Drought / East Africa / Food Security / ILRI / Kenya / Report

Why is it some households fall into poverty while others do not? Evidence from Kenya

This Discussion Paper by Nelson Mango, Patti Kristjanson, Maren Radeny, Abisalom Omolo and Michael Arunga of  ILRI and Anirudh Krishna on Why is it some households fall into poverty at the same time others are escaping poverty? Evidence from Kenya was released on 11 August, 2009.

It presents study carried out to evaluate how different households have fared over time in the communities. The aim of the study was to determine the proportions of households that Why is it some households fall into poverty at the same time others are escaping poverty? The study presents results from a study of poverty dynamics across Kenya using a participatory poverty assessment methodology known as the ‘Stages of Progress Methodology.’ This method is a relatively rapid, effective and participatory way to learn about poverty processes at both community and household levels. The approach generates very useful information for identifying the poor, and for understanding the factors that push people into and pull them out of poverty. Using this methodology, the typical stages through which people progress out of poverty were elicited for 71 Kenyan communities and 4773 households. The discussion of the different stages, and the order in which they occur, provoked lively debate among assembled villagers. The findings show that in virtually all 71 communities, house-holds progress out of poverty first by acquiring food, followed by obtaining adequate clothing, making improvements in their shelter, securing primary education for their children, starting small businesses. The paper presents the results of recent investigations, carried out specifically to gain knowledge about the reasons underlying poverty. Reasons for escape and reasons for descent operating in each livelihood region of Kenya were identified through a careful examination of poverty dynamics.

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