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Innovative Survey Gives Voice to the Poor

12 July 2017: Today the GlobeScan Foundation, in partnership with Oxfam, releases the first results from its initiative to conduct the first-ever survey of the poor across the world. Our pilot survey of 1,021 people living below the poverty line was conducted in-person and by mobile telephones in India during 2016. The results demonstrate it is possible to survey the poorest of the poor, and also reveal provocative findings that will challenge those working to reduce poverty in India and beyond.

One key finding relates to the Indian government’s recent policy of requiring those receiving government assistance to have a bank account in which funds can be deposited. According to our survey, one-third (34%) of those living below the poverty line in India – 45 percent in rural areas – have yet to open a bank account. This suggests that this government policy, well-intentioned as it is for reducing corruption, could leave large numbers of India’s poor without the assistance they so desperately need.

Another finding from the Survey of the Poor shows that Indians living in poverty give quite negative ratings to the role both the police and community leaders play in their lives. Majorities of the poorest-of-the-poor (54% and 51% respectively) say these two actors actually worsen their lives. This suggests that these two groups are important intervention points for initiatives to improve the lives of the poor.

A number of survey findings underscore the particularly challenging plight of women living in poverty. Sixty percent of women surveyed report living in temporary shelters or outside (without walls), compared to 31 percent of men. Over a third of women (36%) report never attending school versus only 6 percent of men, and those women who did attend school attended for an average of 2 fewer years than men. One-third of women (32%) have no privacy when they use the latrine. Clearly, more aid programs aimed at improving women’s lives are urgently needed.

Another survey finding underscores the importance of improving the availability of potable water in poor Indian communities. One in two respondents (51%) report that their household has gone without adequate clean water in the past month, ahead of other necessities like food (38%) and cooking fuel (44%).

Perhaps most importantly, the survey’s findings fully support the UN Development Program’s determination that poverty is multi-dimensional, and is not simply a function of low income and expenditures. Statistical analysis by GlobeScan shows that factors including access to healthcare, information connectedness, trust in institutions, sense of personal safety, subjective well-being, and the extent to which daily household needs are being met (food, water, etc.), are all significant determinants of “poverty.”

Finally, the survey also provides self-reported evidence that climate change is already negatively affecting the livelihoods of India’s most vulnerable citizens. Half of respondents (50%) say the length, timing, or severity of the seasons has changed over the last decade, and 39 percent say the change in seasons has negatively affected their ability to feed their family. Among those who own arable land, these percentages are higher, at 86 percent and 45 percent, respectively. These findings show that mitigating the effects of climate change will be central to reducing poverty.

This pilot study in India is the first phase of the Survey of the Poor initiative with ambitions to regularly survey in the ten countries where 80 percent of the world’s poor reside. The experience gained from this pilot study will be used to sharpen and improve all aspects of the project in preparation for the 2017–2018 global rollout of this initiative.

A total of 1,021 interviews were conducted in India with heads of poor households or their spouses from April to June 2016. Fifty-five percent of the interviews were conducted in urban settings, and 45 percent in rural settings. Full methodological details can be found in the detailed research report, referenced at the end of this release.

Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India, said: "The Survey of the Poor gives some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in India a voice. It gives them a rare opportunity to talk about their lives, the problems they face, and what needs to change. The Indian government must listen and act on their concerns. Women face a double burden of poverty and discrimination. The Indian government must create equal opportunities for women’s leadership at all levels of decision-making – political, economic, and public life. It must undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and ensure effective implementation of laws to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls."

Eric Whan, Executive Director at the GlobeScan Foundation, says: “The Survey of the Poor will capture objective and subjective assessments of the quality of life of the poorest of the poor, their aspirations for the future, and provide a platform for feedback on aid programs, policy changes, and the implementation of government interventions over time. It will provide a forum for feedback from the individuals and communities that aid is intended to impact and influence, and as a result, provide a unique and powerful source of intelligence to the development community and policy makers alike.”

