Poverty | Civics Form Three Notes


Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources for a minimum standard of living.
Levels of poverty
1. The first group consists of those who have no money or possessions and have lost hope. They do not have enough food and in most cases depend on charity for survival. They are unable to sustain themselves. Most of these people are either too old or young and handicapped to work.
2. The second group consists of people who can meet their basic needs but do not have sufficient income to have any surplus income. This group comprises of many workers who are being paid low or insufficient salaries - a salary which enables them to meet only their basic needs.
Types of poverty
1. Absolute poverty
Absolute poverty is lack of human needs like: clean water, food, shelter, clothes and education.
2. Relative poverty 
Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or income as compared to others within a society, country or worldwide.



Indicators of Poverty
1.   Lack of clean and safe water
In poor countries, many people do not have access to clean and safe water. Only 57 percent of Tanzania’s population of 57 million have access to an improved source of safe water. Under these circumstances people, particularly women and girls, spend a significant amount of time traveling some distance to collect water.
2.   Poor health services 
In poor countries, health care is poor. Also poor people are not able to afford health care costs. For example in Tanzania, poor health services have been responsible for the prevalence of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, and tuberculosis.
3.   Low Life expectancy
Poor countries experience low life expectancy. According to the Health Statistical Abstract (1977), the average life expectancy at birth in Tanzania is 50 years compared to life expectancy of 77 years in developed countries.
4.   Illiteracy
Illiteracy is unable to read or write. Many people in developing countries are illiterate.
5.   Unemployment
Many people in poor countries are unemployed. This is different from developed countries where by unemployment rate is low.
6.   Low per capital income
Per capital income is an average income earned per person. Poor country have low per capital income as compared to developed ones.
The Causes of Poverty in Tanzania
1.   poor agricultural sector 
Many Tanzanians rely on agriculture. However, agriculture is not doing well which causes many people to be poor.
2.   Low level of science and technology
In Tanzania, poor technology is still being used; this leads to low productivity in all sectors of production. For instance, a majority of farmers are still using hand hoes. This act has contributed a lot to the increase of poverty in Tanzania.
3.   Government taxes
Increasing taxes without considering people's ability to pay contributes to the increase of poverty in Tanzania.
4.   Laziness 
Some people don't work because of laziness. This situation causes poverty.
5.   Mismanagement of public funds
Some leaders are misusing failed public funds. There are poor social services provisions because leaders are using public funds for their own benefit.
6.   Diseases 
Explosion of diseases such as HIV and AIDS, cholera and typhoid have increased the poverty problems. The government and family members are spending a lot of money for curative and preventive measures- money which could have been used to finance the agricultural and industrial sectors is used to fight such diseases.
7.   Unequal exchange
Tanzania is one of the developing countries, so the prices for her imported and exported goods and goods are fixed by rich countries. The prices offered to the goods from developing countries are very low but are high for those from developed countries. This imbalance of trade has forced poor countries like Tanzania to remain poor. This trade relationship is difficult to break.
The Effects of Poverty in Tanzania
1.   Increase in illiteracy
Normally, poor societies fail to send its children to school. There are so many cases of parents failing to pay school fees for their children after they have been selected to join secondary schools.
2.   Deforestation
This is because people cannot afford gas and electricity, hence, they rely on cheap sources of energy like charcoal and firewood, which causes deforestation.
3.   Low agricultural yields
This is because people use hand hoes in production which leads to low agricultural yields.
4.   Increase of diseases
Because of poverty, many young people have become involved in the business of prostitution, and this causes them to contract HIV AIDS.
5.   Increase of criminal acts
Many people are forced to indulge themselves in these social evils because of poverty. They become involved in crime to earn money to provide for their families.
6.   Malnutrition
Malnutrition occur because poor people cannot get balanced diet because of poverty. In poor countries, malnutrition has affected many people especially children.
Strategies for Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania
After independence in 1961, Tanzania developed different strategies and policies to alleviate poverty such as the Arusha Declaration of 1967, in which the Government nationalized all means of production such as land, industries and mining. In 1986, the government embarked on Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) including trade liberalization, public sector reform, elimination of price controls and established monopolies, multiparty system and good governance. These strategies were suggested by the international community and were set as a condition of accessing loans and other assistance.
Despite all these efforts, the situation of poverty in Tanzania is worse than it was in the 1970s. The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) findings conclude that poverty in Tanzania has stagnated, and that some social indicators have worsened, but that the main characteristics of the poor have remained unchanged.
Therefore, the strategies for poverty alleviation in Tanzania are;
1. The Arusha Declaration of 1967, whereby the Government nationalized all means of production.
2. Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) of 1986, including trade liberalization, public sector reform and elimination of price controls.
3. Development Vision 2025 and the National Poverty Eradication Strategy (NPES) in 1999.
Effectiveness of the strategies in place for Poverty Alleviation
1. Agricultural output has grown at 3.7 percent per annum since 1990.
2. Mining has begun to generate higher output as a result of the investment undertaken by multinational corporations.
3. Social service sectors like health and education have expanded rapidly since the 1990s due to government consideration of them as a priority sector, as well as the expansion of the private sector into social service sector.
4. The government is paying more attention to cross-cutting issues like environment, gender, HIV and AIDS, employment, and malaria and restructuring local government.
5. Policy formation and strategy are more transparent than before.
6. Corruption is reduced and officials are held accountable for their crimes.


Answer the following questions:

1.   Briefly explain the two main types of poverty.
2.   Mention any five indicators of poverty.
3.   Explain why ignorance is believed to be one of the reasons for poverty in Tanzania?
4.   Describe the external causes of poverty in Tanzania.
5.   Alleviation and eradication of poverty do not demand only the internal support but also the external push. Discuss.
6.   Despite Tanzania being endowed with natural resources it is still poor. Elaborate.

7.   Show the impacts of poverty on socio-economic development in Tanzania.

Other Civics Form Three Topics

1. Promotion of Life Skills

2. Economic and Social Development


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