States of Being Poor

States of being poor ………for testing with personas (very draft)

 Not Poor:  Life conditions are such that people have the personal capabilities and worldviews, individual resources, supportive community environment and essential community services to care for themselves and their children and have choices and make plans for the future.

Fallback Poor: Life conditions are such that people do not have the individual resources, supportive community environment and essential community services to consistently care for themselves and their children, their choices are limited, it is difficult to make long term plans and at times they will fall below the poverty line

Poor: Life conditions are such that people may not have personal capabilities and worldviews necessary to develop options to move out of poverty and do not have the individual resources, supportive community environment and essential community services to care for themselves and their children and have choices and make plans for the future. As a result these people are unable to meet all their basic needs.

Very Poor:  Life conditions are such that people are very unlikely to have personal capabilities and worldviews necessary to develop options to move out of poverty. Their annual income is likely to mean that they fall below their countries recognized poverty line. They do not have the individual resources, supportive community environment and essential community services to care for themselves and their children. By necessity their choices tend to me more short term and it is very difficult to make meaningful plans for the future. As a result these people are unable to consistently meet their basic needs.

Extremely poor:  Life conditions are such that people may not have personal capabilities and worldviews necessary to develop options to move out of poverty. Their annual income is below their countries recognized poverty line.  They do not have the individual resources, supportive community environment and essential community services to care for themselves and their children. Their choices are predominantly concerned with meeting their basic needs for food water, sex, sleep and housing and they have almost no control over their future. As a result, to survive these people need gifts of food, water, fuel, shelter or other basic life sustaining elements just to survive.

If the key areas of relationship to vulnerability were around the elements of:

  1. Food
  2. Assets
  3. Income
  4. Health
  5. Education of their children
  6. Future orientation

What questions would need to be asked to determine the endpoints that would mark the center of gravity for each of the five poorness states above. The point above which people who are poor, as an individual or household could be considered to have moved to the next level, in an element. That is which of the 6 elements would characterize the center of each of the five poverty states, within each of Integral’s 4 AQAL quadrants. Individual and what is available to individuals, collective and the systems, policies, laws and infrastructures that are available to communities.

Knowing this would allow us to measure where families are.

We would also be able to plot their most venerable/least developed areas in each of the hypothesized 6 elements above.

We would also be able to measure change in a more nuanced way.

As a body of development professionals, organizations and funders, we could gradually move from projecting lack of capability on people who are poor and start focusing more on a much broader set of life conditions. And be able to measure progress more effectively.

July 2014

About jocknoble

I have worked in thirty countries with most time spent in India, Kenya, Indonesia, USA , Australia and Armenia. My current role with World Vision International is as a Livelihoods Advisory based in Manila. Before this I spent 4 years based in Armenia leading an economic development learning hub for 10 countries across the Middle East and Eastern Europe. I spent 8 years with World Vision Australia where I founded and lead the Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Unit (SEED), a team of economic development specialists,to establish and support innovative initiatives in poor communities from Africa to the Asia Pacific, Senegal to Timor Leste.. I believe the reason people are poor is that they do not have enough money and our challenge is to help instill hope and a genuine sense of self-belief, starting with those of us who somehow work in development. I was the founder and CEO of Diversity@work Australia Inc, a social enterprise developing innovative models, strategies and educational programs to strengthen companies through diversity and inclusion. I hold a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a Masters of Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University in Melbourne, post-graduate studies in Not for Profit Management at Georgetown University and Negotiation and Conflict Management at Latrobe University Melbourne. I was the Carey Medal winner for 2007 for exceptional and outstanding service to the community. So it goes Published Books: 'Postcards - What am I doing here' (2016) which is a collection of my blogs along with selected photographs, and Stores from the Road - Ten stories for workers in international development (2016)
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