Foreign Aid and Family at Risk: Role of Foreign Aid to Myanmar

Foreign Aid and Family at Risk: Role of Foreign Aid to Myanmar

Kana Takamatsu (International Christian University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6433-3.ch025
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This chapter examines how the foreign aid policy should and should have supported families facing risks by using the case study of Myanmar. The chapter starts by addressing the issue of poverty, which continues to be the gravest risk in the developing countries, and how family could be the cause of poverty as well as the solution of poverty in foreign aid policy discussion. The situation of poverty and migration as a risk management tool are then examined in the second section of the chapter. Interviews with migrant workers in Thailand and Japan were conducted. Finally, there is a discussion about the developments of Myanmar and how the foreign aid and international community has inadequately responded to the democratization of Myanmar and to the needs of its people.
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1. Introduction

Changing the size and capacity of family, increasing instability of labor market and globalization, new social risks have emerged. How we should manage new social risks? International Social Security Association (ISSA) mentions that new social risks require the state to have a new family policy targeting parents who provides child care and pursues a full professional career (ISSA website (A)). It tries to manage risks by supporting family. ISSA also considers developing countries faces different risks and indicates “a better articulation of formal social security policies with the traditional family and community-based model could attenuate some of these problems” (ISSA website (A)).

What are the risks in developing countries? Poverty has been the key foreign aid policy issue for a long time. 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 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” (Sumner and 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, p. 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 and 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 per cent in 1990 to 24 per cent 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 (UNDP, 2011, p. 143-245). Accordingly, poverty eradication is still the most important internationally committed agenda, and it requests more efforts (see Table 1).

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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