Confronting Crisis: A Summary of Household Responses to by Caroline O. N. Moser

By Caroline O. N. Moser

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Additional resources for Confronting Crisis: A Summary of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four, Poor Urban Communities (Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series)

Sample text

Just as World Development Report 1990: Poverty used that device to humanize its statistical portraits of poverty, these concrete examples show different aspects of the life of the poor, bringing to life the multifaceted reality of their struggle for existence. The study analyzed four urban communities in four very different regions: Chawawa, in Lusaka, Zambia; Cisne Dos, in Guayaquil, Ecuador; Commonwealth, in Metro Manila, the Philippines; and Angyalföld, in Budapest, Hungary. Although these four case studies revealed interesting contrasts, they also showed important similarities, distilled in six key findings: 1.

As public investment in infrastructure has declined, people have increasingly come to prefer private services, perceived to be of higher quality. In Chawama and Cisne Dos, for example, half of those who were ill in 1992 opted for private health care. But what the decline in public spending also means is that the quality of services that a household can obtain, and the accessibility of those services, have become a function of its ability to pay, with nonpoor households better able than poor ones to replace public services with private.

The opportunities that housing, particularly if owned, provides for home-based enterprises are especially important for home-bound women, allowing them to contribute to household income. The success of such enterprises, however, depends on access to assets that complement home ownership, such as electricity, water, skills, and credit. Differences in the poverty reduction achieved through home-based enterprises reflect initial disparities in households' access to such assets. In Chawama households have been able to cushion themselves against extreme poverty through home-based enterprises, and in Commonwealth households have been able to raise their income levels considerably.

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