Inheriting extreme poverty

[Household 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 about 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, and community leaders and officials all treat the early entrance of children into the world of work as the inevitable outcome of extreme household poverty. There is little awareness of the immediate risks and longer-term harmful consequences of children's work. By contrast, community actors and institutions are supportive of and play an active role in efforts to improve school participation among the poorest and to reduce the prevalence of early marriage. School participation is widely seen as important, including for the very poor and early marriage equally widely known to have negative consequences. But while school participation and the age at which girls marry are understood to have risen over the last decade, progress on child labour appears to have gone in the other direction: many community actors actually perceive there to have been a rise in child labour over the same period.


Date and language
Dec 2009

Corporate Author

Agrovoc terms: 
Physical Location: 
FPMU Documentation Center
Classification Number: 
Other information
Printed resource

Share this