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Putting Children First: Session 1.6.B Elaine Chase, Grace Bantebya & Florence Muhanguzi - Shame-proofing anti-poverty programmes [23-Oct-17]


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Putting Children First: Identifying solutions and taking action to tackle poverty and inequality in Africa.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23-25 October 2017

This three-day international conference aimed to engage policy makers, practitioners and researchers in identifying solutions for fighting child poverty and inequality in Africa, and in inspiring action towards change. The conference offered a platform for bridging divides across sectors, disciplines and policy, practice and research.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Putting Children First: Session 1.6.B Elaine Chase, Grace Bantebya & Florence Muhanguzi - Shame-proofing anti-poverty programmes [23-Oct-17]

  1. 1. Children’s experiences of poverty-related shame: Implications for anti-poverty policies Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo & Florence Kyoheirwe Muhanguzi (School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University) Elaine Chase (University College London Institute of Education) ‘Putting Children First’ Conference 23-25 October 2017, Addis Ababa
  2. 2. Children in extreme poverty • Reported recovery and economic growth in SSA over the last two decades BUT • Marginal reduction in poverty at grassroots level • 52% of 385 million children living in extremely poor households in 2013 were from SSA • Uganda: 55% of children aged 0-5 years; 30% of the children aged 6-17 years
  3. 3. Psychosocial impacts of poverty : Shame Poverty Low self worth Shame (ashamed) Lack of agency Shaming Policy & Society Social exclusion Low social capital
  4. 4. Methodology • Part of larger study : Shame, Poverty and Social Exclusion: A comparative study in seven countries: • Poverty-Shame nexus in cultural media • Lived experiences of poverty • Analysis of anti-poverty policies • Interviews with children in Uganda, India and UK • 30 children and young people • Not core focus of study but lays foundation for further work in this field
  5. 5. Spaces and dynamics of shame • Different spaces • Homes ( types of housing, lack of basic needs, reflection on parents) • School (rubber shoes ‘nigina’; no lunch; no uniforms or equipment) • Community (can’t hide your poverty so avoid social functions) • Internal and external • Vectors (reflect parents and home) • Mediators (protect family/parents; altruistic narrative)
  6. 6. Home as an arena of shaming Which father fails to build his children a decent house? Can you call this a home? Sometimes I regret why I was born here (Gofrey, age 18, Uganda) My parents separated and my fathers’ hut got burnt. I live in a grass thatched makeshift structure with my mother. It is also in a poor condition. When friends come to visit I feel very ashamed. (Rose, age 14, Uganda)
  7. 7. School as an arena of shaming The head teacher sent me home to remind my parents about the examination fees balance that I owed. He categorically told me not to return to school without the money. I went home feeling rather low not only because my classmates remained learning, but also for being exposed as a school fees defaulter. My father gave me the money after two days but declined to escort me back to school as requested by the Head teacher. I have a feeling the purpose of summoning him was to shame him as well (Irene, age 16, Uganda) If you don’t have a piece of correct uniform, they will send you home to get changed. I decided that because I haven’t got any school trousers at the minute I’m not going to come in until I get them. What they’re not understanding is that I can’t always go out and buy new things that I need…I don’t like the teachers, I think they’re cruel (Harry, age 14, UK)
  8. 8. School as an arena of shaming Yes I know, mid-day meals (uchakkanji) are available in the school. Somehow I am not comfortable and I don’t like to go for mid-day meal in the school. Because, no one else in my class goes. Therefore, I feel shame thinking what others will think about me. If at least one student goes, I too will go for the lunch (Shani, Age 12, Gujarat, India)
  9. 9. Community as an arena of shaming I was grossly embarrassed and rudely reminded of my poverty. I sneaked away in the middle of the function and returned home crying. I’ve vowed never to attend any function in the community again (Rebecca, aged 16, Uganda) My parents income is very low, we are always hungry and poor, I feel ashamed by engaging in casual labour to supplement family income. (Bernard ,aged 16 Uganda)
  10. 10. Implications for anti-poverty policies Gubrium et al (2014) ‘The Shame of It’ – • Framing, design and implementation are key phases for shame- proofing policies • Being aware of unintended consequences: • Universal primary education --- ‘ schools for the poor’ • Free school meals • Rubber shoes (Uganda); labelled equipment (India) as symbols of poverty
  11. 11. Shame-proofing policies for children in poverty • Work is beginning to highlight the impact of shame on the experience of poverty and possible implications for policy (Walker, 2014; Chase and Bantebya, 2015) • Children experience, channel and mediate shame in their daily lives • The impact of shame on children living in poverty remains invisible in policy and programming • Emerging evidence suggests that the psychosocial impacts of poverty on children may be significant (e.g Ridge; Dornan & Orgando) • What implications for the framing, structure and delivery of policies: • How and in what ways might anti-poverty policies have a detrimental impact on child psychosocial wellbeing (labeling, stigmatising , accentuating difference) • What would policies look like if we apply a shame-proofing lens from the perspective of children ? • E.g Poverty-proofing the school day (UK)