Dimensions of Poverty in Bangladesh

Dimensions from Bangladesh

We have found 9 dimensions of poverty in Bangladeshi community through our  reasearch program. Here you can find out the Names, Definitions and Description abouth this dimensions but for brief knowledge we suggest to visit the and download the full report of Multidimensionality of Poverty: Bangladesh Perspectives

Unmet Basic Needs

“Inability to provide / manage sufficient food, clothing, housing, education and health care for self and family members/dependents due to limited resources or insufficient income.”

Article 15 of the Constitution of Bangladesh requires the State to ensure people’s access to basic necessities including food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care as one of the fundamental principles of State policy. After independence, remarkable progress has been achieved in the case of food production; however, about 40 million people – one-quarter of the population – still remain food insecure, and about 11 million suffer from acute hunger. The poor, especially those who live in slums, are among the groups who are the most poorly served by the education system in Bangladesh. They lack wealth, power, and social connections and are probably under-counted in national surveys and are often ignored in policy and programs. Poor access to quality health services and high costs threaten Bangladesh’s momentum towards universal health coverage.

A serious shortage and an unequal distribution of qualified health personnel are major stumbling blocks: only 25% of health workers serve rural areas, but this is where 70% of the population lives. Poor people cannot wear clean and new/fresh clothing and most of them wear old clothing.

Insufficient Money

“This dimension refers to the situation when people do not have sufficient money to purchase / meet the basic needs, or their income level is very low to fulfill their family’s basic needs.”

Sufficient money is a pre-condition for survival. Without sufficient money, people cannot cover basic needs, which leads to chronic illness, as well as a struggle with chronic food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition. This situation makes them feel helpless, hinders them from sending their children to school and ensures that children are forced to work to support their families.

People are bound to go into debt when they do not have sufficient money to surviv which makes them more dependent on others and creates a vicious cycle of poverty if they do not have any other sources of income. Although per capita income is increasing year by year in Bangladesh, income inequality is also increasing, which makes a poor person’s life more difficult. Due to inflation, real income is not increasing and the purchasing power of the poor is going down.

Bad Governance, and Political and Social Instability

“Poverty is created due to a lack of proper public resource distribution. Poverty is also created when the government does not respond to the critical needs of society and general problems are not managed effectively and efficiently. In addition, political instability, such as conflicts and widespread competition among various political parties, creates permanent unrest in the country which stimulates poverty. A continuous lack of basic needs or goods and services, such as food, education, shelter, and treatment for some, while others enjoy them as private resources, promotes social instability.”

Good governance is a cross-cutting issue and affects every sector of development, especially in a developing country. There are four pillars of good governance which support the building of effective and efficient institutions of government: accountability, transparency, participation and predictability. In Bangladesh, most of these are absent in government institutions. Poor people are excluded from the institutions, which makes them powerless and affects their lives. Public expenditure on health, education and sanitation benefits the non-poor more than the poor due to lack of good governance.  There are many initiatives the government has undertaken to reduce poverty, but most of these programs have not been successful, due to
accountability and transparency. Though government policy papers very often emphasize the participation of the poor, such participation remains elusive. The formal structure of accountability is notoriously faulty. More importantly, downward accountability towards the beneficiaries is quite flawed, as evidenced by several social service programs, including poverty alleviation programs implemented at the village level. A lack of accountability for using public funds boosts corruption at the local government level. The government does not seem to be very keen about either citizen engagement or participation.

Due to this powerlessness and lack of participation, poor people cannot play their roles as citizen. Top-down poverty reduction policies and political interventions during program implementations hinder poverty reduction in Bangladesh. Good governance can act as the means to an end of poverty in Bangladesh. In countries where cultural or ethnic groups feel that there is economic, political and social inequality, it is more likely to occur, causing a vicious cycle that leads to poverty.

Ill Psychological and Physical State

“Physical means the body itself while psychological refers to the mind’s functions. Poor people have elevated levels of stress, and stress is linked to depression. Depression causes absenteeism and lower levels of productivity. People who are suffering from extreme stress and depression are less likely to make long-term investments in their health and education. They are more inclined to seek short-term rewards rather than long-term ones because they found it harder to delay gratification. These psychological effects of living in poverty make it more difficult for people to climb out of it.”

Poverty has negative impacts on children’s health, cognitive development,
social, emotional and behavioral development, and educational outcomes. The parents of children living in poverty are more likely to suffer mental health problems, relationship problems, financial problems and substance misuse, which can affect their parenting behaviors, and which can have negative impacts on children’s outcomes, too.

Lack of Entrepreneurship and Employment Opportunities

“Entrepreneurship can be a powerful means of poverty reduction for many reasons. First, it provides individuals with the tools to improve their own circumstances, as opposed to relying on aid from foreign governments or NGO’s. Second, it gives people the means of achieving a sustainable income. Third, it improves overall economic growth which benefits all the citizens of a country. Creating job opportunities is one of the main responsibilities of the government. In most cases, people want to work but cannot find jobs, which creates poverty. Sometimes, due to lack of good governance and exclusion, poor people are deprived of employment opportunities.”

