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Extra resources for Poverty reduction in South Asia: promoting participation by the poor, Page 86

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Page 19 Summary Community mobilization and participatory approaches have shown some promising results in South Asia, but they are not a panacea and are more successful under some circumstances than others. Experience demonstrates that organizations of the poor are most effective when there is a material incentive to continue participating, when groups are smaller rather than larger, when groups are homogenous, and when the approach is complemented by appropriate macroeconomic policies at the national level.

Until recently, the macroeconomic, sectoral, and trade policies followed by most countries in the region tended to hinder the growth of employment opportunities for the poor. Returns to nonlabor assets were suppressed by policies that worked against agriculture and the informal sectorkey sources of employment and income for the poor. Public sector enterprises have been inefficient and have absorbed a significant share of public resources without generating sufficient employment or providing adequate services.

Use of Participatory Approaches in Poverty Assessments Participatory poverty assessments have been carried out with World Bank support in Ghana, Guatemala, and several other countries. In the South Asia region, Bank staff members involved in the Pakistan and India Poverty Assessments have begun to explore ways of including the views and opinions of the poor in assessing the conditions that cause persistent poverty and low levels of human resource development. In Pakistan economic growth has significantly outdistanced improvements in child survival, literacy, and fertility reduction.

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