Yashwant Deshmukh, Founder-Director at CVoter International, says: “As GlobeScan’s long-time Indian research partner, it was our pleasure to pilot the Survey of the Poor study in India, particularly in implementing our methodological learnings from project VASE (Victims As Social Evaluators). This resulted in the greatest success in terms of completing quality interviews with ultra-poor respondents given increased trust levels and minimized language and dialect barriers.”

The goals of the Survey of the Poor initiative are to develop a deep understanding of the life conditions, views, and needs of those living in poverty around the world, and to report those findings to the widest possible audience. This information will allow governments and organizations to focus their interventions against poverty and, when tracked over time, will also provide a strong tool for assessing the impact of those interventions.


    

Read the full report here.                                     Download the infographic here.


For media inquiries, please contact:

  • Eric Whan, Executive Director, The GlobeScan Foundation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 416 969 3087
  • Stacy Rowland, Director Public Relations and Communications, GlobeScan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 416 992 2705

About the Survey of the Poor

The Survey of the Poor study in India is the pilot phase of the GlobeScan Foundation's broader Survey of the Poor initiative that will soon be conducted in ten countries around the world. This pilot study was aimed at assessing the literacy and numeracy constraints of the intended population, as well as the instrument’s content, to evaluate different sampling and interviewing techniques.

While the pilot project certainly demonstrated our ability to successfully reach and interview both poor and ultra-poor* populations, it also demonstrated a need for further innovation and experimentation to reach a higher proportion of the ultra-poor in the sampling and in randomly selecting respondents at the point of interviewing. For example, while 100 percent of the sample reported incomes below the poverty line in India of 3,000 INR (rupees) a month, only about one-third of the sample was considered to be ultra-poor.

For the Indian survey, interviews were conducted in ten languages and dialects. A total of 1,021 interviews were conducted with heads of poor households or their spouses from April to June 2016. Fifty-five percent of the interviews were conducted in urban settings, and 45 percent in rural settings.

The term “ultra-poor” was coined in 1986 by Michael Lipton of the University of Sussex. It is defined as “a group of people who eat below 80% of their energy requirements despite spending at least 80% of income on food.” 

 

About the GlobeScan Foundation

The GlobeScan Foundation is dedicated to helping achieve a more sustainable and just world for all. To accomplish this, we develop and apply a range of social science tools to give voice to global publics, help unlock collaboration and accelerate progress.

We build on the global research capabilities of GlobeScan Incorporated (founded in 1987), including well-established working relationships with research institutes around the world. GlobeScan is best known for conducting the 20-country BBC World Service Poll on topical issues (annually since 2005), for its annual syndicated Radar public opinion research service across G20 countries, for its respected thought leadership on corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and for its balanced client list that includes major global companies (Unilever, Disney, IKEA), civil society organizations (Gates Foundation, ICRC, Amnesty), and multilateral agencies (IMF, ADB, WHO).

Established in 2012, the GlobeScan Foundation is a federally incorporated not-for-profit private foundation based in Canada. Our president, Doug Miller, is a widely quoted global pollster (BBC, The Economist’s “World in 2016”), and author of “Can the World Be Wrong? Where Global Public Opinion Says We’re Headed” (Greenleaf 2016).

For more information, please visit: www.globescanfoundation.org

 

Published in Poverty

Begun in 2015 in partnership with Oxfam International, the Survey of the Poor initiative of the GlobeScan Foundation has set out to conduct the world’s first statistically meaningful survey of the poorest of the poor around the world, giving voice to this important global public and providing metrics to help governments and development aid organizations assess their impact and better target their efforts.

The goals of the Survey of the Poor initiative include deeply understanding and widely reporting the life conditions, views and needs of those living in poverty around the world, and to track over time the improved conditions that world governments have promised them. Without engaging with people living in poverty in this way, we cannot see how the Global Goal of eliminating poverty will ever be achieved.

