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Drs 255 disability and livelihood notes on empowerment, etc

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NOTES ON DISABILITY AND LIVELIHOOD EMPOWERMENT

NOTES ON DISABILITY AND LIVELIHOOD EMPOWERMENT

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  • 1. DRS 255 DISABILITY AND LIVELIHOOD TOPIC ONE THEORIES AROUND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND WEALTH CREATION, EMPLOYMENT LEGISLATION, HOW TO SET UP SELF-HELP GROUP AND INCOME GENERATION, SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODDEFINITION OF EMPOWERMENTEmpowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender, oreconomic strength of individuals and communities. The term empowerment covers a vastlandscape of meanings, interpretations, definitions and disciplines ranging from psychology andphilosophy to the highly commercialized self-help industry and motivational sciences.Sociological empowerment often addresses members of groups that social discriminationprocesses have excluded from decision-making processes through - for example - discriminationbased on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Empowerment as a methodology is oftenassociated with feminism.Sometimes groups are marginalized by society at large, but governments are often unwitting orenthusiastic participants. For example, the U.S. government marginalized cultural minorities,particularly blacks, prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act made it illegal to restrictaccess to schools and public places based on race. Equal opportunity laws which actively opposesuch marginalization, allow increased empowerment to occur. They are also a symptom ofminorities and womens empowerment through lobbying. Another eg is the Disability Actpassed in 2008/2009. Also, the free education policy for the North.Marginalized people who lack self-sufficiency become, at a minimum, dependent on charity, orwelfare. They lose their self-confidence because they cannot be fully self-supporting. Theopportunities denied them also deprive them of the pride of accomplishment which others, whohave those opportunities, can develop for themselves. This in turn can lead to psychological,social and even mental health problems.Empowerment is then the process of obtaining these basic opportunities for marginalized people,either directly by those people, or through the help of non-marginalized others who share their 1
  • 2. own access to these opportunities. It also includes actively thwarting attempts to deny thoseopportunities. Empowerment also includes encouraging, and developing the skills for, self-sufficiency, with a focus on eliminating the future need for charity or welfare in the individualsof the group. This process can be difficult to start and to implement effectively, but there aremany examples of empowerment projects which have succeeded.One empowerment strategy is to assist marginalized people to create their own nonprofitorganization, using the rationale that only the marginalized people, themselves, can know whattheir own people need most, and that control of the organization by outsiders can actually help tofurther entrench marginalization.Women EmpowermentEmpowerment of women, also called gender empowerment, has become a significant topic ofdiscussion with regards to development and economics. Nations all over the world, businesses,communities, and groups can benefit from the implementation of programs and policies thatadopt the notion of women empowerment. Empowerment is one of the main procedural concernswhen addressing human rights and development. The Human Development and CapabilitiesApproach, The Millennium Development Goals, and other credible approaches/goals point toempowerment and participation as a necessary step if a country is to overcome the obstaclesassociated with poverty and development.Measuring Gender EmpowermentGender empowerment can be measured through the Gender Empowerment Measure, or theGEM. The GEM shows women’s participation in a given nation, both politically andeconomically. Gem is calculated by tracking “the share of seats in parliament held by women; offemale legislators, senior officials and managers; and of female profession and technicalworkers; and the gender disparity in earned income, reflecting economic independence. “It thenranks countries given this information. Other measures that take into account the importance offemale participation and equality include: the Gender Parity Index and the Gender-relatedDevelopment Index (GDI). 2
  • 3. Ways to Empower WomenOne way to deploy the empowerment of women is through land rights. Land rights offer a keyway to economically empower women, giving them the confidence they need to tackle genderinequalities. Often, women in developing nations are legally restricted from their land on the solebasis of gender. Having a right to their land gives women a sort of bargaining power that theywouldn’t normally have, in turn; they gain the ability to assert themselves in various aspects oftheir life, both in and outside of the home.Another way to provide women empowerment is to allocate responsibilities to them thatnormally belong to men. When women have economic empowerment, it is a way for others tosee them as equal members of society. Through this, they achieve more self-respect andconfidence by their contributions to their communities. Simply including women as a part of acommunity can have sweeping positive effects. In a study conducted by Bina Agarwal, (a prize-winning development economist and Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute ofEconomic Growth in Delhi), women were given a place in a forest conservation group. Not onlydid this drive up the efficiency of the group, but the women gained incredible self-esteem whileothers, including men, viewed them with more respect. (Women’s group in Kenya – HoneyCare Africa).Participation, which can be seen and gained in a variety of ways, has been argued to be the mostbeneficial form of gender empowerment. Political participation, be it the ability to vote and voiceopinions, or the ability to run for office with a fair chance of being elected, plays a huge role inthe empowerment of peoples. However, participation is not limited to the realm of politics. Itcan include participation in the household, in schools, and the ability to make choices for one’sself. It can be said that these latter participations need to be achieved before one can move ontobroader political participation.When a woman has the agency to do what she wants, a higher equality between men and womenis established. It is argued that Microcredit also offers a way to provide empowerment forwomen. Governments, organizations, and individuals have caught hold of the lure ofmicrofinance. They hope that lending money and credit allows women to function in business 3
