Community Wealth Rediscovered: Knowledge for Poverty Alleviation

Low-income communities are very easily labeled “poor”. What we oftentimes do not realize is that while communities may be economically poor, they are rich with respect to many things that are oftentimes unseen and unrecognized.

The Knowledge for Poverty Alleviation (KPA) framework refocuses development thinking by putting the spotlight on these forms of community wealth that exists even before the introduction of development projects:

  • Human capital – the wealth embodied in its people, in their skills, experiences, attitudes and aspirations;
  • Social capital – the wealth found in the informal relationships within the community;
  • Structural capital – the wealth embedded in people’s organizations, in community systems and processes;
  • Stakeholder capital – the wealth that lies in relationships with outside organizations or individuals;
  • Indigenous knowledge – the wealth hidden in specialized skills, talents and other tacit knowledge of the community;
  • Cultural capital – the wealth that threads community beliefs and practices; and
  • Access rights to natural, scenic and other resources – the wealth arising from traditional practice, location, proximity or formal arrangements.

The KPA framework starts with the recognition of these intangible assets and capital of the “poor” and points to several strategies for project implementers: leveraging community intangible assets; neutralizing intangible liabilities; utilizing tangible assets; and building-up sustainable structural and stakeholder capital.

With its focus on the oftentimes unseen but potent factors that influence project performance, the KPA framework is a promising model that can be used both in the design and evaluation of community-based anti-poverty projects to enhance the likelihood of project success and sustainability.

After Apin Talisayon and Jasmin Suministrado framed the KPA Model based on success stories in anti-poverty alleviation projects in the Philippines, Philip Penaflor further operationalized it by developing an appreciative community self-assessment tool in East Timor. Philip wrote two papers from this East Timor experience.

Download a pdf copy of the e-book

Download two papers of Dr. Philip Penaflor:

Intangible Assets and the Search for a New Development Paradigm: Redefining Concepts of Wealth, Poverty and Development 


KPA  Model: Appreciative Community Self-Assessment