Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Ponna Wignaraja. Women, Poverty, and Resources. New DelhiNewbury/ London: Sage Publications. 1990.242 pp.

Poverty alleviation with reference to gender has been thefocus of attention of national and international organizations since theseventies. Massive international assistance, both financial andtechnical, has been given for such programmes. However, the success rateof such projects has been fairly low. Two major reasons can be given forthis low rate of success: (i) the projects have been imposed from thetop without due regard to the local conditions, and the target group,i.e., the women, have been treated as objects rather than subjects; (ii)the donors and the implementing agencies have not always focused on theultimate goal of sustainable development The success stories are quotedquite extensively but they have not been followed. The underlying factorbehind their success was a strong faith in the capabilities of themasses at the grassroots level and the maximum use of local talent andexpertise. Ponna Wignaraja has produced a wealth of infonnation byproviding an in-depth review of the successful poverty alleviationprojects amongst women which can lead to sustainable development inSouth Asia. He first analyses the successful cases in detail, and thenhe looks at the not very successful projects in Africa and LatinAmerica, suggesting guidlines from specific successful projects in SouthAsia.

Faiz Bilquees

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