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Urban Poverty and Coping Strategies of Urban Poor the Case of Adama city Gosa Lema (MPA)
This thesis explores urban poverty and the coping strategies of the urban poor in the slums areas of Adama. It seeks to make a contribution to understanding and analysis of the phenomenon of rapid mass urbanization and its social consequences, the formation of huge urban slums and new forms of urban poverty. Its focus is the analysis of poverty which has been overwhelmingly dominated by economic approaches to the neglect of the social questions arising from poverty.
The study is based on primary data collected from slums area in Adama. Two hundred poor households were surveyed and 180 respondents were fully complete and return the questionnaire. This was conducted by using a structured questionnaire to investigate the demographic, economic activities, expenditure and consumption, housing, family and social networking. The survey data was supplemented by some qualitative data collected through unstructured interviews with poor households.
The thesis found that poverty in the slums of Adama was most strongly influenced by, participation in the informal’ sector of the economy, income, infrastructures, access to quality housing and other.
Almost it is possible to call poor people found in slum area in the city are absolute poor’, those who experienced poverty and vulnerability. In summary, the urban poor remain very much dependent on their household and social networking, the main social capital they use to adapt to life in Adama City. Overall, the urban poor in this study experience the highest level of poverty and vulnerability in their everyday life.
Key words: Household, urban poverty, Slum, coping strategies,
Rural to urban migration has created rapid urbanization especially in sub-Saharan Africa countries concurrently with slow economic growth over the past decades. The number of populations in Africans living in urban has been increased from last 60 years (United Nations, 2010). The urban poverty debate engaged the issue of restructuring and household strategies during the last decade. Sassen’s (1991) thesis reveals that macro-economic restructuring causes a new social l polarization between emergent high-income and low-income occupational strata. A number of studies focus on household strategies in the period of global restructuring. Bryan Roberts (1995) stated that as poor households engaged in informal’ sectors dependent on their household (Roberts, 1994).The study conducted based on livelihood framework’ s suggests that poverty is a product not just of material poverty, but of a set of interlocking factors, including physical weakness, social isolation, vulnerability and powerlessness (Rakodi, 2002). It studied from bottom up’, drawing largely from literature on sustainable livelihoods and then considers the structures and process from the top down’ that helps or enables urban development at the same time oblige for urban development (Coetzee, 2002).
In Ethiopia, urban poverty, in comparison to rural poverty and national level poverty, has increased over time. This has necessitated urban poverty reduction as an important area of intervention in urban development and planning. Urban poverty reduction policies and strategies, however, have to be based on needs, capabilities and activities of the urban poor for effective achievements. Policies also need to address the differential situations the poor face in different cities and towns (OSSREA.2009).
The study area (Adama) is one of the town where the business and industries are growing rapidly simultaneously where there are many social problems increasing as a result of the population growth. Many of people infiltrate into the town from various parts of the country in search of jobs. Over population, unemployment, destitution, lack of income, poor housing conditions, poor health conditions, lack of access to basic facilities such as potable water, electric power, and a lack of reserves, etc are the major problem that most inhabitants are confronted with (Bezabih, 2009). 1.1 Objectives To identify the poverty and vulnerability level of poor communities in the city, To identify the urban poor households livelihoods strategies that helps them to cope with their poverty and vulnerability, To identify whether family and social ties uses as the urban poor coping strategy.
The research design used in this study was the descriptive survey design. The quantitative method/approach was used to analyze data that collects from structured questionnaires distributed to households whereas the qualitative research approach was used to analyze the data collected from unstructured interviews.
2.1 Source of data; primary and secondary sources Structured household survey questionnaire was used to collect primary data on the demographic, socio-economic and level of poverty of poor households, social services and social ties/network of urban poor and; in conducting unstructured interviews, the researcher used purposive sampling. Documents and related materials used to strength the finding as a secondary sources.
2.2 Sampling method: Predominantly, the study used a purposive sampling technique focusing on the inhabitants those are poor in the study. Using purposive sampling technique, 200 poor households were selected as a respondent, the researcher believes that these subjects are fit for the research compared to other individuals again because of time, money and workforce the researcher forced to use this sampling technique.
2.3 Data analysis tool
The responses obtained from questionnaires grouped accordingly, summarized and organized thematically. Data collected through questionnaires were described using descriptive statistics and presented using simple tables, chart, graph and percentages while data collected through unstructured interview was analyzed qualitatively based on descriptive analysis.
