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Discuss How Different Groups Within Society Experience Poverty in Different Ways

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Submitted By mollycoxx
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With Reference To A Country You Have Studied, Discuss How Different Groups within Society Experience Poverty in Different Ways

Botswana is a nation that has experience high rates of economic growth since 1966 when it gained independence. It’s a middle income country with a GDP $5,360, although over 45% of people who live there are below the absolute poverty line. This particular type of poverty is seen in rural areas and female headed households where there is significant differences income. Due to this, and many other reasons there are big differences in equality throughout Botswana, giving a large Gini coefficient of 0.54. Other reasons include developing wealth in Botswana, especially through the diamond trade. The country struggles to include the poor, remote communities into the mainstream economy. One example of this is that the poorest 20% of the population get 4% of the national income, whereas the richest get 60%.

Botswana has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world with 350,000 people affected and 39% of 15-49 year olds infected. HIV/AIDS rates are so extremely high due to the migration to South Africa for work and internal migration between rural and urban areas. Life expectancy rates have fallen from over 60 years in 1996 to just 35 in 2007. Many people are dying young and so the size of the work force is declining. It also means the number of widows and orphans is increasing. There are 69,000 AIDS orphans in Botswana. There are many government benefits and food rations to support orphans although, it is seen as humiliating, and many carers will not register the orphans in their homes. Many households are too poor to look after extra children, and too proud to accept benefits. Consequently, more children are living in terrible conditions, underfed and increasingly vulnerable. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has made the children’s lives worse. Despite policies designed to deal with the problem, the situation is not getting better.

Another group of people in poverty are women. Traditionally women have never been allowed to own their own land because they had a very low socio-economic status. In Palapye (Central Eastern Botswana) many women are heads of households and unemployed. The village is a major stopping, and a place where many women in poverty have to resort to prostitution. This spreads HIV/AIDS across the country.

Only 5% of land in Botswana is suitable for arable farming, and this is mostly in the east of the country. Most of country are employed in agriculture and are subsistence farmers; however this is extremely unreliable due to drought and unreliable rainfall. Farming in Botswana faces a 30% chance of crop failure due to drought. 45% of people in Botswana live in rural areas and 48% of these are classed as poor.

There has been a rapid rate of urbanisation since 1970. The number of people classified as urban has increased from 4% in 1966, to 55% today. Population growth rates reached a high of 4.1% between 1971-91, and migration to the large towns caused a major shift in the country’s population. Although urbanisation has been rapid, many people retain their rural lifestyle, which traditionally involves regular migrations.

Remote Area Dwellers are the poorest of Botswana’s poor. The San Bushmen are the most well known however there are many others who remain remote from most of Botswana, living in small, dispersed nomadic communities far from basic services. They lack access to formal education and training, and so remain poverty here remains very high.

There is a large amount of inequality in Botswana between different groups within society. Those with HIV/AIDS, women, orphans, farmers and Remote Area Dwellers. Some experience more poverty than others and they all experience different types. Those caring for orphans are in empowerment poverty and need to accept help, whereas farmers depnd on many different factors for it to be reliable.

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