South Asia poverty monitor

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Introduction

UNDP has taken an initiative to publish SOUTH ASIA POVERTY MONITOR periodically to assess the poverty situation at national grassroots level through the existing national expertise in South Asia. As part of this initiative a country report will be prepared for Bangladesh as well. The Bangladesh country report will be prepared through both quantitative and qualitative approach. Unnayan Shamannay is proposing to conduct the qualitative part of the study.

Rationale for Qualitative Approach

Statistical data do help very little in understanding what the variation means. Qualitative data, on the other hand, “illustrate the value of detailed, descriptive data in deepening our understanding of individual variation….They give rise synergistically to insights and solutions that would not come about without them” (Palton 1990:15-17)

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Qualitative approach “can provide a depth of understanding of the issues associated with poverty that the more formal and statistically valid approaches may not. This class of studies includes the increasingly popular techniques of rapid and participatory rural appraisal and beneficiary assessment” (WB 1992: 8-4).

Objectives

The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. Assess poverty through qualitative methodology
  2. Complement the quantitative approach with qualitative one.
  3. Add qualitative dimension to the Bangladesh Country Report.

Scope

The scope of this qualitative study will be to:

  1. Identify indicators of poverty through a participatory approach
  2. Identify and monitor changes in the poverty situation
  3. Assess the impact of some of the poverty alleviation measures
  4. Analyse the findings

Topics/Issues to be Addressed

Poverty profile and poverty indicators are some of the important components of poverty assessment. Poverty assessment will be carried out in participatory manner. Broad topics on the extent of poverty, identification of sub-groups, nature of poverty, characteristics of the poor and risk management have been included in the proposed research agenda. Moreover, poverty monitoring will also be conducted periodically and it will act as a barometer to measure the changes in various socio-economic and welfare indicators relating to the lives of the poorest households.

Methods to be Used

All major qualitative research methods will be used in the study. Interview will be extensively used in the study including its key variants, namely participatory group discussion, focus group discussion, standardised open-ended interview and case study. In addition to interview, other methods of qualitative inquiry, namely observation and document analysis will also be made use of in the study.

Selection of Sample Areas

Qualitative exercises will be conducted in both urban and rural settings of the country. To cover the greater diversity in socio-economic environments, three different regional configurations of northern, central and southern parts of the country would be accommodated in the study.

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