate infringements of human rights.

The forced shift from subsistence to cash crop agriculture, the loss of common land, and government policies that suppress farm income in favour of cheap food for the cities have helped bankrupt millions of peasants and drive them from their land- sometimes into slavery.

It is significant that a whole series of FAO studies has shown that small landholders produce more food per acre than larger landholders do.”

— Prof. Gerard Mols, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Maastricht, 2002

Mols argued that the right to land deserves multidisciplinary attention. Human rights should be at the basis of this approach since the fight against hunger, poverty, new slavery and isolation need no other justification than the call for human rights.

Fair Trade:

"Trade is one of the most powerful forces linking our lives, and a source of unprecedented wealth. Yet millions of the world's poorest people are being left behind. Increased prosperity has gone hand in hand with mass poverty. Already obscene inequalities between rich and poor are widening.

World trade could be a powerful motor to reduce poverty, and support economic growth, but that potential is being lost. The problem is not that international trade is inherently opposed to the needs and interests of the poor, but that the rules that govern it are rigged in favour of the rich."

— From Rigged Rules and Double Standards – Trade, globalisation and the fight against poverty