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Non Government Organisation On Alleviating Poverty In Sierra Economics Essay

Serious Setback it is causing globally. Ti has become the world’s epidemic threatening some economic especially those in the Least Developing Countries (LDCs). Hence, the magnitude of poverty though varying in different parts of the world is known to be prominent in the LDCs. Countries could be found in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. According to Raanan Weitz 1986,”while humanity shares one planet, it is a planet on which there are two worlds, the rich and the world of the poor” these poor world countries are called the Third World. [1]

They are characterized by low economic growth, low per capital income, low standards of living, and low level of technology, high illiteracy rate, and political instability.

All of these serve as an impediment to the economic growth processes of these countries.

According to Allan Cochrane” A crucial aspect of poverty is the way in which

It reduces ability of people to participate in the normal lives of their communities with stress being placed on the deprivation which results from the lack of income rather than low income itself” [2]

Poverty can influence policy intervention in any society and it is central to policy debates concerning development on welfare issue.

After the end of the first and second World Wars that lead mostly to the devastation of Europe, a group countries came together to form the league that will seek to the

Affairs of their countries, promote international relations seeking to operate in a variety of areas of human activities. This resulted to formation of International Governmental Organization (INGOs) charged with the responsibility and vision to facilitate the issue of war and peace, disease prevention and peace, and economic development. These IGOs seem to be dominant in contemporary international affairs.

Besides, other actors who also play significant role in influencing and determining the course of international relations but yet are not so officially recognized by states, (nonprofit making, voluntarily farmed, specific aims and objectives and that which are active in various human welfare),are Non- governmental Organization(NGOs).

According to Daniel S. Papp, Non-government Organizations are extremely divers in Size, composition objective and include bodies such as the International Olympic

Commission (IOC).

The Committee for nuclear disarmament, the International Federation of Air line Pilots Association, International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The International Chamber of commerce, and the World Federation of true Union. [3]

In the least developed countries like Africa, both the income and non- income aspect poverty is pervasive due to problem stretching from bad government and mismanagement, poor economic growth, unemployment and underemployment, take of access to social services ,low level of investment, high degree of in debtness and many others. The above, mentioned views are buttress by Santiago (1973), thus “the third world, with 77% of the population, subsists on only 22% of the world income and even this population in abject poverty [4]

Nevertheless, most of the LDCs have formulated policies and strategies for poverty reduction in their development plans supported and financed by international organizations.

Sierra Leone at the west coast of Africa, according to world population data of the reference bureau, Sierra Leone has an estimated population of about 4.5 million. With the natural resources vary from fertile land tropical mineral deposits. Yet, it is ranked at the bottom of united nation Human Development Index (HDI) as the poorest in the world.

“In support to further reforms and effort to stabilize the economy, the International Monetary Fund(IMF)approved an economic program inflict assistance facilitate the economy in December 1999.The World Bank also the Economic Rehabilitation and Recovery credit to assist Government in restoring protective and economic security.

Other donors including the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), THE Department for International Development (DFID) UK and the European Economic Commission (EU) or (EEC) have provided ongoing emergency recovery assistance and budgetary support to enhance government capacity to fund critical program and improve service delivery” [5]

In a bid to improve on the efficiency of donors support, the Government has centralized aid Coordination in the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning (MODEP) to formulate humanitarian guideline for all NGOs operating in the country.

About 75.5% of the county’s total population live below the poverty line less than one United States dollar (UA$1) per day” [6] .This low human development will include indicators like: low primary school enrollment, high illiteracy rate, high maternal death rate, and low level of security etc.

However, the poverty situation becomes worsened during the war when most sectors from which the government was receiving revenue especially the mining sector become the target of the war. With the end of the war and successful conclusion of Presidential and Parliamentary elections on the 14th May 2002, Government has already implemented series of strategies that seek to alleviate poverty. To redress poverty, the government articulated and interim poverty reduction paper (I-PRSP) in June2001.

Government Institutions, Sectors, International Organization and the international community have refined their policies toward reducing poverty in the country.


