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Poverty Reduction – Rethinking Policy and Practice

International Research Workshop:
The Open University, 27 and 28 September 2023

Background and objective

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a reversal in poverty trends for the first time in three decades, halting progress towards SDG#1 on eradicating extreme poverty. Rising food and fuel prices and other, often intersecting, crises including climate change and conflict are making lives more precarious and creating new poverty traps.

This changing landscape requires a rethink of the most appropriate and effective ways to reduce poverty. Leading up to the end of Agenda 2030, what can be done to get back on track to meet SDG #1? Considering the post-SDG era, what should be the priorities for anti-poverty policy and practice to help people navigate precarity, respond to shocks and increase resilience?

The Centre for the Study of Global Development (CSGD) at The Open University (OU) and the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN) at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), in collaboration with the DSA/ EADI Multidimensional Poverty and Poverty Dynamics (MDDP) working group are organising a 1.5 day workshop to provide a space for surfacing new ideas and discussing promising ways forward. Framed against the backdrop of empirical evidence about poverty dynamics and policy effectiveness, it seeks to challenge current models for poverty reduction and propose innovative and alternative mechanisms for preventing moves into poverty and promoting more stable livelihoods.

Call for proposals

We invite proposals for presentations to contribute to this discussion on the following topics:
1) Empirics of poverty: This topic aims to lay an empirical foundation regarding the changing landscape of poverty, and to highlight the trends or gaps that require further attention. It would include research on poverty dynamics or provides insight into underexplored issues of poverty in contexts of economic/ social/ environmental/ health crises (including the Covid-19 pandemic) and periods of rapid change. It can also include studies that explore new ways of measuring poverty although proposals should focus on the insights that can be gleaned from the empirical findings rather than zoom in on methods of measurement.

2) Anti-poverty programming: This topic zooms in on the scope and effectiveness of interventions aiming to tackle povertyand build resilience amidst contexts of increasing precarity, such as through social protection, economic empowerment, livelihoods interventions, and anti-discrimination measures. This includes impact studies, with a Organisers: Keetie Roelen (CSDG, OU) and Vidya Diwakar (CPAN, IDS) particular interest in understanding the nuances of effectiveness along the lines of the realist evaluation question: ‘what works for whom under what conditions?’

3) Structural change: This topic considers the changes necessary to dismantle and transform the structures within which poverty is (re-)produced. It covers factors – primarily at macro- and meso-level that push people or keep them trapped into poverty, including themes such as governance, social norms, demographic change, infrastructure, labour market and climate policies. It could include empirical research as well as more conceptual studies.

We invite proposals for paper presentations on each of the topics above. We welcome proposals across the methodological spectrum, including mixed methods approaches. The workshop is primarily focused on poverty reduction in low- and middle-income countries but encourages submissions that draw linkages across low-, middle- and high-income country contexts.

Proposals from both senior and junior researchers will be considered, including PhD students. We plan to publish an edited volume or special issue following this workshop and therefore ask that proposals do not include work that is already published or under review elsewhere.


The workshop will be held on Wednesday 27 September (afternoon) and Thursday 28 September (full day) at The Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. It will be a hybrid workshop, with the possibility for participants to take part in person and online. Some funding will be available to support face-to-face participation.


  • Proposals should be between 300-500 words and include the title of the proposed paper; which topic it belongs to; a problem statement; the central argument; the main research questions and/or hypotheses; (preliminary) findings; and key references.
  • Please also provide a short CV for the main author. Note that we are not expecting a full paper to be submitted before the workshop, but proposals do need to offer a strong indication that a paper can be delivered within a few months after the workshop.
  • Please send your abstract and CV to: [email protected]. You can also direct any queries to this email address. MAKE SURE TO START THE SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL WITH ‘POVERTY REDUCTION WORKSHOP’
  • The organisers will notify accepted participants of their selection by 15 July, and will provide further information about logistics at that time.

Organisers: Keetie Roelen (CSDG, OU) and Vidya Diwakar (CPAN, IDS)