7.3.1 Pro-poor development: Mainstreaming skills development for the poor

Creating a training system that effectively supports the needs of the poor can only be done as part of a broader pro-poor development strategy. Training on its own cannot solve the fundamental underlying problem of the lack of productive employment opportunities for EVSE. It must be linked to broader processes of economic and social change.

Pro-poor development strategies will differ from one country to another, but there is general agreement that all strategies should be based on high and sustainable labour-intensive economic growth with strong support for the social sectors and the provision of safety nets for the most vulnerable. Other key objectives are the strengthening of civil society and the major decentralisation of political and economic power linked with the empowerment of local communities that will allow the full participation of the poor in local economic development.

While human resource development among the poor is at the very centre of pro-poor development strategies, it is likely that without a clear sense of what the role of training should be, government support for training of the poor will continue to be marginalised. This task will be that much harder so long as leading VET policy analysts and other experts continue to express serious reservations about the role of training. Just as microfinance for the poor has a large cadre of 'product champions' world wide, so too must training and skills development.

Making the case for training for the poor and disadvantaged is not going to be easy precisely because so much of the 'training crisis' is due to the failure to deliver formalised training that does demonstrably make a difference to more than a tiny proportion of the poor. A top priority is to assemble information concerning successful training interventions and to consider their potential for scaling-up.




Learning to change: Skills

development among the

economically vulnerable and

socially excluded in

developing countries

Paul Bennell

Employment and Training Department

International Labour Office Geneva

First published 1999


As the world's only tripartite multilateral agency, the ILO is dedicated to bringing decent work and livelihoods, job-related security and better living standards to the people of both poor and rich countries. It helps to attain those goals by promoting rights at work, encouraging opportunities for decent employment, enhancing social protection and strengthening dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO is the international meeting place for the world of work. We are the experts on work and e...

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