A multi-country research initiative to understand poverty from the eyes of the poor, the Voices of the Poor project was undertaken to inform the World Bank's activities and the upcoming World Development Report 2000/01. The research findings are being published in three books:
"Can Anyone Hear Us'" gathers the voices of over 40,000 poor women and men in 50 countries from the World Bank's participatory poverty assessments (Deepa Narayan, Raj Patel, Kai Schafft, Anne Rademacher, and Sarah Koch-Schulte, authors).
"Crying Out for Change" pulls together new field work conducted in 1999 in 23 countries (Deepa Narayan, Robert Chambers, Meera Shah, and Patti Petesch, authors).
"From Many Lands" offers regional patterns and country case-studies (Deepa Narayan and Patti Petesch, editors).
Voices of the Poor marks the first time such an exercise has been undertaken in so many developing countries and transition economies around the world. It provides a unique and detailed picture of the life of the poor and explains the constraints poor people face to escape from poverty in a way that more traditional survey techniques do not capture well. Each of the three volumes demonstrates the importance of voice and power in poor people's definition of poverty. Voices of the Poor concludes that we need to expand our conventional views of poverty which focus on income expenditure, education, and health to include measures of voice and empowerment.