3.1 The Urban livelihood framework
The concept of urban livelihood framework’ developed in contexts of developing countries of Africa and Asia (Rakodi, 2002). A livelihood comprises the capabilities, both material and social resources and activities required that are essential for a means of survival. It is sustainable when it helps poor to cope with and recuperate from venerability and enhance its capabilities and assets sustainably. Its approach helps to draw conceptual framework based on different livelihoods dimensions (Carney, 1998). It does not explain poverty only from the income level, but uses broader concepts of deprivation and insecurity (Chambers 1983 and 1989)..
3.2 Household and livelihood systems
Mobilization of resources and opportunities such as involving in to labor market, pooling asset and creating social networking are considered as urban household livelihood system (Grown and Sebstad, cited in Rakodi, 2002). The household ‘strategy’ has wonderful benefit of reestablishing urban poor people, however, there is no clear understanding about which poor households have sufficient control over their total assets and environment to pursue goal-oriented behavior that would be sustainable in helping the poor livelihood (Rakodi, 2002). Studies have revealed that the social response to economic crisis has produced other changes at the household level. These are has increased labor force participation by women and income earning of children, reduction of overall consumption level (Chant, 1994, 1996; Escobar Latapi and Gonzalez de la Rocha, 1995; Kanji, 1995; Moser, 1996 cited in Beall and Kanji1,1999). Income, Housing, Education, health and security of urban poor and vulnerability Income is one of important dimension that poverty can be viewed from. Dependence on cash for purchases of essential goods and services, Employment insecurity/casual work, unskilled wage labor/lack of qualifications to get well-paid jobs, inability to hold a job due to bad health, Lack of access to job opportunities.
The poor are forced economically, socially and politically to settle into slums and squatter areas (UN-HABITAT, 2003). It has been found that slums and squatter settlements house a significant proportion (25%-50%) of city populations in developing countries (Bulsara, 1970)and the access to the basic services such as water supply and road access is poor in squatter areas in the west Africa and this is as the result of their low level of income (O’Connor, 1983)Cairncross et al., 1990; Meikle, 2002 noted that urban poor are living in environmental conditions that are vastly inferior to other areas. Because of this poor people are settled in Informal area which is legally not bounded.
Recently, there is improvement, however there is substantial part of the urban population in developing cities still remains without adequate access to basic urban infrastructure (Edel and Hellman, 1989; Ward, 1990; Islam, 1996). Health and Education are the other dimensions of poverty. The poor in cities settle on marginal lands, which are prone to environmental hazards, such as landslides and floods, Exposure to diseases due to poor quality air, water, and lack of sanitation, Injury and deaths rising from traffic Industrial occupational risks, unsafe working conditions, especially for those in informal sector jobs.
Poor people in the urban areas have no capacity to access education due insufficient school sizes in rapidly growing cities and they are inability to afford school expenses. Concerning urban poor people security, they cannot afford Land and housing in authorized areas, therefore, the poor typically build or rent on public or private property. Houses lack proper construction and tend to be in unsafe areas prone to natural hazards as well as many human made problems which characterized by Evictions that cause loss of physical capital, damage social and informal networks for jobs and safety nets, and reduce sense of security (Deniz B. and Christine K, 2001).
3.3 Urban economy, urban social organization and household coping strategies
There is no doubt that urban areas are essential to basic human functions of living and working since they are engines of economic growth (Mattingly, 1995). Availability of different economic opportunities in urban areas attract migrants from rural areas in search of work and give a chance to improve their lives (Meikle, 2002). Most of the time urban poor community often involved in illegal or semi-legal activities like begging, searching waste or prostitution.
The urban poor need to be involved in employment immediately after their movement to cities, as they need higher cash incomes than most rural households in order to survive (Wratten, 1995; Satterthwaite, 1997; Satterthwaite and Tacoil, 2002). Informal economy and family strategies are related and they are a means for urban poor living. In order to engage in to informal economy, binding relationship and kinship are the basis. Urban poor uses family based household for coping with the environment in the absence of state and this is through pooling of inadequate incomes and sharing of shelter (Roberts, 1995).
