by: Jairo A. Arboleda, Patti L. Petesch, James Blackburn
This latest Voices of the Poor study advances the
participatory research tradition of the previous World Bank
Voices works with new modules focusing on poor peoples'
In the summer of 2002, 942 poor women and men from ten poor
communities of Colombia discussed urgent problems facing their families
and communities. They shared their experiences, frustrations and hopes
for improving their deteriorating livelihood prospects, the pervasive
violence afflicting their homes and communities, and the very poor
educational and training opportunities availably locally.
Voices of the Poor in Colombia also includes proposals,
developed by the communities, that they believe can bring real
improvements to their lives. Two broad patterns emerge from the more
than 250 action recommendations developed. First, poor people view
problems of livelihood, insecurity and education as tightly connected,
and progress will have to be made simultaneously on all three fronts if
any is to be made at all. Second, households are seen to be the
critical arenas in which development problems begin and then spread,
and responsive and effective local institutions are terribly important
if poor families and communities are to become more harmonious, secure
and prosperous. Despite the wider political violence, a significant
finding from this work is a very widespread view that more cohesive and
stronger families and local organizations are the bedrock to greater
peace and development.
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