In the early development of the Survey of the Poor, a series of qualitative focus group discussions were held in India during 2015 with people living in poverty and their advocates in both urban and rural settings.

This current report gives details of the methodology, findings and statistical analysis from our first quantitative survey of 1,021 Indian residents living in poverty, which was conducted from April to June 2016. Seen as the pilot phase of our initiative, this survey was aimed at piloting and testing both the sampling methodology and questionnaire. The learning from this phase of work will be applied to further developing all aspects for the 2017–2018 rollout of the initiative across five to ten countries..

Download this report or view highlight findings in our infographic

Published in Poverty

The Survey of the Poor in India has demonstrated that it is possible to randomly sample the poor and ultra-poor population and conduct quantitative research with them using a standard questionnaire. This infographic, based on our Indian sample of 1,021 people living in poverty, includes a graphical display of insights found in our complete report, available here.

Published in Poverty

 

Concept note and 2017 plan for the Survey of the Poor.

PDF Download


 

 

 

WHAT?

The Survey of the Poor is an initiative aimed at annually surveying 20,000 people living in poverty across 10-countries housing most of the world’s ultra-poor population. It will provide perceptual, attitudinal and behavioural dimensions that can be analyzed with standard income and expenditure metrics to inform innovation in both programs and policies aimed at ending poverty. The countries include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, South Africa, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.

Specifically, the research is aimed at identifying and measuring key challenges and felt-needs at different stages on the ‘ladder out of poverty,’ key intervention points and channels for programming and communication, as well as long-term tracking metrics on key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (sanitation, water, etc.), gender issues, climate change, inequality, hope, education and training, and health, safety and security topics.

 

WHY?

It has never been done. The World Bank’s decade-old “Voices of the Poor” qualitative study is the closest initiative that has addressed this need to deeply understand those living in poverty.

It needs to be done. Giving voice to people living in poverty will unlock many insights essential to designing new interventions and policies aimed at ending poverty.

It can be done. While the methodological challenges are numerous, there is much knowledge and practical experience among social science practitioners that are involved in the Survey of the Poor that can ensure success and deliver actionable insights to aid and development practitioners.

We can do it. As shown in our 2016 Pilot Survey of the Poor in India, the GlobeScan Foundation team can successfully conduct insightful survey research with the ultra-poor population in both urban and rural areas, and deliver policy-relevant analysis to decision-makers.

 

WHEN?

Building on two years of development and piloting in India, the first Survey of the Poor will be conducted across 5-10 countries (depending on funding) in late 2017, with findings communicated widely through the first half of 2018. 

The second and third annual Survey of the Poor will be conducted in late 2018 and 2019 across the same 10 countries, focusing on different aspects of poverty including the Global Goals, gender issues, climate change, education, and health care.

Following the third annual Survey of the Poor, the GlobeScan Foundation expects to be able to continue tracking key metrics through a syndicated Survey of the Poor study supported by global companies, multilateral agencies and civil society organizations (similar to GlobeScan’s syndicated 20-nation RADAR public opinion survey, conducted annually since 1997.)

 

HOW?

The surveys will be mainly conducted using face-to-face interviewing by local people specially trained in data collection and supervised by respected research institutes in each country. Satellite imagery of the poorest areas of the countries surveyed will be used to select random sample points for interviewers.

The questionnaire includes some widely-used questions to measure objective and subjective wellbeing, as well as income, assets, and expenditures. This will enable analysis with other available data sets for maximum usefulness, while also enabling other researchers and practitioners to directly assimilate the behavioural and attitudinal dimensions, and advanced statistical analysis, uniquely available through the Survey of the Poor.

The initiative will continue as it was begun – as a collaboration involving a wide range of aid and development agencies, philanthropic foundations and over 20 social scientists convened over the last year by the GlobeScan Foundation.

Communication of research findings and their application to development programs and policies will be a key part of the initiative. Building on established relationships with the BBC World Service and The Economist, the GlobeScan Foundation will widely socialize the survey results through knowledgeable publics as well as directly to aid and development organizations worldwide.

