HEARD discussion: Inequality in the context of South Africa


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  • SA is popularly described as the most unequal country in the world.As a middle income country, on average we are not as poor as many other countries, but the distribution of that income is problematic – large groups with low income levels – something that is masked when we look just at the average income levels in SA.
  • Although the indicators we have suggested, cover WASH to a large degree too, because of the overlap.The reports we have done is part of a three year process.
  • Part of the big picture perspective, may be to provide high level guidance on where need is greater. This could be used to guide xfam, but won’t necessarily be used in decisions of support for one partner over another.High level advocacy work – placing the work and the groups that Oxfam works with in the greater socioeconomic context – using the research we have done to produce some popular reporting that would be useful in highlighting the situation of certain population groups.Won’t feed into the M&E framework as outcome measures as these measures are population level and there is very little chance that the excellent work that partners do, on the ground will impact on inequality, even at district level.
  • Now that the first phase – the written reports – is complete, Oxfam is busy considering some of the recommendations we have made.Why?To get a sense of how these concept “fit” with you work, programmes and the groups you are working with.To get off the same starting blocks in this process.
  • Vulnerability is not really used in the context of health – as health is an input into livelihoods, so we have not gone into that in this context.
  • Vulnerability is not really used in the context of health – as health is an input into livelihoods,
  • Explain what we mean by characteristics. (gender, age, …)In taking notes on this we need to tease out that the person you describe depends on what you see people are being vulnerable to.
  • Be ready to explain why inequality may not be that useful.Be ready to discuss how access to various things among the poor and vulnerable is more relevant than knowing there is a great inequality in it. – linked to the point of needing to consider vulnerability.
  • HEARD discussion: Inequality in the context of South Africa

    1. 1. Developing measures for Oxfam South Africa: inequality, inequity & vulnerability. Tami McKenzie & Nicola Deghaye Workshop with Oxfam partners: 15 November 2012
    2. 2. IntroductionOxfam recognises inequality is at the heart of theSouth African „development problem‟.It is critical that Oxfam addresses inequality ifthey are to achieve the development outcomesneeded to improve the lives of all people livingand working in South Africa.
    3. 3. IntroductionHEARD has produced 2 reports for Oxfam:Phase 1 September 2012: • propose an overarching definition of inequality • outline the most common types of inequality • propose some appropriate inequality measures to be used in the Oxfam program in South AfricaPhase 2 November 2012: • To describe the dimensions of inequality in health, gender & livelihoods • To propose a set of inequality indicators for health, gender and livelihoods
    4. 4. IntroductionThis work is intended to: •Provide a context for the work Oxfam does. •To provide a ‘big picture’ for what Oxfam is doing and the possible impact its programme could have. •To (possibly) assist Oxfam in high level advocacy work. •NOT intended to be used to evaluate partners work.
    5. 5. IntroductionThe aims for today: • Different to what was advertised. • Instead of presenting a set of indicators, we want to have a broad discussion about inequality, inequity and vulnerability. • Why?
    6. 6. Small group discussion 1 1. What is your understanding of the terms inequality, inequity and vulnerability? 2. Which of these do you consider most important for the organisation you work for and why? (20 min discussion, 10 min report back)
    7. 7. Definitions:Inequality, inequity & vulnerabilityInequality: • concerns multidimensional difference or disparity across a population (e.g. In income or education)Inequity: • is concerned about whether the distribution (e.g. income or education) is fair. Involves a value judgment.Vulnerability: • refers to the exposure and sensitivity to livelihood shocks and indicates the likelihood of an adverse reaction to various risks or to a disastrous event .
    8. 8. An example:measuring inequality in health.Inequality in life expectancy at birth:• What are the differences in LE at birth between: • Richest 20% and poorest 20%. • By gender • By race • By level of education attained • By province or district?
    9. 9. An example (cont.): measuring inequity inlife expectancy at birth.• Are the differences in LE at birth between groups FAIR: • Between the richest 20% and poorest 20% • By gender • By race • By level of education attained • By province or district?• Or “are these differences unnecessary, unavoidable, unfair”? (EQUINET, 1998)
    10. 10. Vulnerability and life expectancy at birth.• Health and vulnerability are linked.• Poor health and low life expectancy may cause vulnerability.• Vulnerability generally concerns access to resources („the 5 capitals‟) • Physical Capital • Human Capital • Social Capital • Natural Capital • Financial Capital
    11. 11. Small group discussion 2(Building on the concept of vulnerability).• Identify the characteristics of a person you consider vulnerable.• Describe this person. (10 mins)
    12. 12. Small group discussion 2• Which groups of people do you work with and why?• How does that match up with the person you just described as vulnerable?(10 min discussion)Report back (10 min)
    13. 13. Conclusion • Started by looking at inequality • Realised that inequality and inequality measures themselves may not be so useful. • Within health inequity probably more relevant. • Need to consider vulnerability. • Your input from today‟s discussion, together with the HEARD reports will determine the way forward for Oxfam (in terms of identifying exactly what will be measured and why).