Poverty teaches us to think simple. Paul Polak brings forward ideas and solutions that bypass government agencies and other leaden institutions. Ideas that work! — PAUL NEWMAN This lecture is co-presented by Tamarack and CIGI.

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Entrepreneur and inventor Paul Polak tells why mainstream poverty eradication programs have fallen so sadly short and how he and his organization developed an alternative approach that has already succeeded in lifting 17 million people out of poverty.

Drawing on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the "Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths": that donations alone will end poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that big business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed–in fact, in some areas where these approaches have been tried, such as sub-Saharan Africa, poverty rates have actually gone up.

These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and International Development Enterprises have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped impoverished rural farmers use the market to improve their lives.

In Out of Poverty, Paul Polak shares a practical guide to problem solving that helped him address the root causes of poverty and can help us improve our lives. His book also offers specific advice for everyone who wants to end poverty, including development donors, multinational corporations, universities, agriculture and irrigation research institutions and concerned individuals worldwide who would like to join the movement to support innovative design solutions that enable prosperity.

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