  • 4. and society, which in turn empowers them to do more in their communities. One of the primarygoals in the foundation of microfinance was women empowerment. Loans with low interest ratesare given to women in developing communities in hopes that they can start a small business andprovide for her family. It should be said, however, that the success and efficiency of microcreditand microloans is controversial and constantly debated. Example, Prof. Mohammed Yunus.Economic Benefits of Women EmpowermentMost women across the globe rely on the informal work sector for an income. If women wereempowered to do more and be more, the possibility for economic growth becomes apparent.Eliminating a significant part of a nation’s work force on the sole basis of gender can havedetrimental effects on the economy of that nation. In addition, female participation in counsels,groups, and businesses is seen to increase efficiency. For a general idea on how an empoweredwoman can impact a situation monetarily, a study found that of fortune 500 companies, “thosewith more women board directors had significantly higher financial returns, including 53 percenthigher returns on equity, 24 percent higher returns on sales and 67 percent higher returns oninvested capital (OECD, 2008).” This study shows the impact women can have on the overalleconomic benefits of a company. If implemented on a global scale, the inclusion of women in theformal workforce (like a fortune 500 company) can increase the economic output of a nation.According to Rae Lesser Blumberg of the University of Virginia and University of California,San Diego in her theories on gender stratification and gender and development, she posits thatwomen’s economic power relative to men, at “nested” levels ranging from the couple to thestate, is the most important of the many factors affecting the level of gender stratification in agiven society/human group at a given point in history, geography or social structure.In other words, enhanced female economic power is proposed as the prime factor inreducing gender inequality. Here are some of the hypothesized outcomes of women’seconomic empowerment.1. Increased income controlled by women gives them: a. Self-confidence, which helps them to obtain b. “Voice and vote” in household decisions, such as: 4
  • 5. i. Domestic well-being decisions (women tend to use income clout for more equitable decisions about sons and daughters’ diet, education and health); ii. Economic decisions (acquiring, allocating, and selling/alienating assets); iii. Fertility decisions (most women use their income clout to lower it) iv. Land use and conservation decisions (rural women tend to favor sustainable practices since they usually bring the water and firewood, which takes more time and effort in degraded environments).Indeed, Weller’s 1968 study in Puerto Rico found that one of the first things women did whenthey began to earn their own income was to begin to practice (female) contraception; see alsoUnited Nations 1987 for an overview of World Fertility Survey findings in over three dozencountries. c. Control of their “life options” These are aspects of one’s destiny that exist in all human societies (e.g., marriage, divorce, sexuality, fertility patterns, freedom of movement). Women’s freedom and control vis-à-vis these options (relative to males), however, depends not only on their relative economic power but also on the macro-level legal system and overarching gender norms for their group. These may respond more slowly to growing female economic empowerment. The life option of fertility may be the single most important determinant of a female’s life prospects (for example, how many women readers/listeners would have achieved their present positions if they had begun having babies in their mid-teens at the 24-27 month average spacing interval that the Pan American Health Organization found prevalent among non-contraception women in Guatemala and other Latin American countries?). But other key “life options” include: i. “Voice and vote” in marriage (whether, when and with whom), and ii. Relative freedom of movement. Further, >economic power also leads to: d. >Influence by women (often indirect) in community affairs.2. Moreover, men and women tend to spend income under their control differently, withimportant micro and macro level effects: 5
  • 6. a. Women tend to hold back less for themselves and devote income more single-mindedly to children’s nutrition, health and education, i.e., increasing their human capital; b. Women tend to spend their income more even-handedly on both daughters and sons’ improved diets, survival, health and education; c. Therefore, projects that channel income to women as well as men receive a “synergy bonus” (Blumberg 1989a) of enhanced human capital as well as economic impact. d. Conversely, when projects reduce women’s relative income (e.g., by expecting them to do the work but giving the resulting income to their husbands), their position tends to drop faster than it rises with increased income, often reducing family welfare apace. This also may lead to the failure of the development project as women turn to sabotage, or to other income sources they can control (Carloni 1987; Blumberg 1988). e. An additional caveat is that one gets more power from surplus income than from trying to stretch insufficient funds to cover bare subsistence: one has more freedom in allocating surplus. This implies that the “synergy bonus” of female-controlled income is even bigger if it can be raised above “mere subsistence.”3. Furthermore, greater female economic power also enhances the “wealth and well-being ofnations” (Blumberg 1989a). It does so for at least two reasons: a. Women who control their own income tend to have fewer children and the fertility rate is inversely related to national income growth (Hess 1988); b. They also are able – and generally more willing than male counterparts – to send daughters as well as sons to school, even when they earn less than those men (see Blumberg et al. 1992; Blumberg 1993). c. In turn, the benefits of female education are enormously positive and affect the whole society (King and Mason 2001). These benefits include (Blumberg 1989a): (i) >age of marriage; (ii) >contraception; (iii) <fertility (e.g., as measured by the Total Fertility Rate, TFR); (iv) <infant/child mortality; (v) >female paid modern sector employment, and 6
