Two goals in "making poverty history"

Two of the big changes in the goal of “making poverty history” are a combination of providing an effective state that can provide schools, hospitals, roads, energy and which is accountable to their citizens. And at the same time strengthening the voice of citizens so they feel self-confidence and the ability to get together and demand changes. It's that combination of active citizens and effective states which is where the main drama of development is and always has been.

If you look at an economy just in terms of GDP per capita, and look at South Korea, China, Vietnam, Botswana, Costa Rica -- any of those sort of success stories of which there are dozens -- you can always point to an effective state.

We don't see development as just about GDP per capita. If you actually ask poor people what it is they hate about being poor, they often talk about being at the mercy of officials. They talk about not being able to pay the dowry for their kids, they feel as though they look bad and have anxiety about what will happen tomorrow -- e.g. what happens if my husband gets knocked off his rickshaw and we have no safety net at all?

So there are a whole bunch of questions that revolve around rights and the ability of citizens to have rights and enjoy them.

An example of active citizenship working -- The Chiquitano Indians in Bolivia where 30 years ago they were essentially feudal serfs and due to their own organization they have gone from there to having their own organization -- electing mayors, senators and eventually a president. And they've just gained the right to a million acres of ancestral land.

[Review of an Oxfam book on CNN]

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