This paper explores children’s understandings of poverty, ill-being and well-being in Ethiopia using data collected through group exercises with children aged 5–6 and 11–13 participating in Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty. In some respects the characteristics of poverty reported by children resemble those reported by adults participating in similar exercises. However, the children’s addition of appearance and clothing, and their explanations of the reasoning behind the importance of these indicators of well-being reflect growing inequalities in Ethiopia, where experiences of relative poverty and social exclusion are increasingly common. This evidence argues for broadening the focus of child poverty reduction to include the psychosocial costs of lacking the culturally specific resources required for full participation in society. The paper also illustrates ways in which poverty can be explored by asking about ill-being and that children as young as five years are able to address these themes through well-designed research methods.
Children and Society (2010) 24 (4) 271-281 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2010.00311.x]