Poverty Forum Cites Lessons Learned from Research


Organizing the poor is necessary but not a sufficient condition for societal reform. Comprehensive research must be done to prevent individuals and families from succumbing to the cycle of chronic poverty.

poverty research

This is one among the views shared by the two speakers who led the SDRC-sponsored forum on "Researching and Theorizing Poverty: Perspectives of Two Research Centers" held on November 21, 2007 at Room 508 of the Yuchengco Building. In her presentation, Dr. Anna Marie Karaos, Executive Director of the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, provided a timeline of poverty studies and concepts in the Philippines and the analytical framework on poverty that resulted at her organization. She pointed out several cross-cutting issues and lessons relevant to poverty, which included a shift from an asset-based to a capacity-based concept of poverty; the importance of action taken to be information-based; advocacy as being both claim-making and problem-solving; a shift from power and conflict to social capital and engagement; balancing sectoral and public good; and determining the relevance of politics and political change.

She recommended that future studies should focus on determining whether governance can pave the way for a reordering of power structures; on investigating the reality of weak institutions at all levels and the corresponding need for institutional and capacity development; on what specifically is indicated in policy impact studies on poverty; on measuring and defining poverty; and on determining the implications for organizing the poor and targeting their needs.

Research Fellow and Behavioral Sciences faculty member Dr. Exaltacion E. Lamberte, meanwhile, focused on the type of poverty researches that have been done at SDRC over the past two decades. She divided these into three-those on rural poverty, which involve upland communities, indigenous communities, lowland areas, and model building and implementation; those on urban poverty, which cover the urban poor and high risk communities, model building in terms of cooperative management, models of service delivery, micro-finance and its outcomes, and women empowerment; and those conducted at the national level, which establish non-income indicators and measures of living standards, non-monetary indicators and measures for tracking and monitoring poverty levels among LGUs, and look into local governance and accountability in health.

To help address the poverty reduction goal, she suggested that future studies generate solid data to test hypotheses on inter-generational transmission as a cause of poverty; look into the dynamics of poverty; and determine how to break the "cycle of poverty." She further pointed out the need for nationwide longitudinal studies on the outcomes of poverty programs implemented by the government, private groups and NGOs; the need to track and monitor families who are exiting from poverty, including identification of what drives the poverty exit; and the need to identify factors that are instrumental in sliding back into poverty, in order to create strategies to prevent the non-poor and working families from falling into this cycle.

Providing his reaction to the two presentations was Ramon Falcon of the NEDA Social Development staff.

The forum was attended by representatives of the DSWD Policy Development and Planning Bureau, DSWD-KALAHI-CIDSS, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipino Api (DAMPA), the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, the Philippine Social Science Council, the Philippine Center for Population and Development, TAO-PILIPINAS, Inc., Childhope Asia Philippines, the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Urban Poor Associates, and the Homeless People's Federation of the Philippines.

Forum on Implications of Poverty Studies Rescheduled for November

The forum being sponsored by the Social Development Research Center on "Researching and Theorizing Poverty: Perspectives of Two Research Centers" has been rescheduled for Wednesday, November 21 at 1:00 p.m. Venue is Room 508 of the Yuchengco Building.

The forum will consist of a discussion on policy implications of poverty studies by two research institutes: the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, represented by its executive director, Dr. Anna Marie Karaos; and SDRC, represented by University Fellow and Behavioral Sciences Department professor Dr. Exaltacion E. Lamberte. Registration for attendance at the forum will begin at 1:00 p.m.

New SDRC Office

The director and staff together with friends and associates recently celebrated the blessing of the new SDRC office at the third floor of William Hall. The blessing was rescheduled for September 14 after a typhoon prevented the activity from being held as originally planned.

ribbon cutting