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Research & Policy Analysis
Anti-Poverty Programmes 1989-2008




Anti-Poverty Programmes now concluded

Combat Poverty's work, in particular its early programme work, has significant resonance in the current social and economic climate. Our anti-poverty programmes were:

Building Healthy Communities Programme

Building Healthy Communities was developed by Combat Poverty to support disadvantaged communities, both geographical and sectoral, to tackle poverty and health inequalities. The Programme had four key aims:

  • To promote the principles and practice of community development in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for disadvantaged communities
  • To build the capacity of community health interests to draw out practice and policy lessons from their work
  • To inform and support policy initiatives relating to the links between poverty and health
  • To explore mechanisms for effective, meaningful and sustainable community participation in decision making regarding health.

There were ten projects in this programme supported by the Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive.


  • Funded Initiatives 2005-2007: Open in PDF format
  • Evaluation of the Building Healthy Communities Programme: Click to open PDF


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Having Your Say Programme

The underlying philosophy of Having Your Say was that policies intended to tackle poverty are more likely to be successful if the people and communities for whom they are designed are involved in their planning and implementation. The programme ran from 2005 to 2007 and had four objectives:

  • To promote awareness and knowledge amongst anti-poverty groups, public officials and elected representatives of the right of people in poverty and their representatives to be actively involved in policy decision making processes
  • To initiate and support work that enhances the policy skills and capacities of groups of people experiencing poverty, their representatives or organisations supporting them
  • To work in partnership with policy-makers to increase their understanding of the issues related to and implications of involving people in poverty in policy making
  • To strengthen the integration of anti-poverty practice by community and voluntary organisations into the policy advice role of Combat Poverty.


  • Having Your Say programme guide: Open in PDF format
  • Programme summary: Open in PDF format
  • Catalogue of Having Your Say Programme publications: Open in PDF format
  • Evaluation of the Having Your Say Programme: Download  in PDF format


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Mainstreaming Social Inclusion Programme

Mainstreaming social inclusion is the integration of poverty and social inclusion objectives, including an equality perspective, into all areas and levels of policy-making. The MSI Programme was a three-year research project to advance the understanding of mainstreaming as a policy tool in social inclusion. It was funded by the European Commission through the Transnational Exchange Programme (TEP), DG Employment and Social Affairs. The Programme had three objectives:

  • To contribute to a wider understanding of how mainstreaming social inclusion might be integrated into national policies
  • To develop the concept
  • To provide operational tools for those involved in the formulation of policies, in decision-making, for administrators and service providers responsible for the implementation of these policies and for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that represent people experiencing social exclusion and poverty.

More information and documentation on Mainstreaming Social Inclusion see the site archive

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Local Authorities and Social Inclusion Programme

The overall aim of this project was to exchange information and build on good practice on local government in addressing social exclusion. The project had partners in Sweden and the UK. The programme had two key themes, which were explored within the context of integrated local development initiatives to regenerate disadvantaged urban and rural communities.

  • The role of mainstream services in promoting social inclusion, especially in relationship to cross cutting themes
    • Political leadership – the role of local elected representatives
    • Cross-service areas e.g. child poverty, gender issues, disability, refugees
    • Organisational and cultural change

  • Involving and engaging all social partners in the policies and initiatives needed to promote social inclusion
    • Strategic Partnerships which include partners including other local public service providers, business, communities and excluded groups
    • The role of NGOs at local level
    • Involving the excluded in policy development and implementation


  • Introduction to the LASI Programme: Open in PDF format
  • Report of the Local Government and Social Inclusion Transnational Conference, Dublin Castle, June 2003: Open in PDF format
  • LASI Country Report: Open in PDF format

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National Anti-Poverty Networks Programme

The aims of the Programme were to assist the National Anti-Poverty Networks to develop their capacity to contribute to policy development at national level and to draw policy lessons from their experiences at local and national levels. Combat Poverty provided support through core funding to the network activities, advice and support to networks and facilitated partnership and policy development between networks. Member Networks included:

For further information on the Programme, see the Networks Brochure: Open Networks Brochure in PDF format

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Demonstration Programme on Educational Disadvantage

Educational disadvantage has been an area of concern to Combat Poverty since the early 1990s when it was recognised that interactions between home, school and the community can result in young people deriving less benefit from formal education than their peers. Many young people leave the formal education system with few or no qualifications. They are then at a disadvantage in the labour market, their personal and social development may be stunted and it may lead to poverty and social exclusion.