 

HOW MUCH?

The annual budget for the Survey of the Poor initiative – interviewing 20,000 people living in poverty across 10 countries and widely communicating the resulting insights – is US$2.4 million. This budget will be shared across six funders at US$400,000 per year each. Funders are being asked to commit to three years funding, to help ensure the broad use and sustainability of the Survey of the Poor.

 

WHO?

The GlobeScan Foundation is dedicated to helping achieve a more sustainable and just world for all. To accomplish this, we develop and apply a range of social science tools to give voice to global publics, help unlock collaboration and accelerate progress.

We build on the global research capabilities of GlobeScan Incorporated (founded in 1987), including well-established working relationships with research institutes around the world. GlobeScan is best known for conducting the 20-country BBC World Service Poll on topical issues (annually since 2005), for its annual syndicated Radar public opinion research service across G20 countries, for its respected thought leadership on corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and for its balanced client list that includes major global companies (Unilever, Disney, IKEA), civil society organizations (Gates Foundation, ICRC, Amnesty), and multilateral agencies (IMF, ADB, WHO).

Established in 2012, the GlobeScan Foundation is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit private foundation based in Canada. Our president, Doug Miller, is a widely quoted global pollster (BBC, The Economist’s “World in 2016”), and author of “Can the World Be Wrong? Where global public opinion says we’re headed” (Greenleaf 2016).

 

CONTACT

For more information and background on the Survey of the Poor initiative, please visit the Survey of the Poor pages on our website, or contact:

Eric West, Foundation Development
GlobeScan Foundation

Canada
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T: +1 519 370 0300
www.GlobeScanFoundation.org

 
Published in Poverty

Born from the guiding values of the GlobeScan Foundation to Let Everyone Speak, the Survey of the Poor aims to help the poorest of the poor have a voice and be heard. Our goal is to help an often disregarded population tell others in their countries and the international community what they need, what they want, the biggest obstacles standing in their way, and what interventions have made the largest positive impact on their lives. We have consulted experts (and continue to do so) from various institutions around the world to help us with our inquiry; and in order to make sure that we develop a sound survey instrument before rolling out the project on a global scale, we have initiated an exploratory pilot phase of the project in India beginning with focus groups.

The seven focus groups were designed to examine the opinions of different social groups on what defines the ultra-­‐poor, the mechanisms that drive extreme poverty, and what life is like for those who live in poverty.

Download this report written with our partners at Cvoter India to learn more.

Published in Poverty

 

Concept note and 2016 plan for the Survey of the Poor.

PDF Download


 

 

 

In partnership with Oxfam International, the GlobeScan Foundation is launching the first-ever Survey of the Poor to give voice to this important global public, and provide metrics to help development aid organizations assess their impact and better target their efforts.

Given the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the increasing emphasis on accountability and effectiveness in reducing poverty, the time is right to overcome the methodological challenges and organizational inertia that have kept such a study from being undertaken. We believe that it is unconscionable that there has never been an authoritative and quantitative, large-scale global study that truly captures the voice of the intended beneficiaries of development aid. No one is regularly and scientifically asking the individuals at the base of the global economic pyramid about how the billions of dollars—and the organizations that deploy those dollars—are helping their families and communities, and what could be done differently. We believe this study will fundamentally change the very definition of poverty, as well as the conversation on aid effectiveness, transparency, accountability and governance in the delivery of aid, as well as contribute to the achievement of the Global Goals.

The Survey of the Poor is the world's first statistically meaningful survey of the poorest of the poor around the world. It will operate as an incisive mechanism to capture objective and subjective assessments of their quality of life, their aspirations for the future, and provide a platform for feedback on aid programs, policy directions, and the implementation of government and non-governmental interventions over time. It will provide a forum for feedback from the individuals and communities that aid is intended to impact and influence; and as a result, provide a unique and powerful source of intelligence to the development community and policy makers alike. 

