This study identified covariant and idiosyncratic shocks that made households vulnerable and how these are managed. Using data collected from three districts in Tanzania using qualitative data collection methods (focus group discussions and individual life histories) coupled with key informant interviews, this paper identified major covariant shocks to include those which are weather and agricultural market related, witchcraft and theft of agricultural produce while in the farms. Further, idiosyncratic shocks identified include property grabbing after the death of husband and property loss after divorce/separation, alcoholism, old age vulnerability, serial polygamy, and selling labour on credit. The poor were also found to be vulnerable as measured by the number of meals per day whereby the destitute and very poor groups could afford one meal a day which is even not assured. Major resilience avenues for coping with these shocks include transformation of available physical and human capital and formation of networks. One major latent resilient avenue that needs to be activated is leasing out land. Property transfer and investment on human capital were major ex-ante resilient building processes. The study recommends for promotive and transformative social protection measures in form of measures to increase productivity and legal institutional reforms.
Kessy, F.; Tarmo, V. Exploring resilience avenues for managing covariant and idiosyncratic poverty related shocks: evidence from three districts in Tanzania. CPRC Working Paper 202. Chronic Poverty Research Centre, London, UK (2011) ISBN 978-1-908536-00-6