To fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, many poor countries are now implementing Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs -- PRSPs. They are supposed to be "home grown", developed by both government and civil society and emphasize pro-poor economic growth. But in Malawi, PRSPs are viewed by many as merely a new version of old World Bank policies, with decisions ultimately being made in Washington, rather than by the country's own citizens. This Life report investigates the PRSP process and its effectiveness in Malawi. We interview Malawian government officials, civil society campaigners, World Bank economists and critics of World Bank policies, as well as visiting rural communities to ask how they themselves would eliminate their own poverty.
The other titles in the series are:
1. The Millennium Development Goals: Dream or Reality - Explores the ambition and scope of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, and the obstacles to their achievement.
2. The Real Leap Forward: Scaling Up Poverty Reduction in China - Reports on China's successful efforts to reduce poverty through development and targeted programs.
3. Listen to the Kids! - A Unicef intitiative involves children in decisions that affect their own futures, their families and communities.
4. Helping Ourselves! - In India, two community projects help people move out of poverty and gain control of their lives.
5. Reaching Out to the Grassroots - Education and community-driven development combat poverty in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
6. Staying Alive! - Poverty combined with lack of education and health services affect maternal mortality rates in Bangladesh.
7. When the Cows Come Home - Despite the success of the "Jamaica Hope" milk cow, Jamaica's dairy industry is facing a crisis, as EU trade undercuts island production.
8. The Coffee-Go-Round - Many coffee-producing countries like Ethiopia are facing economic disaster even as the demand for coffee increases world-wide.
9. Aiming High - Focuses on Uganda's successful economic recovery in the wake of Idi Amin's regime.
11. Geraldo's Brazil - Five years later, Life rejoins a Brazilian factory worker affected by the globalized economy.
12. Yemeni Futures - More than a decade after its unification, Yemen is still struggling to improve the standard of living.
13. Crisis Control: Stemming the Spread of HIV/AIDS - Ukraine's emerging HIV epidemic is contrasted with Africa's longstanding HIV/AIDS catastrophe.
14. Educating Yaprak Turkey's ambitious campaign to reduce poverty includes convincing reluctant parents to send their daughters to school.
15. Brazil's Land Revolution In the state of Bahia, a new initiative encourages the landless to band together to buy up land -- with low-interest government loans.
16. How Green Is My Valley? Documents efforts to revitalize the polluted, impoverished communities in the former coal and steel producing valleys of South Wales.
17. Warming Up in Mongolia Unless sustainable alternatives are introduced, Mongolia's dependence on fossil fuels and rapid urbanization threatens the environment.
18. This Hard Ground: Remembering the Displaced Civil war leads to the internal displacement of millions in Sri Lanka.
19. Blue Danube? Connecting more than 18 countries in Western Europe, the Danube River is at the heart of a dilemma over shared resources in the growing European Union.
20. Between War and Peace The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia encourages combatants to turn in their weapons and wage peace.
21. Reel to Real: Balancing Acts Explores the international movement for women's rights.
22. Reel to Real: Holding Our Ground International efforts to assure reproductive health and rights conflict with cultural realities in the Philippines, Latvia, Japan, and India.
23. Return to Srebrenica Survivors of the massacre in Srebrenica struggle to heal their community and build a new future.
24. In The Wake of War A burgeoning grassroots peace movement in Burundi is aimed at ending civil war between the Tutsis and Hutus.
25. Returning Dreams In the aftermath of Liberia's civil war children are fighting to reclaim their futures and return home.
26. The Hospice Workers at the Mother of Mercy hospice in Zambia provide palliative care for those afflicted with AIDS.
27. Slum Futures The slums of Mumbai are an important microcosm of how slums are developing around the world.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2004
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-172-X
VHS ISBN: 1-59458-171-1
"Excellent and very informative. It focuses on the so-called 'Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs' (PRSPs) that the World Bank and other financial institutions use to manage the flow of funds through the governments of developing nations. The film shows the futility of promoting development via financial aid alone. It also shows that financial policies often end up harming the poor. This is to be expected, since nobody knows how to anticipate the second and higher order rippling effects of policies formulated by institutions that (for the most part) work in splendid isolation from the poor countries. The film also reminds the viewer that fighting corruption is easier said than done, and suggests that the poor people in rural communities are the ones who really know how to overcome their own poverty. There is a Chinese proverb, 'do not give a fish to a hungry man, rather teach him how to fish.'
Giving him some fishing gear might help if the gear is useful in the waters where he has to fish."
Luis Gutierrez, Editor, Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence Research Newsletter