During 2016, the first Survey of the Poor will interview a sample of 20,000 poor and ultra-poor citizens worldwide (2,000 in each of 10 countries - India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico1; and widely report the results during the first quarter of 2017. Our ambition is to conduct the study annually, using revolving modules of questions to provide both longitudinal tracking and depth of analysis in key areas (e.g., Global Goals, education and training, gender, climate change, etc.).

We have been working collaboratively with both global experts and local research teams to develop and test culturally-appropriate and effective research questions and methodologies, and will combine technology (e.g., mobile telephony) with face-to-face interviewing to ensure we access the most vulnerable populations. The outcome of this work will be a series of high profile releases and reports that not only outline the most pertinent findings of the research, but also provide meaningful context and analysis for policy decisions across civil society, business, government, and multilateral organizations. The data will also be made available for academic study.

Most of these countries are on the World Bank’s list of the 10 countries with 80 percent of the world’s ultra-poor citizens.

Work-to-Date (2015 Pilot Study in India)

To ensure that we create a relevant research program for the aid community, we have enlisted help from a diverse set of experts around the world to help with the development and implementation of the project. Their good judgement has been instrumental in our progress to date. Individual experts from a wide range of organizations have kindly participated in a year-long collaborative process convened by the GlobeScan Foundation; including from Oxfam International, the World Bank, DfID (UK), SIDA (Sweden), IDRC (Canada), USAID (US), Gates Foundation, UN Foundation, Open Society Foundations, BRAC (Bangladesh), among others. We have also enlisted the help of some 20 social research colleagues from around the world in developing our methodology and research questions.

During 2015, in addition to a thorough review of related projects to distill best practice in reaching the ultra-poor, the GlobeScan Foundation conducted qualitative and quantitative research among the ultra-poor in India in order to pilot test the initiative. First, a series of focus groups were completed in both rural and urban India – where we traveled from the slums of New Delhi to Kolkata, and from the Jharkhand capital city of Ranchi to the remote and tribal village of Gumla. We spoke to slum dwellers, tribal elders, activists, social workers, professors, economists, journalists and government councillors about the definition of poverty and the life of those who reside within its borders. These conversations challenged the way we think about poverty and our approach to the design and implementation of the Survey of the Poor.

As a result of our work and collaboration to-date, we have further developed our research instrument and fielding methodology which we are piloting in India during April and May of 2016 by conducting face-to-face and mobile telephone interviews with a sample of 1,000 people living in poverty. Results of this pilot study will be released in the second quarter of 2016 and used to finalize both methodology and the questionnaire for rolling out across 10 countries later in the year.

Next Steps

The GlobeScan Foundation has self-funded most of the development work for the Survey of the Poor initiative, including the focus groups and 1,000 interviews associated with the India Pilot Study. We have been grateful for some funding assistance from the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa as well as generous in-kind assistance from our India research partners at Team CVoter in New Delhi.

For the 2016 roll-out of the first global Survey of the Poor – interviewing 20,000 people living in poverty across 10 countries – the GlobeScan Foundation is circulating a partnership proposal and detailed budget for consideration by potential funding partners. Ideally, the 2016 initiative budget of US$2.4 million will be shared across six funders (@US$400,000 each) to help ensure the broad use and sustainability of the Survey of the Poor.

About Us

The GlobeScan Foundation is dedicated to helping achieve a more sustainable and just world for all. To accomplish this we develop and apply a range of social science tools to give voice to global publics, help unlock collaboration and accelerate progress.

We build on the global research capabilities of GlobeScan Incorporated (founded in 1987), including well-established working relationships with research institutes around the world. GlobeScan is best known for conducting the 20-country BBC World Service Poll on topical issues (annually since 2005), for its annual syndicated Radar public opinion research service across G20 countries, for its respected thought leadership on corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and for its balanced client list that includes major global companies (Unilever, Disney, IKEA), civil society organizations (Gates Foundation, ICRC, Amnesty), and multilateral agencies (IMF, ADB, WHO).