Kinship and friendship networks (the family) together helps individuals in order to find jobs in the informal economy and provides assistance in the case of hardship and emergencies (Lomnitz, 1977).The various literatures exploring as social organization plays essential role in the life of urban poor (Hossain, 2000, 2001). Urban social organization of the urban poor is a collection of family networks and co-operation found in the family networks is the type of social interaction. In the poor communities most nuclear families lives in the same residential compound arrangement and shares a common housing material or equipment’s. Marriage ties is the base for families are ties/network (Lomnitz, 1997).
4.1 Demographic and Economic background of urban poor
Majority of urban poor participated in the study are poor people with age group of 21-30 which is the level of age where they can participate in any types of job. However, these people are living the life of their family yet, means they are in the poverty. Overwhelming of poor people in the city has an origin in the city itself and lives for 2-30 years. This may be because of people in the city poor family in their background and this poverty chain makes them to remain in their poverty. The urban poor of Adama city are mostly involved in a variety of occupations in urban informal sectors and due to a lack of education and employment training, they usually do not get entry into the more competitive formal sectors of urban employment.
Urban poor households have no capacity to save big amount of money and cannot keep their savings securely because lack of awareness about banking system and its importance. Most of them keep their savings in hand’ in order to be able to respond to any economic crises immediately since they are poor they deal with a lot of poverty problem. Some of them lend money to members of their community in the same neighborhood even though it is not considered as formal lending rather it is assumed as support of relatives or neighbors during hard time/crisis. Table 1 Housing and housing materials of the respondentsMaterial Frequency Percent Roof: Tin 177 98.3 Cement 23 1.7Wall: Cement 5 3 Wood 155 86 Other 20 11In many parts of Ethiopian city the majority of urban dwellers suffer from shortage of housing, housing quality, inadequate infrastructures and utilities. Homelessness, Poor quality dwellings, are an increasing the main characteristics of urban slum area as well (kibrom B.).
As shown above (23%) and (98%) roof of houses is made of cement and tin respectively. Dominantly, the walls of (86%) of houses are made of wood with mud and (11%) of houses are made of wood with mud and other. Also the walls of (3%) of houses are made of quality material i.e. cement. The houses characterized by low quality materials and they are subject to further vulnerability especially during the rainy season and for a long time every year the area seriously affected by heavy rain flood.
4.2 Access to urban infrastructure facilities
In the urban areas, infrastructure is what needs investment in housing, water and sanitation, transportation, power, and telecommunications. Poor people found in slum area especially have little access to urban infrastructure facilities notwithstanding having lived in the city for a many years. Of the urban poor, (99%) have access to electricity characterizing by inadequate and irregularity. The remaining only (1%) of the urban poor have access to gas.
The study found that urban poor in the Adama city have access to the municipal water supply. Table-2 shows (100%) of the poor to access the water supply even though it is inadequate and insufficient. (60%) of the urban slum poor of the respondents have access waste disposal facilities and the rest of them (22%) dispose their waste in river or hole and (18%) use other method like, they collect waste together and burn it monthly in round. This is evident that inadequate the problems of access to infrastructure and services are serious for the urban poor. Even though poor people access some service it is very inadequate, low quality, and unaffordable especially health service.
In contrary, other study conducted in Nairobi (2006) shows that only five percent of slum households have access to an electricity supply, which is generally used for lighting purposes. Access to safe water is one issue of concern in urban poor communities. The study conducted in ten cities of developing region which revealed that the poor has no access or cannot afford for piped tap water (grant, 2004) and in the early 1990s, statistics shows that more than 80 percent of the urban population in Africa, Asia and Latin America were adequately served’ with water (Satterth waite, 1995).
The same to this finding, this study shows, urban poor in the city have an access to drinking water even though it is inadequate. This means there is a clean water access in slum areas of the city but there is no sufficient public water pipe and concerning the private, unwillingness to sale the water may make the access more inadequate. Supporting to this finding, access to such services is also found to be limited and, where it exists, supply remains highly irregular and inadequate (Islam, 1991; CUS, 1993; Islam et al., 1997).
4.3 Forms of coping strategies of the urban poor
Types of family Diagram1. Types of family The family plays an important role in the adaptation of the urban poor to city life. Different forms of families exist among the urban poor with the nuclear family being the most common. Due to the lack of adequate accommodation facilities in the cities and problems of movement with large groups, people who migrate to the city either come alone or with their wives and children and thereby the nuclear family form is predominant among poor communities.
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