  • 7. (vi) >female earnings (which results in >education of daughters and sons, i.e., a “virtuous circle”). d. In point of fact, almost all the benefits of educating girls are associated with lower fertility, over and above the direct link specified above (iii). Specifically, a later age of marriage lengthens generations, cutting the rate of population increase. Higher rates of contraceptive usage translate into lower fertility. So, too, do lower rates of infant and child mortality. And both paid modern sector employment and higher earnings for women are closely linked to their having fewer children. In sum, economically empowered females promoting their daughters’ education comprise another “multiplier effect” that enhances development and national income growth, while freeing these daughters from a bleak future as ignorant “baby-making machines.” e. Development policy makers are aware of the benefits of girls’ education. That’s why they have chosen elimination of the gender gap in schooling as the target for the third Millennium Development Goal (MDG), which is to “promote gender equality and empower women.” d. Conversely, when projects reduce women’s relative income (e.g., by expecting them to do the work but giving the resulting income to their husbands), their position tends to drop faster than it rises with increased income, often reducing family welfare apace. This also may lead to the failure of the development project as women turn to sabotage, or to other income sources they can control (Carloni 1987; Blumberg 1988). e. An additional caveat is that one gets more power from surplus income than from trying to stretch insufficient funds to cover bare subsistence: one has more freedom in allocating surplus. This implies that the “synergy bonus” of female-controlled income is even bigger if it can be raised above “mere subsistence.”3. Furthermore, greater female economic power also enhances the “wealth and well-being ofnations” (Blumberg 1989a). It does so for at least two reasons: a. Women who control their own income tend to have fewer children and the fertility rate is inversely related to national income growth (Hess 1988); 7
  • 8. b. They also are able – and generally more willing than male counterparts – to send daughters as well as sons to school, even when they earn less than those men (see Blumberg et al. 1992; Blumberg 1993). c. In turn, the benefits of female education are enormously positive and affect the whole society (King and Mason 2001). These benefits include (Blumberg 1989a): (i) >age of marriage; (ii) >contraception; (iii) <fertility (e.g., as measured by the Total Fertility Rate, TFR); (iv) <infant/child mortality; (v) >female paid modern sector employment, andBarriers of Women EmpowermentMany of the barriers to women empowerment and equity lie ingrained into the cultures of certainnations and societies. Many women feel these pressures, while others have become accustomedto being treated inferior to men. Even if men, legislators, NGOs, etc. are aware of the benefitswomen empowerment and participation can have, many are scared of disrupting the status quoand continue to let societal norms get in the way of development.The process of empowermentThis is the process which enables individuals or groups to fully access personal or collectivepower, authority and influence, and to employ that strength when engaging with other people,institutions or society. In other words, “Empowerment is not giving people power; peoplealready have plenty of power, in the wealth of their knowledge and motivation, to do their jobsmagnificently. We define empowerment as letting this power out (Blanchard, K)." It encouragespeople to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to overcome obstacles in life orwork environment and ultimately, help them develop within themselves or in the society. 8
  • 9. To empower a female "...sounds as though we are dismissing or ignoring males, but the truth is,both genders desperately need to be equally empowered." (Dr. Asa Don Brown) Empowermentoccurs through improvement of conditions, standards, events, and a global perspective of life.Empowerment may also have a negative impact on individuals, corporations and productivitydepending on an individual’s views and goals. It can divide the genders or the races. Strong skillsand critical capabilities are often held back to open doors for those who meet the empowermentcriteria. Those who use empowerment as a selfish advantage tend to become difficult, demeaningand even hostile colleagues. The end result is a weak business model.Empowerment includes the following, or similar, capabilities:-  The ability to make decisions about personal/collective circumstances  The ability to access information and resources for decision-making  Ability to consider a range of options from which to choose (not just yes/no, either/or.)  Ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making  Having positive-thinking about the ability to make change  Ability to learn and access skills for improving personal/collective circumstance.  Ability to inform others’ perceptions through exchange, education and engagement.  Involving in the growth process and changes that is never ending and self-initiated  Increasing ones positive self-image and overcoming stigma  Increasing ones ability in discreet thinking to sort out right and wrongWorkplace EmpowermentEmpowerment of employees in the work place provides them with opportunities to make theirown decisions with regards to their tasks. Nowadays more and more bosses and managers arepracticing the concept of empowerment among their subordinates to provide them with betteropportunities. According to Thomas A. Potterfield, many organizational theorists andpractitioners regard employee empowerment as one of the most important and popularmanagement concepts of our time. Companies ranging from small to large and from low-technology manufacturing concerns to high-tech software firms have been initiatingempowerment programs in attempts to enhance employee motivation, increase efficiency, and 9
  • 10. gain competitive advantages in the turbulent contemporary business environment. Ciulladiscusses an inverse case: that of bogus empowerment.Empowerment in ManagementIn the book Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute, the authors, Ken Blanchard, John P.Carlos, and Alan Randolph, illustrate three keys that organizations can use to open theknowledge, experience, and motivation power that people already have. The three keys thatmanagers must use to empower their employees are: 1. share information with everyone 2. create autonomy through boundaries 3. replace the old hierarchy with self-managed teamsAccording to author Stewart, in her book Empowering People she describes that in order toguarantee a successful work environment, managers need to exercise the “right kind ofauthority”. To summarize, “empowerment is simply the effective use of a manager’s authority”,and subsequently, it is a productive way to maximize all-around work efficiency.Share information with everyone – this is the first key to empowering people within anorganization. By sharing information with everyone, one gives them a clear picture of thecompany and its current situation. This fosters trust; by allowing all of the employees to view thecompany information, it helps to build that trust between employer and employee.Create autonomy through boundaries – this is the second key to empowerment which alsobuilds upon the previous one. By opening communication through sharing information, it opensup the feedback about what is holding them back from being empowered.Replace the old hierarchy with self-managed teams – this is the third and final key toempowerment which ties them all together. By replacing the old hierarchy with self-managedteams, more responsibility is placed upon unique and self-managed teams which create bettercommunication and productivity. 10
