Inheriting Extreme Poverty: Househoald Aspirations, Community Attitudes and Childhood in Northern Bangladesh

This report presents findings of research into the influence of community institutions and actors on the inheritance of extreme poverty. The body of the report is in two parts. The first analyses patterns of work, school and marriage among the children of the ultra-poor. Based on information about ultra-poor households, including original research with two communities in northern Bangladesh in 2004, this study uses the concept of the ‘inter-generational contract’ to explore the context in which ultra-poor households make decisions about their children. Based on a survey of community officials and leaders in the same areas of Rangpur and Kurigram districts, the second part of the report explores the scope for community institutions and actors to support action on childhood poverty. It presents findings of the extent of influence of these institutions and actors over household practices that contribute to the transmission of extreme poverty, deriving lessons about interventions that have worked, and why. The key finding is that little progress has been made towards tackling the practice of and attitudes towards harmful child labour at the community level. Parents, children, community leaders and officials all treat the early entrance of children into the world of work as the inevitable outcome of extreme household poverty. School participation is widely seen as important, including for the very poor and early marriage is equally widely known to have negative consequences. But many community actors actually perceive there to have been a rise in child labour.

Authors: Save the Children UK; BRAC

Type: Report

Year: 2005