In quest of understanding more about rural poverty and an adaptable rural growth among rural poor households in rwanda: new realities, new choices for tomorrow

Type Journal Article - International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications
Title In quest of understanding more about rural poverty and an adaptable rural growth among rural poor households in rwanda: new realities, new choices for tomorrow
Volume 5
Issue 7
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
This research paper focused on the nature and extent of persistent rural poverty in rural areas, and in particular to the ways
in which rural residences may affect ones poverty status in Rwanda. The central theme of this study was to fully describe what rural
poverty is, how rurality leads to extreme poverty and what it actually means to be poor especially when it comes to the eyes of the
beholder; the poorest of the poor in the rural areas. It is these poorest of the poor who were the subject / unit of analysis in this study.
Two villages in Rwanda’s Northern Province were selected as a case study. The study was mostly qualitative and much focus was put
on a down to earth naturalistic inquiry about rurality and rural poverty as a whole. The study used participatory qualitative research
methods which were supplemented with quantitative research methods.
This study used methods like the questionnaire and focus group discussions to collect data from the rural poor. In data analysis, the
study used descriptive statistics and also the researcher relied on established theories to process and concretely analyse the
information. Generated theory was compared to existing theory on issues concerning rurality and rural poverty.
This study presents new realities about how poor people living in deep rural areas define poverty and what they understand poverty to
mean, as well as what the rural poor specifically conceive to be the major causes of rural poverty, and how the poor people survive in
deep rural areas of Rwanda. Increased attention of this study was put on rural social processes with a firm foundation to understanding
what rural poverty is, its causes and impact, people’s attitudes and experiences of living with it in a landlocked country like Rwanda.
The study further explored the possible survival strategies the rural people have initiated on their own to lessen the difficulties they go
The study did not intend to provide any solutions to alleviating rural poverty because there as many policies as there are theories on
poverty and from the beginning of the 2nd quarter of the 20th century, the World Bank, UNDP, and nongovernmental organizations,
suggested very, very many policy options to fight poverty in different places at different times. Governments all over the subSaharan
Africa have implemented the various policy initiatives to fight poverty but there seems to be no big improvement. As a
result, this research study’ impression was that, if the poverty eradication solutions have not done an expectedly good job, why don’t
we go back to the drawing board and see backwards to the grass roots, what exactly the problem is. Given the different scale of
concentration of rural poverty in rural areas, the different levels of services available to rural people and the differences in institutions
and social norms, there is certainly some reason to expect that there should be different strategies to fight poverty in rural places.
This research strictly intends to contribute to existing knowledge by sharing new ideas, realities and choices with policy makers, civil
rights activists and various governments in the great lakes region on the assumption that our efforts to reduce poverty in rural areas
were hampered by our lack of knowledge on how living in rural areas affects ones chances of realizing higher standards of living. Our
lack of understanding about the effects of concentrated rural poverty on rural communities could just be a cause of the failures to have
the efforts to reduce the level of rural poverty.
The researcher was very much interested in this study because, poverty has often been described by people who are not poor
themselves and to make matters worse, poverty has often been generalized as the same type of poverty in both urban areas and rural
areas. Yet as a matter of fact, poverty found in rural areas is so much different from the type of poverty found in urban areas.
The study found out that rural poverty is often unseen, misunderstood, or misperceived by outsiders, those who are not themselves
rural and poor. The study also found out that there is a great interrelationship between rurality and rural poverty; one of them leads to
the other and one of them determines the other. The research result shows that rural poverty depends on rurality. It is again discovered
that, the further away one stays from urban areas, the higher the chances that he or she is vulnerable to being poor. This is the place
effect theory in determining rural Poverty. The study contends that social scientists, administrators, field workers, academics, non governmental development practitioners do
always misperceive and neglect the ideas of poor people who are living in the country side. The poor in their own words, made this
research discover that their views on poverty, their opinions on poverty and their general knowledge on poverty are rarely listened to.
If we were to listen to their voice, we would surely have a rich knowledge on the hidden nature of rural poverty.
Rural poverty has been misperceived from generation to generation of researchers, educationists, and social scientists. A culture of
rural bias has been inherited to the extent that today, there is a debate about the meaning of the word rurality itself. Some schools
contend that the word rurality does not exists in the English language while others contend that the word exists; this shows the level of
biasness and the level of misunderstanding the whole concept of rurality and rural poverty pose. It defeats one’s understanding that
even to day, in this 21st century: in a world full of educationists, great researchers and academics, several of them still take rural
poverty to be synonymous with urban poverty. They see that there is nothing new about knowing or rather discovering more about the
ills of rurality and rural poverty. They just think that they know it all.
But, it is surprising that in this study the poor themselves have described the situation. They are living a life which so much different
from what several of these scholars have been assuming to be knowing as poverty. Its common sense that what is perceived depends
on the perceived. Several people who think they know much about poverty do not actually know much about rural poverty. They have
been fronting their own interests, preferences and preconceptions, their own rationalizations and their own defences for excluding or
explaining the discordant and the distressing. Chamber (1983) states that such people are often ignorant about rural poverty and yet
they do not want to know what they do not know. The less they have direct and discordant contact and learning, and the less they
know, so the easier it is for the myth to mask the reality. The culture of rural bias has been carried on from a generation of scholars in
the last century to another generation of scholars in this century. This study was, therefore, a fundamental step in attempting to argue
out the idea that rural poverty should not be misperceived as having the same face as urban poverty. This study also argues for a new
professionalism, with fundamental reversals in outsiders learning values and behaviours, and proposes new models which are more
realistic on understanding more about rural poverty backed with a more realistic action for tackling rural poverty.
Key words: Rurality, Ruralism, Rural Poverty, Rural Poor, Mbabazize Rurality Attitudes model.

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