POVERTY ALLEVIATION: THE NEED FOR A KNOWLEGEABLE, ACTIVE AND EMPOWERED CIVIL SOCIETY
AbstractMany poverty alleviation programmes have been established in South Africa in an effort to overcome poverty and inequality. This paper explores reasons as to why the problem has worsened, despite all these efforts. An overview of the literature suggests that most of these programmes are project based, with a focus on financial gain and the development of technical skills. The success of these projects has been limited. The author argues that the focus on these "hard" issues is insufficient in dealing with poverty, given the history and context in which it is occurring in South Africa. The neo-liberal macro-economic policy undermines the success of projects. It could in fact sustain poverty and the status quo. It is argued that poverty cannot be overcome without a knowledgeable, active and empowered civil society. People's capacity needs to be developed to challenge the economic, political and social organisation of society. It is recommended that interventions be more holistic and skills for social empowerment be strengthened. Conscientisation, organising for collective action and skills for transformingpolicy frameworks are considered important. A list of components vital for social empowerment is presented. Recommendations are made that research be undertaken to explore ways in which these components could be operationalised as key performance indicators in the evaluation of programmes.
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