01 May 2018
Thesis Examination: "Diversifying Livelihoods in the Reduction of Extreme Poverty in Rwanda: A Case Study of Household Beneficiaries of Public Works’ Program"
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Thesis Examination

Diversifying Livelihoods in the Reduction of Extreme Poverty in Rwanda: A Case Study of Household Beneficiaries of Public Works’ Program

Mrs. Justine Mukandakebuka
M.A in Social Science (Development Studies) 

Examining committee:
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Buapun Promphakping
(Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University)
Lect. Dr. Mukdawan Sakboon
(Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)
Lect. Dr. Prasit Leepreecha
(Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)

Tuesday 1 May 2018, from 10.00 p.m. Subaltern Meeting room,
basement floor, Operational Building, Faculty of Social Sciences

The government of Rwanda has since 2008 initiated a pro-poor growth program known as Public works as part of the national poverty reduction efforts. The public works’ activities provide labor work in infrastructure development projects to extremely poor household beneficiaries in the rural areas, who are the public works’ main target. This research is located in Gihango sector in Rwanda Western Province’s Rutsiro District which has experienced high poverty and extreme poverty incidence. This study aims to assess ways in which physical and economic capitals generated through different activities under public works’ program, contribute to an enhancement of both beneficiaries’ livelihoods, and those of their communities. It aims also to investigate diverse strategies that the household beneficiaries employ to make use of economic and physical capitals obtained through public works’ program to sustain their livelihood security, and in the long term, to achieve the graduating from extreme poverty conditions. Through in-depth interview, research questionnaire, and participant observation approaches, a case study was used with regards to assessing the relationship between public works’ benefits and household beneficiaries’ livelihood diversification in improving living conditions and ensuring livelihood security. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 32 household beneficiaries and five local authorities in November 2017. Through ethnographic approach and analysis, the research reveals the social-economic benefits of public works program in improving living conditions of beneficiaries while also enabling their social integration in the community’s activities. Among these benefits were job creation, the reduction of school dropout, access to health services, increasing opportunities in other economic activities, gender inclusion, and social integration. The study find out the benefit of economic capital from the program to play an important role in solving everyday needs and ensuring livelihoods security of beneficiaries. Indeed, nutrition, education, health, as well as asset accumulation were the areas in which economic capital from public works was most helpful. The study documented the diversification of livelihood activities by beneficiaries based on their choice, capabilities, and availability of opportunities in their areas. Examples varied from participation in community savings groups, investment in small animals farming, trade in foods and other commodities, and access to bank credit to support self-reliant economic activities as among the strategies to expand livelihoods activities. The research argues that livelihood diversification enhances livelihood security, thus highlighting enabling roles of socio-economic and physical capitals made available under public works’ activities.

Mrs. Justine Mukandakebuka is a master’s student at the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University.  She completed a B.A. in Sociology at Independent University of Kigali in Rwanda. She is working for the Ministry of Local Government (Department of Community Development and Social Affairs) in Rwanda. Moreover, she is currently conducting research on livelihood diversification as strategy for extreme poverty reduction among household beneficiaries of public works program in Gihango sector in Rwanda western province’s Rutsiro district.

:: Your attendance is highly appreciated ::