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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Study conducted for the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Society for International Development (SID) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
Title Poverty analysis in Kenya: ten years on
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
URL http://www.worldbank.org/afr/padi/Poverty Analysis in Kenya by John Mukui.pdf
Abstract
he wide range of poverty analysis conducted in Kenya in the last ten years is mainly based on the nationwide surveys conducted by the CBS within the framework of the welfare monitoring surveys (1992, 1994 and 1997). Further work was undertaken to ‘explain’ poverty through participatory poverty assessments (1994, 1996 and 2001), and social policy studies conducted in selected districts by the GTZ-SPAS project. The government has in the recent past made attempts to improve on poverty analysis through the use of poverty maps so as to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of poverty eradication programs at the grassroots level. The purpose of this study is to document how the poverty reports and maps have influenced national and sectoral policy decisions and allocations of resources in favor of the poor, and whether the poverty data is adequate or presented in formats useful to the design and programming of anti-poverty programs. The study is based on a small sample of institutions, Government departments and research institutes, and is therefore illustrative rather than comprehensive. Some of the independent poverty studies emphasize the need to guard against geographic determinism in explaining patterns of persistent poverty, the importance of assets as a measure of poverty, and the role of assets in economic resilience of households against shocks. The studies also underscore the importance of micro-level studies to supplement national poverty statistics, and the thin dividing line between quantitative and qualitative approaches to poverty analysis. Some of the concerns relating to definition and measurement of poverty include whether to include socioeconomic indicators (e.g. nutrition, shelter, clothing, food) and accounting for own production (as failure to do so could overstate poverty). There has been rapid growth in prominence of qualitative techniques of poverty appraisal. The application of both techniques separately often yields quite different results. However, in Kenya, there have been attempts at combining both approaches e.g. the WMS and the PPAs. More recently, the poverty maps prepared on the basis of quantitative information have been used in the selection of areas for detailed qualitative analysis. Some of the reasons why development interventions had not succeeded in reducing poverty include poor prioritization (which leads to waste), lack of flexibility in the government budgetary procedures, lack of legal framework for stakeholders’ participation in planning and implementation, incomplete decentralization that does not empower the beneficiary communities, and people do not identify with the projects because the planning process is not participatory. In addition, Government and donors have in the past provided solutions to community problems without community participation. A common comment was that bottom-up planning would not succeed under the current system of devolving power to the government structures at district and lower levels of the provincial administration. The poverty maps are widely interpreted as part of Government’s overall efforts on equality and socioeconomic agenda. The poverty maps were described as useful in identification of the poor, cuts down the costs of identification of the poor in project selection, will reduce misdirection of resources, and help people at the grassroots to understand and evaluate their situation and take remedial actions. Such targeting is likely to reduce the scope for corruption in allocation of funds, as there will be fairly objective basis for making allocation of funds at the local level. The poverty maps provide an in-depth analysis of specific hotspots of poverty chaos, and thus streamline stakeholder collaboration in selection of projects. There was general agreement that poor people should be encouraged to participate in governance, human rights issues and policy formulation. Pro-poor policies should include access to social amenities by the poor (e.g. water, health and education), while giving due attention to inequality between sexes, regions, and income classes. They suggested that there should be a right mix in policy to address both inequality and growth, as poverty is not equally shared. It was recommended that future poverty maps should include livelihoods (e.g. land use patterns), soils, financial institutions, roads, markets, social infrastructure (schools, hospitals), and the relationship between poverty and the ecosystem (e.g. forests and vegetation cover). The maps should also indicate the sources of income in particular areas. Some of the potential uses of poverty maps were cited as education policy (distances to school, enrolment, relationship between enrolment and poverty, test scores by poverty incidence) and relationship between rainfall variability and poverty as most people in the rural areas depend on rain-fed agriculture. However, some of the causes of poverty were cited as lack of credit facilities, poor marketing system, mismanagement of resources, political interference in resource allocations, quality and availability of agricultural extension services, and cultural practices, all of which are difficult to include in the maps

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