Established in 2012, the GlobeScan Foundation is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit private foundation based in Canada. Our president, Doug Miller, is a widely quoted global pollster (BBC, The Economist’s “World in 2016”), and author of “Can the World Be Wrong? Where global public opinion says we’re headed” (Greenleaf 2016).

Contact

For more information and background on the Survey of the Poor initiative, please visit the Survey of the Poor pages on our website, or contact:

Eric West, Foundation Development
GlobeScan Foundation

Canada
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T: +1 519 371 8251
www.GlobeScanFoundation.org

 
Published in Poverty

Hidden Malnutrition Crisis Could Put Almost Half a Billion Children at Risk

 

15 February 2012 - New global research by Save the Children has revealed that, after a year of soaring food prices, nearly half of surveyed families say they have been forced to cut back on food. Nearly a third of parents surveyed said their children complained that they didn't have enough food to eat.

The poll, conducted in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Bangladesh—the five countries where more than half of the world's malnourished children live—also revealed one in six surveyed had asked their children to skip school to work to help pay for the families’ food.

The survey contains a snap-shot of the hardship that families are facing in countries already struggling with high rates of malnutrition. In its new report “A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition,” the charity says that rising food prices and malnutrition are putting future global progress on child mortality at risk.

Even before the food price spikes, many of the poorest children were already surviving on a sparse, low-cost diet dominated by a basic staple such as white rice, maize or cassava, which has very low nutritional value.

Save the Children warns that if no concerted action is taken, half a billion children will be physically and mentally stunted over the next 15 years, their lives blighted by malnutrition.

The chief executive of Save the Children, Jasmine Whitbread, said, “Imagine you were a parent who couldn't give your children the kinds of food that will help them grow and thrive. In recent years the world has made dramatic progress in reducing child deaths, down from 12 to 7.6 million, but this momentum will stall if we fail to tackle malnutrition.

“Malnutrition can damage children permanently, impairing their brains and bodies. But with focused action, we can put in place solutions which will end this scandal.”

Although malnutrition is the underlying cause of a third of child deaths, it has not received the same high-profile campaigning and investment as other causes of child mortality like HIV/Aids or malaria. This has meant that while the child mortality rate from malaria has been cut by a third since 2000, child malnutrition rates in Africa have decreased by less than 0.3%.

Yet the costs—both in human and economic terms—are huge. A child who is chronically malnourished, can have an IQ of up to 15 points less than a child properly nourished, whilst Save the Children estimates the cost to the global economy of child malnutrition in 2010 alone was nearly $121 billion.

Save the Children says a package of basic measures—including fortifying basic foods with essential minerals or vitamins, encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for children up to 6 months of age, and better investment in cash transfers with payments targeted at the poorest families—can turn the tide on malnutrition and reduce vulnerability to food price spikes.

Save the Children is calling on all world leaders to take a few simple measures to tackle malnutrition:

  • to make the crisis visible by setting global and national targets to reduce stunting
  • to increase funding for direct nutrition interventions, such as breastfeeding and fortification, that could save millions of lives.
  • to invest in effective social protection policies that reach vulnerable families and support small-scale farmers by ensuring that their agricultural policies aim to improve nutrition.
  • to use G8/G20 meetings to galvanise political leadership on hunger and build plan of concrete action to tackle malnutrition

Jasmine Whitbread said, “Every hour of every day, 300 children die because of malnutrition, often simply because they don’t have access to the basic, nutritious foods that we take for granted in rich countries. By acting on hunger and malnutrition, world leaders have the chance to change this for millions of children across the world.”

Notes to editors:

Save the Children’s survey results showed that: in India, one of the world’s biggest boom economies and where half of all children are stunted, more than a quarter of parents surveyed said their children went without food sometimes or often; in Nigeria, nearly a third of parents had pulled their children out of school so they could work to help pay for food; in Bangladesh, 87% of those surveyed said the price of food had been their most pressing concern in 2010.

