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By Caroline O. N. Moser

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Additional info for Confronting Crisis: A Comparative Study of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four Poor Urban Communities (Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series)

Sample text

An important strategy for poor middle-aged women is to avoid heading a household. In Chawama women view female headship as a high-risk arrangementlargely on economic grounds. Strategies to avoid taking on primary income-earning responsibility revolve around serial monogamy. When relationships break up, women rapidly seek new partners. Complex negotiations between partners often result in children being sent into the care of relatives. Women's strategies for coping with the restructuring of households prompted by the termination of a marriage, through divorce, separation, or death, vary among communities, depending on the social and institutional context.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. Intrahousehold Decisionmaking on Food Expenditure in the Research Communities, 1992 95 Page vii FOREWORD Poverty statistics are people with the tears wiped off. This volume describes a study that forces analysts to look beneath the statisticsto recognize the real misery of the poor and to appreciate the grit, the courage, and the determination that they bring to the endless challenge of survival. It restores the reality that we all know, yet that is conveniently airbrushed away when we talk in the averages of macro-economic statistics.

Finding 4: Changes in household structure to strengthen family support networks are both a result of vulnerability and a strategy to reduce vulnerability. Household relations are rarely considered an asset, but in fact they play an important part in a household's ability to adjust to changes in the external environment. A household's composition and structure and the cohesion of family members can determine its ability to mobilize additional labor, for example. The study found that households are important adaptive institutions for the poor, providing mechanisms for pooling income and other resources and for sharing consumption.

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Confronting Crisis: A Comparative Study of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four Poor Urban Communities (Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series) by Caroline O. N. Moser


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