It was supposed to be a cultural leisure boat trip. I paid fifty dollars to get on a boat to trail along the river and visit local villages. Eight hours under the scorching sun, we traversed the river and watched nature, and a few villages covered in between lines of trees. A sight of children bathing and goats being cleaned by their owners on the same river caught our attention. Deep into the recesses of these villages are places where silk is manufactured. The place is bustling with activities, grinding of turmeric, selling of wares, and cooking traditional delicacies for sale. The dirt road, swarms of flies and mosquitoes all around, children walking barefoot are glimpses of poverty prevalent in the community. It made me question why people are not idle, they do some form of work, but they remain living in an unacceptable condition? The long-standing issue of poverty is complex and continues to be the topic of studies conducted by many individuals and organisations. How can it be curbed?
The World Bank is one of the many prominent organisations who have conducted and supported research about poverty to fulfil their goals – “to end extreme poverty at a global level within a generation, and to promote what may be called shared prosperity, a sustainable increase in the well-being of the poorer segments of the society.” These goals translate to actions
informed by research. Data on different topics have been collated to establish the bases of these goals. They include “Regional changes in the population of extreme poor over the years”; “Poverty has fallen steadily since the 1980s except in Africa where the decline began later”; “Inequality tends to be lower in high-income countries”; “Shared Prosperity Indicator in selected countries (circa 2000-10” that were collated from household surveys. The use of information provides trends and evidence of poverty and how different components have resulted into its increase/decrease.
Following upon the establishment of goals are further steps that require deeper research to support reforms. An example is about “Evaluating the Impact on Low-income Children and Families’ Access to a Private Comprehensive Schooling Model: Experimental Evidence from Mexico”. In order to affirm this, research will collect data on children’s performances at school in two consecutive years and measure the involvement of families. Data would be derived from standardized test results, competence in English and technology, and overall well-being that will be analyzed, as well as the degree of parent involvement and program costs. Results of this study can provide feedback that can inform the government the value of low-cost private schools. Moreover, the escalating number of research confirms the importance of early childhood development in assuring the sustainability of the future. This perspective presents a case of the cognitive development of young children and the socio-economic status. Data gathered from countries such as Turkey, Cambodia and Mozambique, demonstrates the delay of development of children from poor families compared to those who are from the middle and high income families. A measure of the responsiveness and language stimulation by mothers from different SES indicates the difference in the cognitive development of children. Naudeau, et.al. (2010) emphasize the importance of documenting the cognitive delays of children from low-income families in order to design appropriate and effective strategies for intervention. Failure to act on the cognitive delays of children impacts their future children because of the perceived inability to perform in the task force. The long-term effect of inaction trickles down to the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
Poverty can, therefore, be curbed if we only look at the root causes, the factors that aggravate them and how success efforts of addressing the challenges whether big or small in scale can be modelled and replicated. Research has a big role in all these steps to collect information in order to establish the norm, to verify information for analysis, and outline potential intervention strategies to problem-solve. Poor people may be involved in some form of work that could enable them to perform a task, but what is the quality of education that would develop skills for work that requires high cognitive functioning? What are the structures in the community that could improve the lives of people who live on hand to mouth subsistence? To study the case before taking action and to plan for action both require careful research processes to address poverty.
Alderman, Harold (ed.). 2011. No small matter : the impact of poverty, shocks, and human capital investments in early childhood development. Human development ; perspectives. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/ 2011/01/13881807/no-small-matter-impact-poverty-shocks-human-capital-investments- early-childhood-development
World Bank. (2015). Evaluating the Impact on Low-income Children and Families’ Access to a Private Comprehensive Schooling Model: Experimental Evidence from Mexico. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/sief-trust-fund/brief/evaluating-the-impact-on- low-income-children-and-families-access-to-a-private-comprehensive-schooling-model
World Bank. (n.d.). End Extreme Poverty and Promote Shared Responsibility. Retrieved from chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/WB-goals2013.pdf.