Presentation on theme: "What Do the Poor Value? Exploring the Social Well-being and the Elements of a Good Life of the Poor in Egypt Dr. Solava Ibrahim Brooks World Poverty."— Presentation transcript:
1What Do the Poor Value? Exploring the Social Well-being and the Elements of a Good Life of the Poor in Egypt Dr. Solava Ibrahim Brooks World Poverty Institute and Chronic Poverty Research Centre The University of Manchester
2Actual and Perceived Well-being of the Poor? Is It enough that Development Policies ‘score’ highly in Macro-indicators or should these Policies enhance theActual and Perceived Well-being of the Poor?22
3Main ArgumentDevelopment processes should be embedded in people’s values and grounded in their experiences. Policymakers need to rethink their priorities, account for ‘what the poor value’ and design more relevant and effective policies that promote the capabilities of the poor3
4Key QuestionsWhy is the CA a suitable framework for assessing well-being?How can the Values of the Poor be articulated?What do the Poor Value? – Elements of a Good LifeWhy are Social Relations important for the Poor?Why is it difficult for the Poor to engage in Collective Action?What does all this mean for Policymakers?4
5a suitable Framework for assessing Well-being? 1Why is the CAa suitable Framework for assessing Well-being?55
6Capability Approach as Conceptual Framework for Well-being Assessment Putting Freedom at the CentreAccounting for Inter-cultural and Inter-personal variationsBroadening the Informational Space of Well-beingEmphasizing Social Justice and EqualityCalling for Democratic Processes and Public Discussions66
7How can the Values of the Poor be articulated?277
8in each cultural and social context. Instead of going to the ‘Southern field’ to test ‘Northern theories’, the methodology needs to generate a list of‘what the poor value’in each cultural and social context.88
9How can the Values of the Poor be articulated? Methodologies developed to articulate Well-being Perceptions: e.g.Narayan et.al., 2000a; 2000b; WeD group in Bath, Clark, 2002;Semerci, 2004; Anand, Hunter and Smith 2005; Anand and van Hees, 2006.Take the ideas of the poor seriouslyGenerate a list of ‘elements of a good life’ through deliberative processes‘A Person who is not Poor who pronounces on what matters to those who are Poor is in a Trap’ (Chambers, 1997, 163)
10There is an URGENT need to build a database of the Poor’s Voices There is an URGENT need to build a database of the Poor’s Voices! Why are these Studies – one-offs?
11the Definition of a Capability: The Starting Point isthe Definition of a Capability:the various freedoms or “choices” that a person values and has reason to value1111
12Exploring the Poor’s Values and Achievements Do you value………?Why do you value……..?3. Have you succeeded in achieving ………..?4. Why have/haven’t you succeeded in achieving.?CapabilityFunctioningConversionFactorsSo, aid is down.The question is, can aid be made more effective?1212
13Exploring Different Well-being Dimensions General Well-being: Life Satisfaction, Elements of a Good Life, Poor’s Problems, Unfulfilled “Capabilities”Material Well-being: Income, Education, Employment, Health, Housing, Transportation, SafetySocial Well-being: Social respect and Fair Treatment, Family and Friends, Communal trust, Relationship with formal institutions (the state, NGOs and religious organizations), Political freedomMental Well-being: Leisure and Free Time, Life Planning, Fears and Worries.Missing Dimensions: Completing any missing Dimensions of Well-being through the Voices of the Poor1313
14Applying the New Methodology: Egypt as Case StudyTwo Fieldwork Sites:Manshiet Nasser: Poorest Urban Slum in CairoMenia: Rural Villages in Upper EgyptSampling:Stratified Random Sampling: Age and GenderSnowballing1414
153What do the Poor Value?Elements of a Good Life1515
16Elements of a Good Life 23.8 Belief in God 15.0 Income 10.0 Housing Peace of Mind/Satisfaction8.8Jobs7.5FamilyChildren6.3Health3.8PartnerEducationSafe Surrounding (local and national)Social Relations/Engagement2.5Personal TraitsFood1.3Total100.01616
17Do the Poor’s Perceptions of across Regions and Societies? Well-being differacross Regions and Societies?1717
18Elements of a Good Life: Rural vs. Urban Manshiet Nasser(urban slum)Menia(rural villages)1. Belief in God2. Income / Housing2. Income3. Peace of Mind and Satisfaction / Jobs3. Family4. Education/ Safe surrounding4. Children5. Social Engagement/ Good Partner5. Peace of Mind/Satisfaction/ Housing6. Health/ Family/ Children/ Food6. Health/Good Character/ Jobs/Good Partner1818
19Elements of a Good Life: Egypt vs. South Africa (My General list)(Clark, 2002, 172)1. Income1. Jobs2. Belief in God2. Housing3. Jobs3. Education4. Happy Family4. Income5. Housing5. Good Family6. Social Relations/ Peace of Mind/Satisfaction6. Living a religious/Christian life1919
20Why are Social Relations important for the Poor? 4Why are Social Relations important for the Poor?2020
21Valuing Social Relations Intrinsic Reasons:Natural importance: ‘human beings are social by nature’;Social capital as compensation for material deprivationReligious blessing: ‘Love is from God. Jesus taught us, love thy neighbour as thyself’.Instrumental Reasons:Mutual support: Family (52.5%), Family and Friends (13.8%), Friends (7.5%), Neighbours (2.5%)Catalysts for Social Mobility, esp. bridging social capitalEconomic functions, e.g. finding jobs & exchanging skillsSpill-over effect on other Capabilities, e.g. education.
22Valuing Social Relations Instrumental Reasons:Enhancing psychological well-being: ‘life without people is like a paradise that no one would wish to enter’.Problem sharing, esp. for womenPromoting feelings of self-worthHeritage that the poor can leave for their children: ‘having good social relations allows me to leave a good legacy for my children after I die’.Social relations are important not only for economic reasons, but also for enhancing the social and mental well-being of the poor and their feelings of security.
23Why is difficult for the Poor to engage in Collective Action? 5Why is difficult for the Poor to engage in Collective Action?2323
24Why is Collective Action Difficult? Given Limited Time, Self-interest First‘working hours render collective action rather difficult as people work day and night’‘Self-interested’ Cooperation Only‘people expect something in return from collective action’Lack of Communal Trust‘people betray each other these days!’
25Why is Collective Action Difficult? A Culture of Collective Action?‘people are not used to undertaking collective action’Mistrusting the Government‘working with political parties only serves these parties, not the public’No Belief in a Common Goal‘everyone has his/her own ideas and believes they are right’
26Reasons for Limited Collective Action Lack of AwarenessLack of Funds‘Unable to Appear in Public without Shame’Husband’s Refusal
27Participation in Collective Action: Yes! Sense of Belonging to their Area‘people see that there is something wrong with their area and they want to fix it’Religious/ Moral Motives‘people participate to get reward from God’Support of External Actors & Local Leaders‘the elderly encourage us to act collectively’‘NGO projects make people get used to collective activities’
28What does all this mean for Policymakers? 6What does all this mean for Policymakers?2828
29However, how is this possible in practice? Policymakers need to:Prioritize the elements of a good life that the poor value,Design policies that help the poor tap on social relations,Encourage the poor to undertake acts of collective action.However, how is this possible in practice?2929
30Policy ImplicationsDo not assume that we know ‘what the poor value or want’Do not claim that ‘the poor do not know what is good for them’. If the poor do not know what is good for them, then we will definitely not know either!Do not only undertake philosophical or empirical explorations of well-being, these explorations should be grounded and based on the ‘voices of the poor’.Do not reject the capability approach, it can be a wider and more comprehensive framework for well-being assessment.Do not exclude ‘qualitative’ methods just because they are more difficult to implement, but rather build up new ‘qualitative’ databases.
31Policy ImplicationsDo not design irrelevant policies. Policies should address what the poor value e.g. in Egypt four key policy areas: income, jobs, family and housing.Do not assess the effectiveness of policies solely by macro-indicators. Policies should be assessed by the extent to which they help the poor achieve what they value.Do not only identify the elements the poor value, but also understand why the poor value these elements.For example, if the poor value employment for intrinsic reasons, providing them with unemployment allowance is not enough for enhancing their well-being.
32Policy ImplicationsDo not undermine the importance of social relations, but carefully assess the impact of policies on them and examine how they can improve the effectiveness of policies.Do not leave the poor with no systems of support, instead work on strengthening possible means of supporting them, e.g. through religious and civil society organizations.Do not assume the poor cannot undertake collective action, but rather understand the importance of sequencing for the success of collective action among the poor:Improve their living conditions firstWork with local and religious leaders and the elderly in poor communitiesTarget the youthDo not dominate! Donors and NGOs should be facilitators between the state and the poor to build a real and equal partnership between them.
33Conclusion Need to Learn to ‘Listen’ to the Voices of the Poor, ‘Respect’ what They value and ‘Build on’ their Human Agency