Similar research works have been undertaken in various parts of the country, and at various quarters to investigate the role played by NGOs in complementing and fulfilling Government’s efforts in its stride to help improve the welfare of the citizens.

However, many campaigns, talks and surveys have proved right that NGOs are indeed playing crucial roles in human activities and have had some degrees of successes in obtaining the objectives. Example of such NGOs include: The International Red Cross, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, The World Vision, Catholic Relief Service, United Nations Development Programmes, Africare, UNICEF, Notre-Dame, United Nations Fund for Population, United Nations, Save the Children, ARC International ,World Food Programme, and the like.

Hence, it is important for a survey like this to be conducted to see how Caritas in Sierra Leone in helping to alleviate poverty. In Sierra Leone, like in any other third world countries, poverty is a complete rural phenomenon. Survey undertaking by various quarters, groups, researchers, civil societies, government sectors have shown that poverty is very alarming in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sierra Leone. To add an addendum to this point, the Central Statistics Office now known as Statistic Sierra Leone,(SCOSHEHEA 1989-1990), explain thus: Eastern Province about 26.4%of the population is poor, Northern province 35.3%,Western Area 15.9% and the SouthernProvince22.3%.

Poverty is manifested in the following activities, some single parent family begging in streets, increase in commercial sex work, and an increase in the number of early marriage and pregnancy, high rate of inflation, massive unemployment of Youth etc.

The study seeks to highlight the important role played by NGOs with emphasis on Caritas in alleviating poverty. It will also serve as a basis for now and future projection in the allocation of resource for development program

Lastly, with the completion of the research work, it can be of good source of information for future researchers, who may wish to further investigate the role NGOs play in poverty alleviations.


Poverty is a situation which renders communities and individuals ineffective, passive an isolated, thereby reducing the ability of people to participate in the normal lives of their communities resulting to deprivation which is characterized by lack of income rather than the low income itself.

This poverty epidemic is very widespread in Sierra Leone. It penetrates all sectors of the society and at the same time arrests development. Poverty is the major hurdle and impediments of developmental aspirations and strides in the third worlds which Sierra Leone is an integral component.


A good number of NGOs had operated in Sierra Leone in many fields of human endeavor before, during and after the 11 years Civil War, ranging from Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development.

The main thrust of this work is to assess Caritas whose efforts in the alleviation of poverty had produced ominous result.

A thorough scrutiny of their efforts and results would establish the level and type and degree of the impact on the beneficiaries.

A study of this nature focusing on NGOs, Caritas a case study, deal with the situation of poverty which is causing pervasive malaise in the Country and particularly for the rural and urban rural areas who constantly striving for daily living.



The major aim of this research is to assess Caritas Sierra Leone (NGO) role in alleviating poverty in Sierra Leone.


The aim of this can be achieved through the following objectives:

A brief survey of the historical background of Caritas, with regards to its aim and objective, Organizational goal, Mission statement, Mandate, Sources of funding, and Caritas administrative structure.

To assess the various activities of Caritas on poverty reduction in areas of Agriculture, Education and Health.

Policy recommendations, suggestions and conclusion with strategies and ways forward.


Caritas Sierra Leone (NGO) is helping and completing Government’s effort to alleviate poverty in Sierra Leone.


The research work is designed to cover three implementing sectors of Caritas with regard to poverty alleviation, which includes:

Agricultural Recovery/Activities



1.7. Limitation

Limitation of this work varied from the limited time , time constraint due to distance coverage .It is clear that out of sight is out of mind .Researcher is faced with the difficulty of moving from China to home country as it is cost effective for a lengthy period of work. Therefore, financial constraint is another impediment to this research work, and thus has prevented the researcher to cover a large area. Most of the people consulted and selected to answer questions with regard to their sectors where field workers and are often out in the field.

The unwillingness of the respondents to respond to certain questions especially those directed to issues related to finances.

Another constraint imposed by this study has been the absence of proper and up-to-date records, and most answers given by respondents were not substantiated by records. Also, the lack of modern technology in the region gave research tuff time to gather information.