Entrepreneurship has a close connection with the alleviation of poverty. Entrepreneurship is believed to be an important mechanism of economic growth and development. Entrepreneurship increases productivity by bringing new innovations and speeding up structural changes by forcing existing businesses to reform and increase competition. But the poor people of Bangladesh do not have much opportunity to become entrepreneurs due to a lack of institutional and government support. Capital is necessary to be an entrepreneur, but without collateral, a poor person cannot get a loan from a financial institution. For the poor, labour is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to provide decent jobs that both secure income and empowerment for the poor, especially women and younger people. Employment opportunities are not available for the poor who are even being prevented from getting a job in open competition due to corruption, as well as institutional and social maltreatment.

Insufficient Transportation, Communication and Technology

“This dimension refers to the situation in which insufficient transportation, bad road conditions, a lack of good communication systems and insufficient technological knowledge affect poor people’s daily lives negatively.”

Public transportation is necessary for the poor people of Bangladesh but transport is controlled by the private sector and the government does not have much control over it. Therefore, poor people spend significant amounts of money on their trips to work and the burden of transport expenditures on poor people may be very high. Given the high cost of transport, the time taken by the poor to travel to work varies greatly. Poor people make fewer trips compared to non-poor people and often go on foot. On the other hand, village-level communication is very bad, which hinders agricultural activities. Sometimes, poor farmers cannot supervise their fields properly, due to bad communication. Consequently, they are not getting the crops they expected. Insufficient new technology also negatively affects poor people. In Bangladesh, poor people mostly depend on agriculture, which is still based on a traditional system. Knowledge of new technology is limited, which impedes the production as well as the income of the poor. In addition, new technology is very expensive for individual poor farmers.

Natural and Environmental Degradation

“Poverty and environmental issues are interlinked. Environmental problems cause severe suffering to the poor, i.e. poverty is influenced by climate change, different natural risks and various forms of pollution. Carbon emissions, the use of chemicals and pesticides, industrial pollution, sea-level rises create floods, droughts, salinity, increase temperatures, reduce habitats for biodiversity and augment the tiredness of the land. Poor people are most affected by these occurrences and poverty also increases through these environmental incidences.”

Bangladesh faces a number of environmental problems due to its geographical location and setting, high density of population, poor socio economic development, inefficient resource management and institutional framework. The diversity of its biological resources are also threatened by human intervention, through the destruction and degradation of the land, as well as denuded forest and aquatic habitats. In addition, climate change is creating severe poverty traps. Unless we address the climate change problem now, sustainable poverty reduction will remain a dream. People in poverty are more exposed to the negative consequences of this phenomenon and have no means to protect their families, livestock and other assets.

Drug Addiction

“There is a long-standing belief that drug addiction and poverty go hand in hand. In some cases, poverty causes addiction and also the other way around. When people become excluded from the state, society and even family, they become upset and have more likely to be addicted in different ways. It is observed that, when someone doesn’t have job or has little income to maintain their family, they may become mentally upset and fall into drug addiction.”

People with lower incomes or those who live in environments that are not conducive to economic growth, are more at risk of falling victim to drug abuse. The relationship between  addiction and poverty is complicated. Lower income people are slightly more likely to struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that poverty always causes addiction. In most cases, financial troubles are the result of a substance use disorder. In Bangladesh, worrying about how to afford shelter, food, and other basic needs causes a tremendous amount of mental stress and may lead to drug addiction. When poor people struggle to make ends meet, there is a great temptation to turn to drugs or alcohol to temporarily escape from such problems.

Over Population

“Generally, overpopulation exerts great pressures on resources and land, leading to widespread environmental issues, in addition to impacting national economies and standards of living. Therefore, it is one of the leading causes of poverty in Bangladesh. Overpopulation creates excess demand for all commodities which hinders the standard of living of poor people.”

Although the population of a country is an asset, it becomes a burden when the country cannot provide people with basic necessities such as food, shelter, health care etc. High population growth is a burning concern in Bangladesh and a challenge to countries’ economies. With an overexpanding population, economic hardship is aggravated and certainly one of main problems of Bangladesh. Due to overpopulation, resources are being overexploited and people excluded from their rights, which creates poverty. They are crowded everywhere, in buses, trains, markets, school and colleges. Poor people believe that ‘more children earn more money’ so they procreate children in their married lives. The area of Bangladesh is too small to support her population. Overpopulation creates nutritional food problems, especially for poor people. Thousands and thousands of people are out of work, many people sleep under the open sky, on the street, under a large tree and in rail stations. An increasing population pollutes the environment by making latrines on the bank of rivers and canals. A vast population also produces so much carbondioxide that it is a danger for the environment.