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THP Perspective: As the UN Human Rights Commission states, “Poverty is not only a matter of income, but also, more fundamentally, a matter of being able to live a life in dignity and enjoy basic human rights and freedoms. It describes a complex of interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations, which impact on people’s ability to claim and access their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In a fundamental way, therefore, the denial of human rights forms part of the very definition of what it is to be poor.”

Sen’s pioneering work helped shift the paradigm to see “poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities for living a tolerable life” (UNDP, 1997: 2; Vizard, 2001).

Key Interventions:

  • Breaking the mindset of dependency and awakening a spirit of self-reliance
  • Removing gender and other forms of discrimination
  • Ensuring affordable access to financial services, such as credit and savings
  • Ensuring secure access to land and other productive assets
  • Vocational skills training
  • Ensuring fair payment for labor, goods and services
  • Forming cooperatives and other production and marketing collectives

Key messages:

  • The world does not have a billion mouths to feed, it has a billion hard-working individuals whose creativity and productivity can be unleashed.

Global Campaigns and Initiatives:

Key agencies:

Relevant posts on this site:

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Key reports and data sources:

  • UNDP Human Development Report
  • World Bank World Development Report

Key blogs and newsfeeds:

Must-read books: