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 Institute and Chronic Poverty Research Centre The University of Manchester - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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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 Institute and Chronic Poverty Research Centre The University of Manchester

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Title: 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 Institute and Chronic Poverty Research Centre The University of Manchester


1
What Do the Poor Value?Exploring the Social
Well-being and the Elements of a Good Life of
the Poor in Egypt Dr. Solava IbrahimBrooks
World Poverty Instituteand Chronic Poverty
Research CentreThe University of Manchester
2
Is It enough that Development Policies score
highly in Macro-indicators or should these
Policies enhance the Actual and Perceived
Well-being of the Poor?
2
3
Development processes should be embedded
in peoples values and grounded in their
experiences. Policymakers need to rethink their
priorities, account for what the poor value
anddesign more relevant and effective policies
that promote the capabilities of the poor.
.
Main Argument
3
4
Key Questions
  • Why 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 Life
  • Why 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
5
1
Why is the CA a suitable Framework for
assessing Well-being?
5
6
Capability Approach as Conceptual Framework for
Well-being Assessment
  • Putting Freedom at the Centre
  • Accounting for Inter-cultural and Inter-personal
    variations
  • Broadening the Informational Space of Well-being
  • Emphasizing Social Justice and Equality
  • Calling for Democratic Processes and Public
    Discussions

6
7
How can the Values of the Poor be articulated?
2
7
8
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.
8
9
How 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 seriously
  • Generate 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)

10
There is an URGENT need to build a database of
the Poors Voices! Why are these Studies
one-offs?
11
The Starting Point is the Definition of a
Capability the various freedoms or choices
that a person values and has reason to value
11
12
Exploring the Poors Values and Achievements
  • Do you value?
  • Why do you value..?
  • 3. Have you succeeded in achieving ..?
  • 4. Why have/havent you succeeded in achieving.?

12
13
Exploring Different Well-being Dimensions
  • General Well-being Life Satisfaction, Elements
    of a Good Life, Poors Problems, Unfulfilled
    Capabilities
  • Material Well-being Income, Education,
    Employment, Health, Housing, Transportation,
    Safety
  • Social Well-being Social respect and Fair
    Treatment, Family and Friends, Communal trust,
    Relationship with formal institutions (the state,
    NGOs and religious organizations), Political
    freedom
  • Mental 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 Poor

13
14
Applying the New Methodology Egypt as Case
Study
  • Two Fieldwork Sites
  • Manshiet Nasser Poorest Urban Slum in Cairo
  • Menia Rural Villages in Upper Egypt
  • Sampling
  • Stratified Random Sampling Age and Gender
  • Snowballing

14
15
3
What do the Poor Value? Elements of a Good
Life
15
16
Elements of a Good Life
Belief in God 23.8
Income 15.0
Housing 10.0
Peace of Mind/Satisfaction 8.8
Jobs 7.5
Family 7.5
Children 6.3
Health 3.8
Partner 3.8
Education 3.8
Safe Surrounding (local and national) 3.8
Social Relations/Engagement 2.5
Personal Traits 2.5
Food 1.3
Total 100.0
16
17
Do the Poors Perceptions of Well-being
differ across Regions and Societies?
17
18
Elements of a Good Life Rural vs. Urban
Manshiet Nasser (urban slum) Menia (rural villages)
1. Belief in God 1. Belief in God
2. Income / Housing 2. Income
3. Peace of Mind and Satisfaction / Jobs 3. Family
4. Education/ Safe surrounding 4. Children
5. Social Engagement/ Good Partner 5. Peace of Mind/Satisfaction/ Housing
6. Health/ Family/ Children/ Food 6. Health/Good Character/ Jobs/Good Partner
18
19
Elements of a Good Life Egypt vs. South Africa
Elements of a Good Life (My General list) Elements of a Good Life (Clark, 2002, 172)
1. Income 1. Jobs
2. Belief in God 2. Housing
3. Jobs 3. Education
4. Happy Family 4. Income
5. Housing 5. Good Family
6. Social Relations/ Peace of Mind/Satisfaction 6. Living a religious/Christian life
19
20
4
Why are Social Relations important for the
Poor?
20
21
Valuing Social Relations
  • Intrinsic Reasons
  • Natural importance human beings are social by
    nature
  • Social capital as compensation for material
    deprivation
  • Religious 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 capital
  • Economic functions, e.g. finding jobs
    exchanging skills
  • Spill-over effect on other Capabilities, e.g.
    education.

22
Valuing 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 women
  • Promoting feelings of self-worth
  • Heritage 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.

23
5
Why is difficult for the Poor to engage in
Collective Action?
23
24
Why 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!

25
Why 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

26
Reasons for Limited Collective Action
  • Lack of Awareness
  • Lack of Funds
  • Unable to Appear in Public without Shame
  • Husbands Refusal

27
Participation 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

28
6
What does all this mean for Policymakers?
28
29
  • 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?

29
30
Policy Implications
  1. Do not assume that we know what the poor value
    or want
  2. 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!
  3. Do not only undertake philosophical or empirical
    explorations of well-being, these explorations
    should be grounded and based on the voices of
    the poor.
  4. Do not reject the capability approach, it can be
    a wider and more comprehensive framework for
    well-being assessment.
  5. Do not exclude qualitative methods just because
    they are more difficult to implement, but rather
    build up new qualitative databases.

31
Policy Implications
  • Do 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.

32
Policy Implications
  • Do 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 first
  • Work with local and religious leaders and the
    elderly in poor communities
  • Target the youth
  • Do not dominate! Donors and NGOs should be
    facilitators between the state and the poor to
    build a real and equal partnership between them.

33
ConclusionNeed to Learn to Listen to the
Voices of the Poor, Respect what They value and
Build on their Human Agency
34
Thank You
35
Questions or Comments ?
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