The study consists of a desk research method. Due to time limitation, and with regards to the objectives of this work, researcher will be assessing information gathered from secondary sources/data in order to produce the required and desired result. The desk study consisted of a literature review of existing reports and works, which include previous study relating to the subject matter.

Studies have been undertaken by Development workers, social workers, economics, theorists, and other set of humanity with a bid to explain the issues of poverty. Caritas has also written articles, published seminar papers, magazines, workshop reports, documentation and journal on their activities and all these will consulted and used.

The secondary data collection involves the provided by institutionalized organisation like World Bank, Sierra Leone Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Statistic Sierra Leone, UNDP, FAO1991, The United Nations, Sierra Leone Ministry of Finance, Catholic Relief Services, Caritas and other Statistical agencies with regards to the topic of the study.

The researcher opted to integrate the qualitative and quantitative approach in this study due to its significant advantages. The use of qualitative and quantitative methods of data presentation is of great advantage, as they are more open to changes and refinement of research ideas as the study progresses; this implies that qualitative data gathering tools are highly flexible.


The study is descriptive and to the objectives of this dissertation, the desk research method is used which involves collection of data from Caritas field officers, and administrators, and documentation etc.

Reviews of related articles, publications and development journals on this subject matter have been consulted and used. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data analysis will be used.


Tables, Charts, Averages and Percentages will be used to analysis and present the data.


Chapter one deals with the dissertation proposal that is, background which explain Poverty Globally, Regionally and Sub-Regionally, Justification, Problem, Statement of the problem, Aim and Objectives, Hypothesis, Scope, Limitation ,Methodology, and organisation of the work Literature Review, . Chapter two deals with Theoretical Review and three approaches, Chapter three deals with Methodology, Chapter four deals with Analysis of the Data/Methodology and Chapter five deals with Conclusions and Recommendations.


Poverty has become a sensitive issue all over the world. Because of this ,individual, consultative group meetings, Government Institutions, Non- Governmental Organisation, Human Right Activist Groups, Humanitarian Organisation, Civil Societies groups, Women Organisations, have in diverse ways undertaken research work written books and formulated activities and strategies towards alleviating poverty.

In the course of this discussion, divergent views from selected works will be assessed critically look at their designs and mechanisms that are and were adopted by NGOs with specific reference to Caritas Sierra Leone to reduce poverty in the LDCs.

Peter Townsend (1979) an exponent on the concept and its effect on humanity viewed poverty as follows; “Individuals, families and groups in population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and how the living the conditions and amenities which are customary or approved in the societies to which they belong” .There resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they in effect excluded from the ordinary living patterns, custom and activities.

Similarly so in Sierra Leone, a situation current under which the bulk of the population is being affected more especially in the rural areas.

This work will however examine the length and extent of the poor status under which the population is categories and how it has been alleviated with the intervention of Caritas in Sierra Leone.

Evaluating the impact of NGOs, Women’s Association in Rural Poverty Alleviation, Connick (1992) outlined the spending power of the average urban household is 2.5 times as the average rural, household ,with a large proportion of the rural household clustered in the lowest spending expenditure groups . The selection of the reviewed location of this study is a clear indication to the fact that the poverty is a rural phenomenon in Sierra Leone and the need for partners in development like Caritas to engage in activities that alleviate poverty in this area is a much concern to this research.

Galbraith John Kenneth (1970) revealed that, poverty may itself be a cause of poverty. This is because; it denies the country from investment, revenues for education or purchasing power for consumer product, which in turn, is an inventive to effort. Thus, poverty perpetuates itself. Such are the fundamental that both systems must attack. It is unlikely, that that the causes operate in the same form and in the intensively in any two cases. Effective attacks therefore require not only efficient remedies but also effective diagnosed of the condition to be ameliorated.

In applying strategies/policies geared towards poverty reduction in the country, proper identification of the poverty situation should be undertaken.

This however, should be complemented by inducting activities and policies to reduce poverty. However, streaming the poverty alleviation programmes, of Caritas from 2001-2008 is a period diagnosed as poverty being very prominent.

