ZEF starts new project to address extreme poverty and marginality

September 28, 2010.  

The poorest are left behind. This is evident at a global scale, as income poverty declines but hunger - an indication of extreme poverty – increases. The University of Bonn’s Center for Development Research (ZEF) received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the root causes of extreme poverty and develop new approaches for addressing the problem.


The project MARGIP - Marginality Reduction for Enhanced Investments for and with the Poorest – focuses on marginality in developing countries. By approaching the persistent problems of extreme poverty through the lens of marginality, features and causes of extreme poverty are put up front, rather than as a secondary step to define potential investment actions.


The project initially focuses on rural areas in Ethiopia and Bangladesh since marginality is most prevalent there and often relates to agricultural conditions in small farms.


ZEF Director Joachim von Braun points out, “Marginality signals both, development challenges and opportunities.” When development investors understand marginality better, poverty reducing investments will be more successful. The project is designed as a planning project to prepare for a wider research and action program on marginality in developing countries. “We will synthesize the state of knowledge, build an alliance of scientists and social entrepreneurs, develop and test the methods, identify the data required to investigate the nature of marginality and tools which help selecting adequate policies which strengthen or build risk prevention, risk management and coping strategies,” says Franz Gatzweiler, the project director.


“To truly make a long-term impact on poverty, it’s essential to understand the root causes behind it,” said Prabhu Pingali, deputy director of Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “By examining how and why poor populations are marginalized—many of whom live in rural areas and work as small scale farmers—this project will identify opportunities to overcome these obstacles and help people improve their lives.”



Alma van der Veen