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  Poverty and Poverty Reduction
 

Poverty is a complex problem, and like all such problems, it poses challenges even in terms of how it is framed. A wide range of factors are involved, and stakeholders have different perspectives and priorities, leading to many different conceptions of poverty. The fuzziness stemming from diverse approaches operating side by side can hamper comprehensive, multisectoral initiatives in their efforts to build effective partnerships, design poverty reduction strategies, assess progress, and communicate their work in ways that empower low-income households and mobilize support for poverty reduction efforts.

Tempting as it is to make the poverty challenge more manageable by simplifying how it is understood, this only results in further frustration when its complex reality fails to be addressed. The Poverty and Poverty Reduction learning initiative, therefore, attempts to maintain an appreciation for the complexities of poverty, strive for coherence among diverse perspectives and continuously deepen our collective understanding.

The series examines alternative approaches to conceiving poverty and poverty reduction in order to strengthen the capacity of communities to make choices about how best to frame, unfold, measure and communicate about local poverty reduction efforts. To the extent possible, we will seek to reach a consensus on a refined approach for understanding the concepts of poverty and poverty reduction underpinning our collective work.

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Learning Objectives

Participants in this series will:

  1. Explore key terms and concepts relevant to defining ‘poverty’ and ‘poverty reduction,’ clarify the major debates and consider critical choices to be addressed.

  2. Review how partners in Vibrant Communities have conceptualized poverty and poverty reduction to date, and position these approaches within the wider field of thought.

  3. Examine a variety of schemas or models and determine their pros and cons for supporting comprehensive, multisectoral initiatives for poverty reduction.

  4. Explore the challenge of problem identification when dealing with complex issues such as poverty reduction and identify general approaches for dealing with this challenge both for local initiatives and for our collective work.

Session One: Concepts and Debates

This session considers a series of conceptual fault lines to be navigated when framing work in this area. It reviews key terms used in the discussion of poverty and poverty reduction, identify major approaches to defining poverty and explore alternative theories about the causes of poverty. The session reviews how national and local partners involved in Vibrant Communities have defined poverty and poverty reduction and situates these approaches within the concepts discussed.

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Session Two: Models and their Implications

The second session in the series looks more closely at a series of possible approaches to framing poverty and poverty reduction, and their implications for key aspects of comprehensive, multisectoral initiatives including: partnership formation, strategy development, evaluation and communications. This session both identifies possible models that communities may draw upon to develop or refine their own conceptions of poverty and poverty reduction, and clarifies the implications that different approaches hold.

Resources from the Session:

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Session Three: Common Ground with Diversity

The final session in the series focuses on the challenge of framing poverty and poverty reduction within a pan-Canadian initiative. It considers some underlying challenges faced by all partners in framing efforts to address poverty as a complex issue, as well as the added challenge of collaboration among local and national partners. It considers two basic options for linking the work of all partners: a minimal approach (agree on a core minimum which partners may go beyond as they see fit) or a maximal approach (scope out a comprehensive framework allowing partners to emphasize different aspects of it as appropriate for their local initiatives). The pros and cons of these two approaches are discussed in an effort to reach consensus among Vibrant Communities partners on how to align the efforts of all partners. Particular attention will be paid to the implications for evaluation.

Resources from the Session:

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Resources

Canadian Index of Wellbeing – In 2002, a team of leading experts and practicioners came together to develop the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, which measures economic, health, social and environmental progress in Canadian communities.

Debunking the Myths about Poverty in Canada - This power point presentation by Rob Rainer, Executive Director, Canada without Poverty discussed the links between work, education and family and poverty.  It looks at the persistence of poverty in Canada, the growing gap between rich and poor and the relationship between poverty and welfare.  Finally, it debunks the myth that poverty is too expensive to fix.  Access the slides here.

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Audio Description

Session One: Concepts and Debates

Run time 01:15:37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Description

Session Two: Models and their Implications

Run time 01:24:14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Description

Session Three: Common Ground with Diversity

Run time 01:21:02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsors:

The Ontario Trillium Foundation

Maytree