  • 11. These keys are hard to put into place and it is a journey to achieve empowerment in a workplace.It is important to train employees and make sure they have trust in what empowerment will bringto a company.In economic development, the empowerment approach focuses on mobilizing the self-helpefforts of the poor, rather than providing them with social welfare. Economic empowerment isalso the empowering of previously disadvantaged sections of the population, for example, inmany previously colonized African countries.THE GEOGRAPHY OF WEALTH AND POVERTYToday poor people form a majority of the world’s population. This has always been the case. Therich get richer; the poor get poorer and have more children. In the 21st century, however, anumber of countries are wealthy for the first time in history. The global disparity between therich and the poor is rapidly becoming the central issue of our time. The rich nations - those of theTechnological World - are interested in maintaining political stability, the present worldeconomic system, technological superiority, and high standards of living. For them, internationalconferences, foreign aid, trade and political or military intervention in minor global disturbancesare primarily methods of maintaining the status quo. In each country, policies are forged tosustain supplies of food, fuel, and income to provide citizens with levels of physical well-beingthat were attained only by royalty in the past.In the poorer nations - those of the Developing World - leaders strive to carve out a new place inthe world economic system and to acquire the technology and skills needed to raise standards ofliving. Changing, not maintaining, the status quo is their central interest. In such countries,progress is measured in increases in caloric consumption, lower infant mortality rates, miles ofroadway constructed, and gains in gross national product (GNP). Local policies of birth control,land reform, agrarian change, and education engage virtually everyone on a personal and privatelevel. The scientific transformation has left only the most remote and isolated communitiesunaffected. 11
  • 12. In every country in the world, policies and programs are designed to fit local value and ideology.The Chinese, the Indians, the states of Africa the Middle East, and Latin America – all facedevelopment and modernization within the context of their own histories, economies andsocieties. Similarly, Western Europe, Japan, the USSR, and the United States-all integratescience and technology differently within their own national systems. At a more general level,however, the countries of the Developing World possess one set of characteristic; those of theTechnological World yet another.The gap between these two worlds is awesome, and pressure is growing to distribute globalwealth in a more equitable way. The issues are poverty, hunger, transfer for technology, andredistribution of wealth. Currently the United States consumes 60 percent of the world’sresources and is by far the richest country on earth and overall has the World’s Technologicaland industrial capacity. By contrast, Africa, Asia, and Latin America contain three quarters of theworld’s people but produce only 20 percent of its wealth. On these continents, raw materialsrepresent 85 percent of all exports. Given these figures, Robert McNamara, former president ofthe World Bank, states that despite a quarter century of change and progress in the developingworld, some 800 million individuals continue to be trapped in absolute poverty “a condition oflife so characterize by malnutrition, illiteracy disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortalityand low life expectancy as to be beneath any reasonable definition of human decency.”THE RICH AND THE POORDuring the last thirty years or more, poverty and wealth have retained roughly the same worlddistribution. In spite of intensive national programs of economic and social development andsubstantial levels of international aid, the rich nations have grown progressively richer, the poorrelatively poorer. The income gap between the two worlds continues to widen.The sources of poverty vary. In India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, population growth appears tobe the critical variable. In North Africa and parts of the Middle East, aridity retards thedevelopment of resources. In central Africa, the legacy of colonialism weighs heavy. In SouthAmerica, control of the physical environment is inadequate. In many countries, politicalleadership is corrupt and repressive. Whatever the specific cause, poverty is now a persistent and 12
  • 13. pervasive feature of human life in the Developing World. Few expects think this condition willchange soon. (What are the causes of poverty in West Africa and Ghana in Particular?)WEALTH CREATIONWealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth isderived from the old English word weal, which is from an Indo-European word stem. Anindividual, community, region or country that possesses an abundance of such possessions orresources is known as wealthy.The concept of wealth is of significance in all areas of economics, and clearly so for growtheconomics and development economics. Yet the meaning of wealth is context-dependent andthere is no universally agreed upon definition. At the most general level, economists may definewealth as "anything of value" which captures both the subjective nature of the idea and the ideathat it is not a fixed or static concept. Various definitions and concepts of wealth have beenasserted by various individuals and in different contexts. Defining wealth can be a normativeprocess with various ethical implications, since often wealth maximization is seen as a goal.The United Nations definition of inclusive wealth is a monetary measure which includes the sumof natural, human and physical assets. Natural capital includes land, forests, fossil fuels, andminerals. Human capital is the populations education and skills. Physical (or "manufactured")capital includes such things as machinery, buildings, and infrastructure.According to Adam Smith, in his seminal work The Wealth of Nations, he described wealth as"the annual produce of the land and labour of the society". This "produce" is, at its simplest, thatwhich satisfies human needs and wants of utility. In popular usage, wealth can be described as anabundance of items of economic value, or the state of controlling or possessing such items,usually in the form of money, real estate and personal property. An individual who is consideredwealthy, affluent, or rich is someone who has accumulated substantial wealth relative to others intheir society or reference group.In economics, net wealth refers to the value of assets owned minus the value of liabilities owedat a point in time. Wealth can be categorized into three principal categories: personal property, 13
