Sunday, July 25, 2010


Mahatma Gandhi - "The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone's greed". Greedy people cause other people to be poor or poorer through exploitation and corrupt practices. In addition, they reduce the quality and quantity of development actions and the consequent benefits aimed at individuals and communities leaving them worse off or with weaker conditions to manage, mitigate and reduce risk and shocks 
 I have read on the causative factors of poverty and I have come to appreciate that the destination of several activities; whether actively or passively; have two consequences which are either negative or positive and at times both. And even though some actions may be consciously and continuous directed at promoting human welfare they rather worsen the situations of people.

For every individual there are conditions that help in reducing, mitigating and/or coping with risks that may render them vulnerable to improving their wellbeing be it physically, socially, economically and/or politically. All of which affects man’s survival.

It is now accepted that development is both a process and an objective. From one end of this understanding to the other, several actions are concerned which involve the contribution of individuals, groups, societies, civil society, agencies/institutions both private and public as well as international organisations who have interest in development. These actions are also undertaken at the individual, community, district, regional, national and international levels.

These actions demonstrate interventions to safeguard man from the possible risks and shocks of their environment. Therefore people are motivated to build conditions or what livelihood experts would call asserts to cope, mitigate and reduce these shocks and risks. There is no problem with man seeking measures against risks and shocks or man seeking to improve his welfare but there is a problem with these measures if

  • They further lead people to greater risks, lost of assets and render them susceptible to shocks or risk; and
  • Improves the welfare of a section of the society and worsens the other section.

This is what has been my contention. That in most of the actions by both the private and public actors, there exist situations where people are rather made worse off than their previous situation. Prof. Downing conclusively articulates that "development that impoverishes is no development". The concept of sustainable development consolidates my contention particularly the definition by the Cocoyoc declaration which states that their purpose was to re-define the whole idea of development. That man has basic needs namely: education, food, health, and shelter. Therefore any process of development that does not lead to their fulfilment and rather worsen these conditions is a travesty of development.

The issue critical at this stage which I deem a mockery of development is the situation where actions backed by heavy finance are invested to the benefit of just a few section of the society leaving a lot of the society and sometimes a whole society at the verge of losing what enables them to manage and create assets.

Before I move further I would want to explain what development is so that you would better appreciate the concept of “Development Induced Impoverishments”. Development means the process of change and growth in the lives of people and societies at a consistent basis. Change in this respect implies positive consequences that raise people from one state of welfare to a higher state. Therefore, if an individual, a group or an institutions be it public or private implements actions to improve welfare but rather leads to some or all of beneficiaries in a worse state than before then there is the situation of "Development Induced Impoverishment"

The causes of this phenomenon stem from three main perspectives namely from the social side where societies, social norms, values and actions facilitate this phenomenon, the private sector primarily looking at individual households and institutions with personal interests and the public sector where district, regional and national agencies come into play. The consequences of these causative factors are evident in displacements and resettlements, slums and congestions in urban areas, flooding, deforestation, etc. These consequences are enormous and extend beyond national and continental boundaries.

Thus the understanding of development actions that cause impoverishments facilitated the need for knowledge to be shared on this subject matter and other issues of impoverishment. I therefore believe in comprehensiveness of development action, development and distribution; and development, vulnerability, exclusion and risk management. Join expand awareness on "Development Induced Impoverishment" and how these can be mitigated.

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