Combat Poverty, through the Demonstration Programme on Educational Disadvantage, established and supported local networks that developed integrated responses to the problem in their areas. Combat Poverty developed structures that influenced policy at national level through drawing from these local experiences. Three strands existed in the programme: local network structures, research & evaluation, and policy formation.


  • Demonstration Programme Information Pack: Click to open PDF document
  • Educational Disadvantage and Early School Leaving: Open in PDF format
  • Evaluating Integrated Responses to Educational Disadvantage: Download in PDF
  • Integrated Services and Children at Risk: Open document in PDF format
  • Policy Aspects of Educational Disadvantage: Open in PDF format

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Community Arts Pilot Programme

Community arts are a creative a powerful way to tackle poverty, social exclusion and disadvantage. The Pilot Programme enhanced community arts practice and developed imaginative and wide-ranging policies and programmes to address poverty at local, regional and national level. As well as training and improving resources for community arts practitioners, it provided a forum for developing policy from the experiences in community arts including visual arts, crafts, oral history, music and drama. The Programme was an initiative of CAFÉ (Creative Activity for Everyone) and Combat Poverty Agency supported by the European Horizon Programme.

Projects included:

  • Women's drama group the Balcony Belles, North Wall Women's Centre, North Wall, Dublin 1
  • Community arts for older people, women in the home and young school leavers: Pléaráca Teo, Rosmuc, Co Galway
  • Drama and art in community development: Parents Alone (now known as Doras Buí), Parents Alone Resource Centre, Bunratty Drive, Coolock, Dublin 17, 01 848 1872
  • Traveller culture with emphasis on music: Pavee Point,
  • Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill Community Action Project, Cork (no longer operational)


  • Community Arts Pilot Programme Information Pack: Click to open PDF document
  • Creating a Difference: report of the Community Arts Pilot Programme 1993-1994: Click to open PDF document
  • Creating Change: a strategy for developmental community arts: Open in PDF format
  • Creating Connections: an exploration of the contribution of community arts to community development in 5 local projects: Download in PDF

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Third European Poverty Programme

Poverty 3 was built on the experience of the previous EU poverty programmes focusing on social exclusion and economic/social integration. It aimed to contribute to the development of preventative measures for groups at risk of becoming economically and socially marginalised and to develop corrective measures to meet the needs of people who were disadvantaged. It was a test bed for new organisational and strategic approaches to tackling poverty at local level. The European dimension to the programme supported the transference of methods, know-how and identification of good practice.

Combat Poverty played a role in establishing three projects in Ireland and supporting community sector involvement in them:

  • Paul (People Action Against Unemployment Limited) now the Paul Partnership, Limerick
  • Forum, Northwest Connemara Rural Project, Galway
  • Dublin Travellers' Education and Development Group (DTEDG - now known as Pavee Point)
  • The Brownlow Community Trust was established in Craigavon in Northern Ireland as part of the UK programme


  • Combating Exclusion: lessons from the Third EU Poverty Programme in Ireland 1989-1994: Download in PDF format
  • Poverty 3: An Analytical Overview: Download in PDF format

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Women's Networks Programme

Women's Networks Pilot Programme supported five regional networks in Waterford, Clare, Tallaght, Clondalkin and Galway. It explored the types of supports appropriate to women's groups in disadvantaged areas and how best to highlight women's poverty at a national level. The five networks were:

  • Clare Women's Network
  • Clondalkin Women's Network,
  • Waterford Women's Network
  • Western Women's Link
  • Women Together Tallaght



Further Information

For further information on these programmes or the publications associated with them, please contact our Library & Information Service on 01 647 3207 or

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