The strategies and mechanism used by Caritas in fighting poverty is the backbone of this research work.

Forster and Shorrocks (1991) argue that aggregate measure of poverty have to be sub-divided consistent. This poverty of a poverty index is closely associated with the nation of decomposability or adaptively across sub-groups .If a poverty index is sub-group consisting, then it must be in the Forster etal, class or any of their increasing transformation.

In support of Forster and Shorrocks 1991 statement, Sierra Leone Government put strategy and mechanisms in place, in order to sub-grouped poverty. The Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy was form to look into the poverty situation.

Von Pisschke (1919) recognized that, poverty is contextual that is not static and it is relative. Micro credit loan was introduced as a mechanism for the poor to pursue Poverty Reduction activities which were within means and capacities. The knowledge behind this is that, poverty situation can be improved and a way of doing this is through giving micro-credit loans to co-operative groups, women’s Organisation. Individuals, to actively engage in activities like small scale business, agricultural activities, which aid in the increase and improvement of diets as well as participating in the activities of their respective communities. This is evident in areas in which Local NGOs; International NGOs operate to reduce poverty in the society. A case study is the activities of Caritas in rural areas and rural urban areas within the last twelve years.

A conceptual frame work is that, micro-credit or small loan recommended as a process for generating income through Agricultural activities. Literacy programmes, Skill training or through Small- scale business is widely a concept in the areas where NGOs and other societier Organisations operate. Caritas will be the one under investigation.

With regard to this issue, Khander and Kabeer (1998) discussed the idea that, NGOs and Donors were dictated on policies which specifically called for the increased in micro-credit loans to reach out to women and these micro-credit programmes did not limit their desire impact to poverty reduction only but extended it to achieve women’s empowerment

Nonetheless, in Sub-Saharan Economics, Agriculture is purely subsistence and women are the actors in the production of food and responsible for the smooth running of the home, loans are therefore giving and directed to undertake such activities in the society in order to reduce poverty.

Evidence in Chao Beroff (1999) shown that, micro-credit programmes were meant to help the poor generate income and alleviate the poverty sustainable.

Similarly, Mayout (2000) explained in the second paradigm that is called the “poverty Alleviation Paradigm” which manifested in increasing outreach and access to the poor ,providing small loans for consumption and training in some of the poor segment of the population and they are the ones directly targeted and responsible for the family well-being.

The issue here is that, micro-credit are meant and targeted more specifically for women whose role in the family well-being are very significant.

Mansaray Shiekh U. (1995) also explained that, education, per-capital income, level of investment changes in farm size, employment health, food and nutrition etc were the agents or sectors of development.

However, an improvement in these sectors will bring about sustainable development that will reduce poverty. The role of Non-governmental Organisation in development with specific references to the association of Rural Development was taken as the subject on these issues.

Susistainable development, however gives to growth leading to a high standard of living .With regard to this, poverty will be alleviated. This study focuses and is however related to examination of the role of Caritas in alleviating poverty with special references to the aspects of Agriculture production, skill training Literacy which is part of the sectors, outlines in development.

Gordon Drabek (1988) outlined various analytic concepts and prescription within the idea of promoting southern NGOs in the developing countries .Many reasons related to the mistakes that have been occurring over time by socio-economic developing countries and making the individual who are intended to gain from these developmental policies continue to remain poor as ever. However, southern NGOs have contributed significant resource of different categories to development programmes at community and national level for the benefit of the deprived groups in the rural and urban communities. In assessing the role of Caritas in alleviating poverty in Sierra Leone will be an evident toward NGOs performance in their intended purposes.

Also, Chamber R. (1988) used the idea of “Additionally” to present the outstanding contribution of NGOs to development programmes. “Additionally” here means the making of things better than they would have been and allows for bad as well as good effects.

Quiet a substantial number of NGOs which operate in Sierra Leone of which Caritas is one among the many. Caritas in this respect is targeted to see the extent of its contribution in poverty alleviation well composed, organized, established and their contribution towards improving human activities in rural and urban communities is well organized.

