Participatory Wealth Ranking – The Difference Between “Poor” and “Very Poor”

A PWR is an acronym for a “Participatory Wealth Ranking” – a targeting tool conducted by Village Enterprise at the community level. A Business Mentor goes into a village and assembles up to 10 people – these people are knowledgeable about everything that goes on in the village. They know all of their neighbors.

Village Enterprise staff discussing and writing notes

Village Enterprise staff writing on a chalkboard

The group then draws a map of the village and makes a list (usually using a village roster) of every household in the village.  Then, the group creates a list of community-determined characteristics of what a rich person is, a moderate person is, a poor person is, and a very-poor person is.  Characteristics may include: how much livestock a person has (a rich person may have 5 goats, whereas a poor person may have 3 chickens), if (s)he can afford school fees, if his/her children are enrolled in school, if the family has a grass thatched roofs, if the family has concrete floors or dirt floors, etc etc.

Once they have determined the list of characteristics, the group places each household in the village into one of the 4 categories. Because Village Enterprise works with individuals living in extreme poverty – we work with the households who are characterized, by their community, as being “very poor”. Following the PWR, Village Enterprise uses a second targeting survey to determine whether or not an individual meets the requirements of our program. Those individuals that qualify after completing both targeting tools are offered a place in our program.
The targeting process not only ensures that we are truly reaching those living in extreme poverty but that the community is part of the process of choosing our program participants.


Amalia Frank

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