Discussions among the poor: exploring poverty dynamics with focus groups in Bangladesh

Discussions among the poor: exploring poverty dynamics with focus groups in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi’s well-being is undermined by life-cycle pressures

A more comprehensive understanding of poverty dynamics is achieved by complementing both qualitative and quantitative research methods. This paper presents findings from focus group discussions undertaken in Bangladesh. Its purpose is two-fold:

•to inform subsequent phases of the research by exploring reasons for decline or improvement in participant’s well-being
•to examine how a set of development interventions have contributed to improvements in well-being.

The study identifies important causes of decline in well being, including dowry, illness and adverse dependency ratios in families. Factors contributing to improvement include various forms of business activities, improved agriculture, microfinance loans, salaried work, labour migration and sons and daughters working.

Policy recommendations for preventing the decline and supporting improvement in well being include:

•take into account the changing risk profile facing poor people in Bangladesh
•mitigate life-cycle-related drivers of impoverishment
•help reduce the risks involved in potentially profitable, yet risky, ventures.

[adapted from author]