Since it was created in 1977, IFAD has focused exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition; raise their productivity and incomes; and improve the quality of their lives. The Fund has designed and implemented projects in very different natural, socio-economic and cultural environments. Many IFAD-supported projects and programmes have been in remote areas, and have targeted some of the poorest and most deprived segments of the rural population. IFAD has recognized that vulnerable groups can and do contribute to economic growth. These groups have shown that they can join the mainstream of social and economic development, provided the causes of their poverty are understood and enabling conditions for development are created.