  • 14. including homes or automobiles; monetary savings, such as the accumulation of past income;and the capital wealth of income producing assets, including real estate, stocks, bonds, andbusinesses. All these delineations make wealth an especially important part of socialstratification. Wealth provides a type of social safety net of protection against an unforeseendecline in one’s living standard in the event of job loss or other emergency and can betransformed into home ownership, business ownership, or even a college education.Wealth refers to some accumulation of resources (net asset value), whether abundant or not.Richness refers to an abundance of such resources (income or flow). A wealthy individual,community, or nation thus has more accumulated resources (capital) than a poor one. Theopposite of wealth is destitution. The opposite of richness is poverty. The term implies a socialcontract on establishing and maintaining ownership in relation to such items which can beinvoked with little or no effort and expense on the part of the owner. The concept of wealth isrelative and not only varies between societies, but varies between different sections or regions inthe same society. A personal net worth of US $10,000 in most parts of the United States wouldcertainly not place a person among the wealthiest citizens of that locale. However, such anamount would constitute an extraordinary amount of wealth in impoverished developingcountries.Concepts of wealth also vary across time. Modern labor-saving inventions and the developmentof the sciences have enabled the poorest sectors of todays society to enjoy a standard of livingequivalent if not superior to the wealthy of the not-too-distant past. This comparative wealthacross time is also applicable to the future; given this trend of human advancement, it is likelythat the standard of living that the wealthiest enjoy today will be considered impoverished byfuture generations.Industrialization emphasized the role of technology. Many jobs were automated. Machinesreplaced some workers while other workers became more specialized. Labour specializationbecame critical to economic success. However, physical capital, as it came to be known,consisting of both the natural capital and the infrastructural capital, became the focus of theanalysis of wealth. 14
  • 15. Adam Smith saw wealth creation as the combination of materials, labour, land, and technologyin such a way as to capture a profit (excess above the cost of production). The theories of DavidRicardo, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, in the 18th century and 19th century built on these viewsof wealth that we now call classical economics.WEALTH AND SOCIAL CLASSSocial class is not identical to wealth, but the two concepts are related (particularly in Marxisttheory), leading to the combined concept of Socioeconomic status. Partly as a result of differenteconomic conditions of life, members of different social classes often have different valuesystems and view the world in different ways. As such, there exist different "conceptions ofsocial reality, different aspirations and hopes and fears, different conceptions of the desirable."The way the various social classes in society view wealth vary and these diverse characteristicsare a fundamental dividing line among the classes. According to Richard H Ropers, theconcentration of wealth in the United States is inequitably distributed. In 1996, the United Statesfederal government reported that the net worth of the top 1 percent of people in the United Stateswas approximately equal to that of the bottom 90 percent.The Upper ClassUpper class values include higher education, and the wealthiest people the accumulation andmaintenance of wealth, the maintenance of social networks and the power that accompanies suchnetworks. Children of the upper class are typically schooled on how to manage this power andchannel this privilege in different forms. It is in large part by accessing various edifices ofinformation associates, procedures and auspices that the upper class is able to maintain theirwealth and pass it to future generations.The Middle ClassThe middle class places a greater emphasis on income. The middle class views wealth assomething for emergencies and it is seen as more of a cushion. This class comprises people thatwere raised with families that typically owned their own home, planned ahead and stressed theimportance of education and achievement. They earn a significant amount of income and also 15
  • 16. have significant amounts of consumption. However there is very limited savings (deferredconsumption) or investments, besides retirement pensions and homeownership. They have beensocialized to accumulate wealth through structured, institutionalized arrangements. Without thisset structure, asset accumulation would likely not occur.The Lower ClassThose with the least amount of wealth are the poor. Wealth accumulation for this class is to someextent prohibited. People that receive AFDC transfers cannot own more than a trivial amount ofassets, in order to be eligible and remain qualified for income transfers. Most of the institutionsthat the poor encounter discourage any accumulation of assets.THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGYIndustrialization emphasized the role of technology. Many jobs were automated. Machinesreplaced some workers while other workers became more specialized. Labour specializationbecame critical to economic success. However, physical capital, as it came to be known,consisting of both the natural capital (raw materials from nature) and the infrastructural capital(facilitating technology), became the focus of the analysis of wealth.ASSIGNMENT: Discuss your understanding of the role of Technology in Wealth Creationin the contemporary world.SETTING UP A SELF-HELP GROUPThere are many different reasons why a group can be started, and many different legal structures for youto choose from. Its worth thinking about what kind of group you want to have, as this may affect theorder in which you do things. For example: Prof. Mohammad Yunus’s story on Micro Finance/MicroCredit  There may be a proposed development in your neighbourhood which many people feel strongly about  You may have had a good idea and need some more people to help make it happen 16
  • 17.  You may want to meet up with other people who have had similar experiences to yours, so that you can offer each other friendship, support and advice  You may want to give an existing group a recognized structure in order to attract fundingWhats the first step?Just as there are many different reasons to form a group, there are many different types of groupsyou could set up. Its worth thinking about what kind of group you imagine it will be, as this mayaffect the order you do things in.For example, if you are planning to set up a charitable trust to run an Arts projects in thecommunity, you will want to give some thought to the aims and structure of the group before youinvite others to join you, so that you can be clear about what you are asking them to do.Though you may do these things in a different order depending on the type of group you aresetting up, most new groups will need to:  Hold an initial meeting  Agree the aims of the group  Write a constitution  Open a bank account  Decide who will do whatEach of these things involves several decisions and activities - here are some ideas and tips to getyou started.Hold an initial meetingHere are a few ideas for making your first meeting attractive and interesting:Publicize it wellThe design of your publicity material is important. You need to think about who you are hopingto attract to the meeting, and make sure your poster or leaflet will catch their eye and give them a 17
