The face of chronic poverty in Uganda as seen by the poor themselves.


This study examines the factors influencing chronic poverty in Uganda. The findings are based on participatory poverty assessments conducted in 23 peri-urban / urban and 57 rural sites in 21 districts. It examines definitions of chronic poverty, the types of people who are chronically poor and why; opportunities and constraints for moving out of poverty; the effects of government policies; and suggestions for improvements. Chronic poverty was described as a state of perpetual need\" \"due to a lack of the basic necessities\" and the \"means of production\"; social support; and feelings of frustration and powerlessness. For many, it was inter-generationally transmitted and of long duration. Multiple compounding factors, such as attitude, access to productive resources, weather conditions, HIV/AIDS, physical infirmity and gender, worsened the severity of poverty. The major categories of the chronically poor included the disabled, widows, chronic poor married women, street kids and orphans, the elderly, the landless, casual labourers, refugees and the internally displaced and youth. Factors that maintain the poor in poverty included the lack of productive assets, exploitation and discrimination, lack of opportunities, low education and lack of skills, ignorance, weather, disability or illness, and disempowerment. For the chronically poor, GOU policies and practices - taxation, land tenure, market liberalisation, civil service reform and privatisation - were reported to maintain them in poverty. Aspects of local governance, such as corruption, poor information flow, lack of consultation, and high taxation were also maintainers of ignorance and poverty. The chronically poor do not participate in development opportunities, because they lack confidence, prerequisite assets or capital, and therefore they remain poor. Women may be doubly or triply disadvantaged. Examination of the impact on government policies on the chronically poor revealed that even when these policies are pro-poor they either do not reach those living in chronic poverty or the chronically poor cannot benefit from these policies. Careful targeting may be required. Poor implementation of \"good policies\" was also show to contribute to the chronically poor \"missing out\" on development. Efforts to relieve corruption and to heighten information flow to the poor would greatly assist. Enhancing opportunities, the chronically poor's capabilities and their ability to access these, as well as facilitating empowerment of them were recommended as key in moving people out of chronic poverty. Lastly, insecurity has devastated the lives of people, especially in northern Uganda. The poor here requested the government to uphold the second pillar of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan and secure their future.


The face of chronic poverty in Uganda as seen bythe poor themselves, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 35 pp.

The face of chronic poverty in Uganda as seen by the poor themselves.

Published 1 January 2003