The issue of education as one of the concept of poverty to be discussed in this study will examine that, an improvement in literacy programmes; education will improve the activities of the individuals and they society in which they live. Skill and knowledge acquire enhances socio-economic development that will reduce poverty.

Revealed in this was Schneider (1993), who is an exponent in this field. He emphasized the issue that an improvement in education reduces poverty. He looked at “Environmental Education” as a permanent process in which individuals gain awareness of their environment and acquired knowledge, values, skills experience and also the determination which will enable them to act individually and collectively to solve present and future environmental problems.

The quick intervention of Caritas on literacy programme as one sector is a concern. The acquired skills and knowledge will bring about development that will have to lead to growth in society. Hence, poverty will be reduced.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) (1993) pointed out that, “Poverty is not a marginal or incidental phenomenon, but is structurally related to the way economics and social systems function. That is, systems of production, labour use and distribution have embedded within their mechanism which leads to poverty. It follows that, to tackle poverty, it is necessary to start with an understanding of these underlying social and economic relations and to modify them through a range of Economic, Institution and Legislative intervention”.

Sen A. (1993) examined that the conceptual level them,”poverty line is a term which suggests that there is a clear line of demarcation that separates the poor from the non-poor. When we say that an individual is in poverty, or below poverty line, we mean that the person, standard of living falls below a minimum acceptable level.

The standard of living is a multi-dimensioned concept that involves various commodities an individual consumes and the activities he engages in or could engage in.

The issue of poverty measurement was inspired by the need to identify who the poor are, in respective of their individual attributes, as an important factor to understand the dynamics of the poverty process, Rodger J. and Rodgers J. (1991) outlined that, currently, the head-count Ratio, the poverty Gap and the Foster Greer- Thorbecke measures of poverty are the most widely used and appraised in the poverty literature.

The focus of the study on poverty indicators such as Commodities Food Aids, Agriculture Recovery and Literacy, Primary Health Care Activities are crucial determinant of poverty conditions.

Evident in this is Ravallion etal (1991) and Anand and Ravallion (1993) explained that, there are methodological approaches of incorporating these factors into poverty analysis. One is to set up a functional relationship between the poverty line, or any chosen index of poverty and these social and environment process.

World Development Report (1990) another crucial deviant is that of the relationship between poverty alleviation and the macro-economic policy environment of the developing countries which is an aspect that is assumed away in policy analysis and programmes design. But for Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is such, analysis and programmes design. Poverty is a wide spread phenomenon. In this case, poverty is not inequality and as such, analysis should be concerned with the absolute standard of living of the society as a whole rather than the concept of inequality in affluent societies with relative living standard across the nation. Ravallion M. (1992) explained that, “head count ration” is a fraction of the income receiving units which are below the poverty line.

If Z is defined as the poverty-line income and Y1< Y2>……Yg<……..Yg + 1<……..Yn as house hood incomes in ascending order, then there are Q units below the poverty line. Denoting the ration as H1 we define H= Q/n …..1. as the ration of the people with an income level below.

The poverty line, where q is the total number of people earning an income level below Z and N is the total number of the population. In case when the income distribution follows a continuous probability function over the random variable income Y1H is define as:- H= Eb (Y) dy = F (2) … 1 / F (y). Where H = f (2) is the distribution function up to income level Z.

The issue of poverty is a multi-dimensional concept but has long appeared as an addendum to the analysis of income distribution. There is however no coherent theory of its prevalence, intensity and severity. Rodgers and Rodgers (1990) have suggested a rather different measure of the intensity define an index of poverty that could utilize all the known measure of poverty indices. They define an index of poverty intensity (P1) in sub-population K as:- The P/K= the proportion of population size contribution by group K. P/K is particularly much appealing to the class of poverty measure that are sub-group consistent or additively decomposable. In such a case, P/K= P P/K where pk is a group k’s poverty index value and P is poverty index calculated for the entire population.

Akeredolu-ale (1975) pointed that poverty analysis must concern itself with identifying the forces which govern and determine the pattern of ownership of the factors of population since it is that pattern which in turn determines the structure of interpersonal and inter-group differentials in wealth and income in society.