The survey was carried out by Globescan, international research consultancy, in December 2011 and January 2012 in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Peru and Nigeria. These countries are the home of half of the world’s 170m million stunted children. Proportion of stunted children in countries surveyed: Pakistan 42% (10.1M) of children stunted,

Bangladesh 43% (7M), India 48% (60.5M), Nigeria 43% (10.9M), Peru 24% (712,560)[7] .

A randomly-selected sample of over 1000 adults over 18 years was interviewed in each country spanning both urban and rural areas. The data were weighted by age and gender to match the national population profile. The results are nationally representative. In all but Bangladesh, the interviews were carried out face to face. In Bangladesh, where the penetration rate of mobile phone among adults is between 80 and 90%, the interviews were carried out through random direct dialing.

 

Published in Poverty

TORONTO - A recent GlobeScan study of Nigerian women living in urban slums has highlighted the risks they run to their health and personal safety by using informal and outside toilet facilities – and the challenges associated with lack of adequate infrastructure in many developing nations.

GlobeScan was engaged by WaterAid to conduct a poll of women living in informal settlements in and around Lagos relating to access to sanitation and levels of concern around violence and intimidation towards women in this context. The research was intended to inform WaterAid’s media outreach and campaigning work around World Toilet Day 2012.

We found that, while informal and outside facilities were the most commonly used by women in informal settlements, these were also the kind of facilities where they felt the least safe (67% report feeling unsafe) and 60% reported the public toilets they use are generally unhygienic.

Our study found that many women felt compelled to use informal our outside facilities because of the cost of accessing public toilets. According to GlobeScan’s Radar tracking of public opinion across 20+ countries, unemployment and poverty are dominant concerns in Nigeria. This is borne out by the high proportion of women (67%) who report that the cost of using public facilities is a problem for them.

There is an extremely high demand among the women we surveyed (89%) who consider greater government investment in sanitation, even in relation to other problems such as education and transport infrastructure, to be “very important”.

Asked to give examples of harassment they had suffered, most examples given cited instances of intimidation or verbal harassment, which tended to relate to the tensions of close quarter living and sharing of facilities,

“People will insult you as if you are not human beings and neighbours”

Or male harassment and invasion of privacy,

“My neighbour or people passing will start staring at you and some will stare like they want to come and rape you.” 


WA2012 Q1

WA2012 Q6


About the Study

The poll was conducted between the 18th and 22nd of October 2012, using purposive sampling among a sample of 500 female adults (18-54). Face-to-face interviews were conducted in the urban slums of Ajegunle, Ijora Badia, Oko Agbon, and Otto-Oyingbo, in and around Lagos. In order to ensure the respondents felt at ease, given the sensitivity of the subject-matter, the interviewers ensured them of the confidentiality of their responses and the protection of their anonymity. Respondents were also provided with the details of local community organisations with whom they could, if needed, discuss their experiences further and seek support.

About WaterAid

WaterAid are an international non-governmental organisation. Their mission is to improve access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. WaterAid also work locally and internationally to change policy and practice and ensure that water, hygiene and sanitation's vital role in reducing poverty is recognised. For more information, visit www.WaterAid.org 

Published in Poverty

Each year, donors around the world spend over US$200 billion in aid for emergency response and global development. They do this with the intention of improving the lives of individuals and communities suffering from abject poverty, food insecurity, poor health, violations of their human rights, violent conflict, or natural disaster. Yet despite the commendable efforts of the global community, there are still millions of people around the world that remain vulnerable.

In a recent blog called Managing Confirmation Bias in Stakeholder Engagement, I discussed how consultation with various stakeholder groups can inject energy into a corporate strategy and help members of the organization realize opportunities for growth. A similar approach can be applied to improve how developmental programs are crafted and monitored. The development of a tool by which we can authoritatively and regularly assess the views of the poor would allow us to co-innovate funding programs that align with the needs of the intended beneficiaries of developmental aid.

