First published in 1999, this volume explores the nature of poverty and interprets it across a range of policy reforms and project interventions in different geographical settings. It is the culmination of a cooperative effort between development academics and professionals from diverse national and disciplinary backgrounds, who came together for two events: 1) The Development Study Association’s Rural Development Study Group Symposium on the theme of the book’s title, hosted by the Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme at the University of Manchester’s Institute for Development Policy and Management. 2) The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Regional Workshop for East and Central Africa on Strategies for Poverty Reduction. The volume is underpinned by the conviction that it is morally and ethically repugnant that over 1.3 billion people live in conditions of endemic hunger and poverty while the wealth of a minority continues to increase exponentially. The authors offer wide ranging analysis of some of the causes of this situation, and of the efforts being made to eliminate or alleviate absolute poverty.