Forster and Shorrocks (1991) argue that aggregate measure of poverty sub-group consistent. This poverty of a poverty index associated with the nation of decomposability or adaptively across sub-groups. If a poverty index is sub-group consist, then it must be in the Forster etal Class or any of their increasing transformation.

U.S Civil Right Civil Movement 1960 focuses attention on poverty among ethnic minorities. During the 1970’s and 1980’s various advances were made in the fight against poverty.

Jane Addams 1889 successfully pressed for Laws with regards to poverty and to protect the neediest section of American Society.

The U.S Council of Economic Advisors, 1964, “the vicious circle, in which poverty, occurs through time, and transmits its effect from one generation to another”. There is no beginning to the circle, no end (quoted in Moynihan, 1968, p.g 9).These two statements contains the kernel of the theory that views poverty as positive feedback system, which is a system in which each part reinforces the others and so maintains the system as a whole.

Poverty has become a culture, that is passed on generations after generations, as circumstances and problems tend to produce similar responses, and these has develop into culture, this has led to the concept of “Culture of Poverty”.

An American anthropologist Oscar Lewis 1950 argues that the culture of poverty is a “Design for Living” which is transmitted from generation to the next, as a design for living which directs behavior, the culture.

Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend 1965 illustrates clearly that the measuring instruments employed.

President Lyndon B. John Johnson 1964, declared “War on poverty” with the passing of the Economic Opportunity Act and the formation of the office of Economic opportunity to coordinate measures to fight poverty.

The comment of the American anthropologist Thomas Gladwin, represent the views of many on this campaign, the whole conception of the “War on Poverty”, notably those of Oscar Lewis 1950 … provide the basis for programmes at the national level designed, very explicitly to correct the social, occupation and psychological deficits of people born and raised to a life of poverty.


The issue of poverty has global phenomena. Poverty is not only a pandemic, but also a cancan worm that is eating the heart of humans. This piece of work tend to illustrate the various perception that theorist held about the concept of poverty, the various approaches toward poverty alleviation.

There have been divergent views on poverty concept based on individual analysis and interpretation of this epidemic. Therefore four theories connected to the interpretation and analysis of poverty alleviation will be presented in this work. For the purpose of this research work, the four theories which are linked to poverty alleviation, and who gave their opinions and views of poverty include the following: The Conflict Theory, the Institutional/ Structural Theory, The functionalist Theory, and the Social Transformation Theory.


Cochrane Allan “The problems of Poverty Ruidi Dallos and Edited Eugene Mc Laughlin, Social Problems and the Family London SAGE publication.

Caritas Sierra Leone -Bulletins, Handouts, Seminar Paper, Magazines and Brochures 2005-2006

Caritas Sierra Leone- Annual Reports on Agricultural Sector 2005-2006

Caritas Sierra Leone -Annual Reports on Education 2005-2006

Chambers, Robert (1995) Rural Development Putting the Last First. Essex: Longman.

Daniel S Papp “Contemporary International Relation” Pages 91-92

Human Development Report (2002-2007).United Nations Development Program, New York


James Williams Coleman; Donald R. Cressey (1993) “Social Problems”. (6th Ed.), Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Marx Karl 1978a (1845) “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1884” In the Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 66-125. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Murray, Charles and Richard J. Herrnstein (1994) The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York: Free Press.

Republic of Sierra Leone Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper June 2001.

Santiago 91973) Declaration of Third World, World Economics.

Townsend, Peter.(1985) A sociological approach to the measurement of poverty: Rejoinder to Professor Amartya Sen. Oxford Economics Papers No.37.

Townsend, P.(1997) Poverty in the United Kingdom. London

Townsend P. (1979) “Poverty in the UK” Harmon’s worth Penguin

: UNDP (1996) Human Development Report, 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

: UNDP (1997) Human Development Report, 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

UNDP (2002-2002-4) Human Development Report New York: United Nation Development Program

World Bank (1975-1999) “The assault of World Report: problems of Rural Development Education and Health”, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

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