Family and Poverty Eradication in Developing Countries: Roles and Functions of Family in Myanmar

Family and Poverty Eradication in Developing Countries: Roles and Functions of Family in Myanmar

Kana Takamatsu (Department of Politics and International Relations, International Christian University, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/ijpphme.2012100104
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This research note aims to find the new perspective on “family” relating to poverty reduction with the case study of Myanmar. Firstly, this research note examines the concept of family in Myanmar. Secondly, it approaches the socio-economic impacts on family. Lastly, it analyzes “family” from the data collected by the life history interview to migrant workers from Myanmar. In depth life history interview shows that different ideas on family depending on the socio-economic situation of individuals. This research note calls for more focus on individuals and their relations with family rather than family as the main unit of analysis, however, family oriented policies for poverty reduction are widely discussed.
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In the Millennium Assembly in 2000, UN member states adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This declaration is “the basis for a ‘road map’-the the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” (Sumner & Tribe, 2008, p. 23), and these are committed by the international community. The MDGs aim to eradicate poverty through eight goals with time-bound targets should be achieved by 2015 (UN Millennium Project, 2005, pp. 1, 281-293). These eight goals are developed by the pre-existing agendas which were proposed by the international conferences and summits in the 1990s (Feeny & Clarke, 2009, p. 3).

The Millennium Development Report 2012 shows “the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47% in 1990 to 24% in 2008—a reduction from over 2 billion to less than 1.4 billion” (UN, 2012, p. 4). This report addressed the progress of income level poverty; however, poverty means more complex and diverse situation. The “Multidimensional Poverty Index” (MPI) is implemented in UNDP’s Human Development Report (HDR) since 2010. This index describes the deprivations of most disadvantaged population by three dimensions such as health, education and living standards (UNDP, 2010, p. 5). The HDR 2011 shows that the population below PPP $ 1.25 a day of low human development countries is 47.3%, even though the population in multidimensional poverty 2000-2010 of those is 61% headcount (Table 1) (UNDP, 2011, pp. 143-245). Accordingly, poverty eradication is still the most important internationally committed agenda, and it requests more efforts.

Table 1.
Situation of poverty
CountriesPopulation in Multidimensional Poverty Headcount (%), 2000-2010Population below
PPP $ 1.25 a Day(%)
Very High Human Development2.7 (9)0.2 (9)
High Human Development2.4 (22)2.6 (29)
Medium Human Development19.4 (37)17.6 (34)
Low Human Development61 (40)47.3 (39)

Source: UNDP (2011) Human Development Report

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