Amongst many development actors and public aid donors it is commonly perceived that the poor cannot escape poverty because they are credit constrained and as such cannot invest. The main reason why they are credit constrained being the lack of collaterals. Microcredit, the practice of lending small amounts of money to the poor, is heralded as a key tool in the fight against poverty in least developed countries (LDCs).

This research project addresses the overarching research question: What factors shape pathways into and out of poverty and people's experience of these, and how can policy create sustained routes out of extreme poverty in ways that can be replicated and scaled up? 

Our research addresses directly the following overarching question: What factors shape pathways into and out of poverty and people's experience of these, and how can policy create sustained routes out of extreme poverty in ways that can be replicated and scaled up? 

The study compares the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alternative poverty eradication projects and assesses their scalability and sustainability. In particular, it answers the following questions:

Important development programmes such as microfinance often do not reach the very poorest households. A new set of initiatives, called Graduation programmes, have targeted these very poor households. Their objective is to graduate them out of poverty in a sustainable manner and make them resilient so they do not fall back into poverty.

Community management of handpumps has been the accepted mode of thinking for rural water supply over three decades in Africa. The paradigm underpins the hundreds of millions of US dollars invested each year to reduce institutional and operational water risks.

Contemporary political volatility within the Middle East region has led to far reaching socio-economic upheaval and strife with a devastating impact generating mass displacement of Iraqi, Palestinian, and Syrian refugees to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey (UNCHR, 2014). In their host nations, these displaced communities seek to reconstruct their lives in a context of loss, poverty, violence and devastation (Kuttab, 2008; Chatty, 2010).

There is an urgent need to find means by which societies can engage in difficult debates about how to ensure food security in a world threatened by dangerous levels of climate change, at the same time as making drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. There will be conflicts, trade-offs but also potential co-benefits between these twin objectives depending very much on the pathways chosen.

Rapid changes in the natural, social, and economic environment are occurring in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley, as part of a state-led development vision of repositioning the region as a major sugar exporter. At the same time, these changes raise risks of environmental degradation, and the emergence of new kinds of inequality and conflict.

In developing countries experiencing high levels of poverty and inequality, getting the balance right between economic development and protection of the natural environment can be a major challenge for policymakers. This project will use an innovative approach known as 'everyday studies': a way of investigating the routine and seemingly mundane.
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