Article Title

Getting to Know the Poor


Ezra Rosser


The theme of the World Bank's principal publication in 2000/2001, the

World Development Report, was "Attacking Poverty." Such a focus is not

surprising given the centrality of fighting poverty to the mission of the

World Bank. However, what was noteworthy about the 2000/2001 Report

was the prominent way the Bank featured what it called the "voices of the

poor." The perspectives of poor people informed both the Report's

descriptions of the challenges of poverty and the Report's proposed policy

responses. By incorporating the lives, language, and experiences of the

poor directly into the Report, the Bank participated in a larger trend in

changing how poverty is understood: from international aid and

development organizations to academics and journalists, portrayals of poor

people have taken center stage in the discussion of poverty and

development policy.