Poverty is about more than just meeting basic material needs, says Catherine Thomas. Its corrosive effects are also social and psychological, causing people to feel marginalized and helpless.

Thomas’s research into anti-poverty programmes has focused on the effects of one aimed at women in the West African country of Niger, which aims to support subsistence farmers whose livelihoods are impacted by climate change.

One branch of the programme involved providing an unconditional $300 cash transfer alongside business and life skills training. Thomas, who is based at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, describes the impact it had, compared to similar schemes. These include microfinance business loans, but these tend not to reach those most in need, she says.

Thomas’s research is very much focused on the first of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. Each episode of How to Save Humanity in 17 Goals, a Working Scientist podcast series, features researchers whose work addresses one or more the targets. The first six episodes are produced in partnership with Nature Food, and introduced by Juliana Gil, its chief editor.

Read the complete article in Nature