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Rural poverty in Ecuador : a qualitative assessment (English)

A complement to recent in-depth quantitative analyses of rural poverty in Ecuador, this is a report on the results of the Rural Qualitative Assessment in living conditions in rural communities in all three Ecuador's diverse regions. Using a variety of qualitative techniques, the research aimed to assess what poverty means to marginalized rural families, what kind of survival strategies families use in times of hardship, and what these families believe is needed to alleviate poverty. Several key messages emerge: 1) rural communities with the same characteristics (such as area, soil quality, and ethnic background) are actually very heterogeneous in their command of land resources, definition of well-being, range of economic activities, and recommendations for what is needed to overcome poverty; 2) in times of hardship, families have complemented income for traditional sources with earnings from new activities. In addition to migration, which plays a pivotal role in all communities, piecework and weaving are important to income generation in the Sierra, small businesses are important in the Costa, and increased production of cash crops is important in the Oriente. Families have also reduced expenditures on clothing, fiestas, and food. Spending less on food is alarming as malnutrition rates in rural Ecuador are already very high; and 3) poor rural families express very practical solutions to overcoming poverty. They don't demand sweeping changes. Overwhelmingly, they suggest measures that will make available land and human resources more productive. Almost half the suggestions from poor rural families have to do with infrastructure. Many families also want training courses (both agricultural and nonagricultural).

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Citation

Hentschel, Jesko Waters, William F. Vandever Web

Rural poverty in Ecuador : a qualitative assessment (English). Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 1576 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/328351468751759646/Rural-poverty-in-Ecuador-a-qualitative-assessment