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Whose Agenda Is It Anyway?

Life 4 - Whose Agenda Is It Anyway?
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.

'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


Main credits

Walker, Christopher (film producer)
Walker, Christopher (film director)
Richards, Jenny (consultant)
Khachooni, Lara (editor of moving image work)
Kelly, Brenda (film producer)
Briers, Lucy (narrator)

Other credits

Series consultant, Jenny Richards; editor, Lara Khachooni; executive producer, Brenda Kelly.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Developing World
International Studies
Millennium Development Goals
United Nations


Malawi, Africa, African Studies, Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, World Bank, Poverty Reduction Strategy Program, PRSP,; "Whose Agenda Is It Anyway?"; Bullfrog Films