The collective action of social movements is often said to be one of the most effective strategies that the poor can use in addressing their poverty. However, little is known about: the number, diversity and extent of such movements in particular national contexts; their overall importance in processes of and debates around poverty reduction; and the strategies they use to address the needs of their members. Most research has focussed either on individual or small sets of movements, with less attention paid to the overall significance of the movements at wider territorial and national scales.
This research addresses these themes and knowledge gaps. To assess the overall significance of movements for poverty reduction, it identifies, maps and conducts basic analysis of movements active in Peru and South Africa. The second phase of research addresses in more detail how and why movements adopt particular strategies in their relationships with the state, how these strategies affect the overall influence of movements on poverty reduction and how these strategies and effects vary according to the political context. This is done through a small number of comparative case studies conducted in collaboration with these movements. These movements will be selected from the initial mapping.