Which is why

The half-hearted approach of poverty alleviation projects implemented over the decades has failed to make any tangible difference to the socio-economic condition of the poorest of the poor. However, the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) — an autonomous body — has a slightly different story to tell, claims the World Bank. Even against the backdrop of political upheaval, the PAF has been reasonably effective in getting resources to the poorest. Which is why the World Bank has given its nod to a $25 million grant for improving community infrastructure and income-generating projects.

Hunger, disease, lack of education, burgeoning population and migration are some of the major inter-linked challenges that have to be overcome. For instance, an educated person seldom faces hunger. So assaults need to be launched on several fronts to literally lift the poor out of the morass of poverty. It is not necessary to rely entirely on ambitious projects. Small things done efficiently can make a big difference. The success of microcredit in Bangladesh is a case in point. At a time when all the parties are set to usher in big changes in the political and socio-economic domain, it is time they took a searching look at the real roots of poverty, and devised appropriate and result-oriented programmes to eradicate it. For any programme to become effective, the imperative of transparency and accountability have to be rigorously pursued. The greater the people’s participation in development programmes, the better the results. The community approach is also necessary to meet one of the Millennium Development Goals of halving absolute poverty by 2015.