  • 18. reason to come along to your meeting. Make sure the date, time and place of the meeting areclearly shown on the leaflet and that its very clear what the meeting is about.If your meeting is going to be a large one, with as many people involved as possible, you willneed to do as much publicity as you can. You could use:  flyers through letterboxes  posters in shop windows or on community noticeboards  leaflets in places where the people you want to reach are likely to go  a letter or advert in a community newsletter  a piece in the local paper  an announcement on the local radioIf your group is going to be quite small, for example a residents association for a single block offlats or street, it is worth investing the time to call on people to invite them to the meetingpersonally. Even if they dont come, this will give you useful information about whether theythink the group is a good idea and what they want it to do.Offer an incentiveNot many people enjoy meetings, and for some it is a big effort to arrange childcare or transport,so its a good idea to offer an extra attraction. This could simply be free refreshments, or perhapsa video or speaker about something to do with the groups aims or activity.Think about the venue and facilitiesIs it accessible to everyone? Are there steps or other barriers you should warn people about onthe publicity leaflet? Will you need to put up signs to direct people as they arrive? Would it makethings easier if you had a PA system? Will you need to organize a crèche or offer help withchildcare costs? Might you need a sign language interpreter? If you have a speaker, will theyneed a data projector? 18
  • 19. Think about the agendaThe amount of preparation you need to do before the meeting will depend on the type of group itis, but its always good to have some idea of what needs to be covered in the meeting.A typical agenda for an initial meeting would include: I. Welcome and introductions II. Aims of the group III. Name of the group IV. Plans and ideas (and who will carry them out) V. Who will do what (responsibilities in general) VI. FinancesVII. Date and time of the next meetingIf you have called the meeting, people will be expecting you to act as chair. If its going to be alarge meeting and you are not confident in this role, it may be worth asking someone else tochair the meeting - perhaps a local councillor, teacher, religious leader or well-knowncommunity figure. But be careful that your choice of chair is not going to cause controversy inthe meeting.Involve everyone in the discussionWhile its important to appear well-organized, you also want to let people know that theircontribution is needed and valuable, so make sure you dont close off discussion too quickly. Thepeople who have come along to the meeting are the future members of the group, and you needto make sure the atmosphere of this meeting is as welcoming and open as possible.Take minutesThe minutes of your meeting dont have to be very detailed, but they should include a clear noteof any decisions made at the meeting, and in particular who has agreed to take on which jobs. Its 19
  • 20. not easy to chair a meeting and take minutes at the same time, so ask for a volunteer to take notesat the start of the meeting.Gather names and addressesMake sure you take contact details from everyone who wants to be kept in touch with the group -prepare a sheet in advance which you can pass round the meeting or have on a table at the door.Set a date for the next meetingIts worth allowing this sometime in the meeting, so that you can discuss how often you want thegroup to meet, whether daytime or evening meetings are best suited to the members of yourgroup, whether you need to offer childcare or transport to enable people to attend meetings, andso on.Its not always possible to agree a meeting date that everyone can make, but its important tomake sure you arent always excluding the same people just because you havent thought abouttheir needs.Agree the aims of the groupIts a good idea to talk about the aims of the group at this first meeting, so that everyone is clearfrom the start about what the group is for. Make sure someone writes down what the meeting hasagreed and check that everyone is happy with the wording.Write a constitutionYou may want to include your aims in a written constitution, and its worth inviting a few peopleto volunteer to work on this and bring a draft back to the group.If you are going to apply for grant funding, you will probably need a written constitution, toshow funders that you are an organized group. Unless you are going to be a registered charity ora limited company, there are no legal rules about what your constitution should say. 20
  • 21. Once you have written and agreed the constitution, however, it becomes the governingdocument of your group, and it should set out clearly how you intend to run your group. A goodconstitution can help to resolve disputes and enable new members to participate fully in therunning of the group.Open a bank accountRunning any group costs money and its a good idea to start thinking at the beginning aboutwhere to get it from and how to look after it. As soon as your group has some money, you willwant to give one person responsibility for keeping track of it (the Treasurer).Having a group bank account is the best way to make sure the groups money is kept safely. Allbanks offer special accounts for community groups. You will need to have at least two membersof the group willing to act as signatories. Funders usually require (and its a sensible precautionin any case) that you have a bank account where each cheque has to be signed by two people.Decide who will do whatYou may want to elect a committee with named officers (Chair, Secretary, etc), or just share outthe work that needs doing immediately. Either way, everyone needs to know who is doing what,and when they will report back to the whole group.How formal?There is no right or wrong way to run a group - how formal your group will be depends on thewishes of the people involved and the aims and function of the group. Many groups change theirstructure as they develop, so theres no need to get bogged down in legal documents beforeyouve even got off the ground. 21
