Step Up, Step Back

It’s been a long day.

It feels like I’ve been here for a week-a good week-already and it’s only been two and a half days. Today has been a challenging day of learning. However, I was most challenged by two things about which I’d like your opinion.

What is poverty?

What is development?

I really do want to know what you have to say and I value your opinion greatly, regardless of who you are. This is not something for which there is just one answer, and that’s why I want to know what you think.

If you read this post, please comment with some thoughts. FYI, I can track how many visitors I have ;).

Thanks in advance.



6 responses to “Step Up, Step Back

  1. My best shot:
    – Poverty is when people don’t have the means to live safe and healthy lives.
    – Development is what we call the projects and initiatives that try to fight widespread poverty.

  2. Way to peer-pressure us about reading here. I got a blog somewhere; doesn’t everyone? 😀

  3. My thought(s): What prompts you to ask the definition of these terms specifically?


    • These definitions are integral to Development, yet I personally haven’t actually ever attempted to define them myself. We had to during a session, though, and that challenged me greatly; thus I’d like to hear what you have to say, in order to understand some of the different perspectives that exist.

      • That question, “what is poverty?” tends to be a pretty central one doesn’t it? That prompts me to think about how we as “development workers” tend to frame things ie. taking a problem-solving approach as opposed to appreciative inquiry, seeing the negative versus positive in a community, etc.

        Regarding the word “development,” it has lost all meaning to me, because of the way that it has been wielded by the mining sector/extractive industries as well as the way that mining-affected communities now use that word.

      • I certainly think the definition is relative, or at least context-dependent. As you mention, development workers might have a more this-is-something-to-fix attitude. Or maybe a more this-is-something-to-understand attitude. Or maybe (hopefully) both. But, IMHO, the fact that the concept of poverty exists commonly to different groups in our society, as well as in other societies means that there must be some concrete elements which are made relative by our perceptions. I took the exercise as an attempt to get at those nuts and bolts.

        As for extractive industries, I pose the question: does use define a word’s meaning?

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