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Policy Brief

How Concern Understands Extreme Poverty 2022

Last updated:
26 April 2022
Concern Worldwide

This policy outlines Concern's understanding of the nature of extreme poverty in 2022 and how it needs to be tackled.

Concern’s mission is to help people living in extreme poverty achieve major improvements in their lives that last and spread without ongoing support from Concern. To achieve this mission, Concern engages in long term development work, responds to emergency situations, and seeks to address the root causes of poverty through our development education and advocacy work.

Two key foundational policy documents guide Concern’s work and these lay out our understanding of extreme poverty and provide clarity on our approach to emergencies. This document addresses the former and provides an overview of How Concern Understands Extreme Poverty (HCUEP), updating the description presented in the 2010 paper, and providing clarity on where the approach embedded in this understanding, and the various tools produced to support it, should be applied.

Our understanding is that extreme poverty is driven by a lack of basic assets, or, where basic assets are available, their existence does not generate sufficient returns to meet human needs (low returns on these assets). Concern also recognises that the two dimensions of inequality and insecurity, risk and vulnerability need to be tackled if people are to exit sustainably out of extreme poverty. This understanding is completely in line with our commitment of reaching the furthest behind first and the universality encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also in line with Concern’s belief in human rights.

In that sense, our starting point is to reiterate the three dimensions to Concern’s Understanding of Extreme Poverty:

  1. Lack of and/or a low return on assets.
  2. Inequality.
  3. Insecurity, risk and vulnerability.
Concern's conceptual framework for understanding extreme poverty
Concern's conceptual framework for understanding extreme poverty
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