  • 22. On the other hand, its worth giving the structure of your group some thought every now andthen, to make sure you still have a set up that meets the needs of your group.SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODIntroductionThe concept of Sustainable Livelihood (SL) is an attempt to go beyond the conventionaldefinitions and approaches to poverty eradication. These had been found to be too narrowbecause they focused only on certain aspects or manifestations of poverty, such as low income,or did not consider other vital aspects of poverty such as vulnerability and social exclusion. It isnow recognized that more attention must be paid to the various factors and processes whicheither constrain or enhance poor people’s ability to make a living in an economically,ecologically, and socially sustainable manner. The SL concept offers a more coherent andintegrated approach to poverty.The sustainable livelihoods idea was first introduced by the Brundtland Commission onEnvironment and Development, and the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment andDevelopment expanded the concept, advocating for the achievement of sustainable livelihoods asa broad goal for poverty eradication.In 1992 Robert Chambers and Gordon Conway proposed the following composite definition of asustainable rural livelihood, which is applied most commonly at the household level:A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (stores, resources, claims and access) andactivities required for a means of living: a livelihood is sustainable which can cope with andrecover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and providesustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generation; and which contributes netbenefits to other livelihoods at the local and global levels and in the short and long term. 22
  • 23. Another most important Scholar who contributed immensely to the development of the field ofSustainable Livelihoods was Dr. Naresh Singh. It is a field in which Dr. Singh becamerecognized over the years as a global leader. Early in his work in this field he defined livelihoodsas the activities, assets and entitlements through which people make their living, and heconsidered livelihoods as sustainable when they were economically effective, sociallyequitable, ecologically sound and resilient i.e. had the capacity to cope with and recover fromshocks and stresses.He elaborated the assets approach to building more sustainable livelihoods for the poor byshowing that when the design of poverty reduction strategies started with a focus on the assets ofthe poor rather than on their needs, the stage can better be set for, self-empowering processes andmore meaningful partnerships. Starting with a needs analysis in the first step, as is the norm, ismore likely to be dis-empowering and to reinforce dependency and donor - recipientrelationships rather than partnerships.He led the team at UNDP which then elaborated a range of analytic tools and approaches to SLinterventions including in governance, macro-micro linkages in economic investment,appropriate technology, gender equality, participatory approaches to assets analysis and self -empowerment etc.More recently the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and the British Department forInternational Development (DFID) have been putting into operation the SL concept andapproach. Leading proponent Ian Scoones of IDS proposed a modified definition of SL:A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources)and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope withand recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, whilenot undermining the natural resource base.This new definition does not include the requirement that for livelihoods to be consideredsustainable they should also ‘…contribute net benefits to other livelihoods’. With some minor 23
  • 24. changes this is also the definition adopted by DFID. The IDS team also outlined a tentativeframework to analyze sustainable rural livelihoods. It has three elements: Livelihood resources,Livelihood strategies, and Institutional processes and organizational structures. To understandthe complex and differentiated processes through which livelihoods are constructed, Scoonespoints out, it is insufficient just to analyze the different aspects; one must also analyze theinstitutional processes and organizational structures that link these various elements together. Todo this, it is essential that SL analyses fully involve the local people to let their knowledge,perceptions, and interests be heard.THE SL APPROACH TO POVERTYThe various interpretations and elaborations of the SL concept have, in one way or anotherinspired a number of development agencies to apply what is now becoming known as an SLapproach to poverty reduction. This has emerged in response to negative experiences withconventional approaches to poverty reduction, but also as a result of recent findings regardingthe nature and understanding of poverty. Three factors shed light on why the SL approach hasbeen applied to poverty reduction. The first is the realization that while economic growth may beessential for poverty reduction, there is no automatic relationship between the two since it alldepends on the capabilities of the poor to take advantage of expanding economic opportunities.Thus, it is important to find out what precisely it is that prevents or constrains the poor fromimproving their lot in a given situation, so that support activities could be designed accordingly.Secondly, there is the realization that poverty — as conceived by the poor themselves — is notjust a question of low income, but also includes other dimensions such as bad health, illiteracy,lack of social services, etc., as well as a state of vulnerability and feelings of powerlessness ingeneral. Moreover, it is now realized that there are important links between different dimensionsof poverty such that improvements in one have positive effects on another. Raising people’seducational level may have positive effects on their health standards, which in turn may improvetheir production capacity. Reducing poor people’s vulnerability in terms of exposure to risk mayincrease their propensity to engage in previously untested but more productive economicactivities, and so on. 24
