The Potential Impact of Family Life Education and Lay Counselor Training on Poverty in Developing Countries: The Example of India
AbstractApproximately one third of the world's 1.2 billion poorest people on earth live in India. It is home to more people living in poverty than any other country in the world. Although overall poverty rates in India have decreased in the past several decades because of India's emphasis on poverty reduction and community development since independence, the number of people at or below the poverty line remains in the hundreds of millions. Poverty in India, as in many developing countries, is not just the absence of income but the presence of an ongoing state of helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, inequality, and marginalization of the poor. This article examines how Lay Counselor Training and Family Life Education can have a potentially powerful and long-lasting impact on the socio-economic development of individuals, families, and communities in India. The authors highlight how professionally trained Indian counselors and family life educators, in cooperation with NGO's and professionals from other areas of the world, can help reduce poverty and enhance healthy human development through the training of lay persons in both rural and urban areas, and how these efforts can, in turn, potentially augment the economic conditions of families and communities. These effects become mutually reinforcing since the economic development of families and communities is also likely to enhance the mental and emotional health of family members and the overall resilience of the family. Hence, a multimodal approach to poverty reduction is needed. In this article India serves as an example for other developing countries.
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