Bottom-up vs top-down

Top-down is when some outsider at the top of the pyramid decides my life would be better if something changed in my world, like micro-finance debt available to me as a woman to buy my healthcare and participate as a free agent in the economic world.

Bottom-up is when I know that my husband will make me take out that loan so he can drink it. I’d rather have direct access to the clinic.

I have oversimplified things here, of course. Some commentators argue that those at the top of the wealth pyramid have control of the resources but it is those at the bottom who know how best to use them. It’s an argument sometimes called pro-poor participation. Robert Chambers talks about “handing over the stick”.


(picture source)

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