  • 25. Finally, it is now recognized that the poor themselves often know their situation and needs bestand must therefore be involved in the design of policies and projects intended to better their lot.Given a say in design, they are usually more committed to implementation. Thus, participationby the poor improves project performance.There are three insights into poverty which underpin this new approach. The first is therealization that while economic growth may be essential for poverty reduction, there is not anautomatic relationship between the two since it all depends on the capabilities of the poor to takeadvantage of expanding economic opportunities. Secondly, there is the realization that poverty— as conceived by the poor themselves — is not just a question of low income, but also includesother dimensions such as bad health, illiteracy, lack of social services, etc., as well as a state ofvulnerability and feelings of powerlessness in general. Finally, it is now recognized that the poorthemselves often know their situation and needs best and must therefore be involved in thedesign of policies and project intended to better their lot.There is no unified approach to applying the SL concept. Depending on the agency it can be usedprimarily as an analytical framework (or tool) for programme planning and assessment or as aprogramme in itself. There are, however, three basic features common to most approaches. Thefirst is that the focus is on the livelihoods of the poor. The second is that the approach rejects thestandard procedure of conventional approaches of taking as an entry point a specific sector suchas agriculture, water, or health. And finally, the SL approach places great emphasis on involvingpeople in both the identification and the implementation of activities where appropriate.In many ways the SL approach is similar to the old Integrated Rural Development approach. Thecrucial difference is that the SL approach does not necessarily aim to address all aspects of thelivelihoods of the poor. The intention is rather to employ a holistic perspective in the analysis oflivelihoods to identify those issues of subject areas where an intervention could be strategicallyimportant for effective poverty reduction, either at the local level or at the policy level.SL APPROACHES COMPARED: UNDP, CARE, DFID 25
  • 26. These three agencies use the SL approach slightly differently.UNDPFor UNDP the SL approach serves primarily as a programming framework to devise a set ofintegrated support activities to improve the sustainability of livelihoods among poor andvulnerable groups by strengthening the resilience of their coping and adaptive strategies.Although this is in principle an open-ended process, certain emphasis is given to the introductionof improved technologies as well as social and economic investments. Policy and governanceissues as they impinge on people’s livelihoods are addressed. The various support activities areorganized as specific SL programmes, usually implemented at a district level with ramificationsat the community and household level.CARECARE’s organizational mandate as an international NGO is to focus its programmes on helpingthe poorest and most vulnerable, either through regular development programmes or throughrelief work. Since 1994 CARE has used Household Livelihood Security (HLS) as a frameworkfor programme analysis, design, monitoring, and evaluation. The concept of HLS derives fromthe classic definition of livelihoods developed by Chambers and Conway (1992), whichembodies three fundamental attributes: the possession of human capabilities (such as education,skills, health, psychological orientation); access to tangible and intangible assets; and theexistence of economic activities. The interaction between these three attributes defines whatlivelihood strategy a household will pursue. CARE puts particular emphasis on strengthening thecapability of poor people to enable them to take initiatives to secure their own livelihoods. Ittherefore stresses empowerment as a fundamental dimension of its approach.DFIDIn 1997 DFID affirmed its overriding aim of ‘eradicating poverty’. 26
  • 27. One of the three specific objectives designed to achieve this aim is a commitment to ‘policiesand actions that promote sustainable livelihoods’ (Carney et al., 1999). DFID’s definitionfollows the one developed by IDS and which in turn is a modified version of the originaldefinition elaborated by Chambers and Conway.DFID’s SL approach aims to increase the agency’s effectiveness in poverty reduction in twomain ways: the first is by mainstreaming a set of core principles which determine that poverty-focused development activity should be people-centred, responsive and participatory, multi-level, conducted in partnership, sustainable, and dynamic. The second is by applying a holisticperspective in the programming of support activities, to ensure that these correspond to issues orareas of direct relevance for improving poor people’s livelihoods. A central element of DFID’sapproach is the SL Framework, an analytical structure to facilitate a broad and systematicunderstanding of the various factors that constrain or enhance livelihood opportunities, and toshow how they relate to each other.STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE SL APPROACHBy drawing attention to the multiplicity of assets that people make use of when constructing theirlivelihoods, the SL Approach produces a more holistic view on what resources, or combinationof resources, are important to the poor, including not only physical and natural resources, butalso their social and human capital. The approach also facilitates an understanding of theunderlying causes of poverty by focusing on the variety of factors, at different levels, thatdirectly or indirectly determine or constrain poor people’s access to resources/assets of differentkinds, and thus their livelihoods.Finally, it provides a more realistic framework for assessing the direct and indirect effects onpeople’s living conditions than, for example, one dimensional productivity or income criteria.THERE ARE ALSO SOME WEAKNESSES. 27
  • 28. None of the SL Approaches discussed here really deal with the issue of how to identify the poorthat you are trying to assist. Also, the way resources and other livelihood opportunities aredistributed locally are often influenced by informal structures of social dominance and powerwithin the communities themselves. UNDP and CARE do not address this issue, but DFIDincludes power relations as one aspect of ‘transforming processes’ to be examined. Gender is anaspect of social relations and to the extent that relations between men and women arecharacterized by marked inequality and social domination, they obviously form part of theproblem. All three agencies give at least some consideration to gender, but the difficulties ofgenuinely giving the appropriate time and space to women is not really addressed.The basic idea of the SL approach is to start with a broad and open-ended analysis, but thisrequires a highly flexible planning situation which rarely exists. The best hope is to ensure thatalready identified/decided sector development initiatives fit with people’s livelihood strategiesand make them better at responding to the constraints and opportunities affecting the poor.The SL approach, or elements of it, could usefully be employed to that end.Finally, the SL approach, if applied consistently, might be beyond the practical realities of manylocal development administrations, with the risk that this approach remains an initiative ofdonors and their consultants. One measure to counteract this would be to ensure that counterpartstaff are involved from the beginning when discussing how and if such a strategy should beapplied, and to train them to use the approach, and/or start with a simplified version of theapproach. 28

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