When Helping Really Helps: How to Effectively Help Without Hurting the Poor at the Bottom of the Pyramid in Developing Countries

Latifah Kiribedda, St. Catherine University


The issue of poverty alleviation at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) in developing nations is a hot topic on the global platform. The staggering numbers of people living below the poverty line, coupled to the detrimental impact of extreme poverty on people in developing countries, creates a moral imperative for people to help the poor at the BOP. In response to the plight of the poor, many efforts have been put in place to help the poor in developing nations. In order to understand poverty at the BOP, in this paper, I provide a historical analysis of colonialism and the global systems (IMF, World Bank, and GATT) and their substantial effect on the poor in developing countries. Then, the efforts to help those at the BOP are categorized into three helping models: the Government Aid Model, the Entrepreneurship Aid Model, and the Grassroots Aid Model, each of which is analyzed. The paper concludes with seven guiding principles that can be used to effectively help without hurting the poor at the BOP when working at the grassroots level.