Born from the guiding values of the GlobeScan Foundation to Let Everyone Speak, the Survey of the Poor aims to let the poorest of the poor use their voice and be heard. Our goal is to help an often silent population tell their fellow countrymen and the international community what they need, what they want, and what interventions have made the largest impact on their lives. We have (and continue to) consult experts from various institutions around the world to help us with our instrument, and in order to make sure that we are not vulnerable to a narrow frame of mind before rolling out the project on a global scale, we have initiated an exploratory pilot phase of the project in India.

So, I packed my bag and travelled to India to conduct focus groups with the poor.

We traveled from the slums of New Delhi to the once prosperous and regal Kolkata, from the Jharkhand capital city of Ranchi to the remote and tribal village of Gumla. As a convoy of curious researchers, we travelled east to west along the Golden Quadrilateral Highway from one of the oldest inhabited cities, Patna, to the even more ancient city of Varanasi. We spoke to slum dwellers, tribal elders, activists, social workers, professors, economists, journalists and government councilors about the definition of poverty and the life of those that reside within its borders.

One of our biggest learnings when speaking to those working and living within impoverished communities is that the conceptualization of poverty is referential in nature, and very much dependent on what people believe it means to “be without”. A tribal woman from outside Kolkata, who was jailed for six months in retaliation for advocacy, spoke of poverty as the lack of understanding of basic human rights. A man who emerged from life in a slum outside of Ranchi spoke of poverty as an excess of shame and a lack of dignity. A young man who provides a free tutoring service in the rural villages outside of Patna, who himself had to forgo a proper education in order to provide for his family, spoke of poverty as a lack of access to high quality education. A former slum dwelling man from outside of Delhi spoke fervently of poverty as a lack of food, while a woman in the red corridor jungle spoke of poverty as a lack of nutrition. A man from Varanasi, who lost substantial wealth in a very short period of time, spoke of poverty as the lack of choice.

The breadth of views on the definition of poverty alone was overwhelming. The diversity of perspectives we encountered when discussing the lives of those living within its borders were even more so. It was an incredibly humbling experience.

Importantly, the conversations challenged the way we think about poverty and our approach to the design and implementation of the Survey of the Poor. Much like how consultation with key stakeholders can free an organization from a narrow (and often biased) thinking process, our consultation with some of India’s poor pushed us to reorient our thinking and develop a stronger, more relevant framework for the project. We have a better foundational understanding for the project and more importantly, realize how important the Survey of the Poor is to those who are vulnerable. We are empowered and inspired to maintain a dedicated and unwavering focus on the project.

Please enjoy some photos from my trip below, with our partners at Cvoter India. 

 

 

Published in Poverty

Final report from a GlobeScan Foundation study assessing the social, economic and environmental impact of MPOWERD Luci Solar Lights in Haiti.

MPOWERD, a social enterprise making brilliant, clean energy solar products and solutions accessible the world over, asked GlobeScan to help it assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of its Luci solar light.

In July of 2013, MPOWERD partnered with the NGO Soleil Global  to distribute Luci solar lights to hundreds of Haitians in an effort to replace the kerosene lamps that typically light their home. A survey of Luci recipients was administered at the point of distribution. Recipients were asked about how much they rely on kerosene, the cost of the fuel, and their quality of life during the evening hours.

In October, a follow up survey took place by mobile phone in Haitian Creole. This follow up survey assessed the impacts of the Luci light on a range of quality of life issues. The current document demonstrates the results of the initial and follow-up survey.

  • The initial survey took place in person and was conducted in July 2013, and the follow up survey was conducted between October 10 and November 5, 2013.
  • A total of 102 Haitians completed both surveys.
  • Unless otherwise noted, figures and charts refer to percentage of respondents.
Published in Poverty
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