How do people living in poverty actually survive on a day-to-day basis, and whatcan be learnt from this to enable them to develop sustainable livelihoods?This summary of the study reveals the reality of how 46 women and men survivein Splott and Riverside, two districts close to the centre of Cardiff. Using aparticipatory qualitative method based on the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods Approach’(SLA) in both communities men and women were interviewed individually. Thisstudy builds on the 2006 research centred in Thornaby on Tees, entitled “WhenEnds Don’t Meet”.
The interviews were undertaken by two of Oxfam’s partners in Wales, the South Riverside CommunityDevelopment Centre (SRCDC) and the Splotlands Credit Union (SCU). One aim of the study was toencourage the partnership process between local community organisations; these two organisationshad not worked in partnership prior to this work. To this end, they received training in the use of theSLA and they were able to adapt the process to meet their needs during this period. The demographiccharacteristics of the 46 women and men interviewed for the study reflect each organisation’s clientgroup. Residents of Splott (an inner city ward to the east of the centre) are predominantly white workingclass with smaller pockets of minority ethnic communities including Gypsy and Traveller communities,Somalis and East Europeans. Riverside (an inner city ward to the west of the centre) hosts a large Asiancommunity, including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Yemeni and Afghani men and women. Both areas are hometo a number of refugees and asylum seekers.
Present policy responses to poverty in the UK focus primarily on concerns around financial resources,failing to take into account other types of resources, or the connections between different resources or lack of them. Such factors are crucial in understanding how people live, and how best to intervene inpolicy and practice terms to build up their livelihoods capacity. They may also hold clues as to whycertain women and men are unable to access formal employment. The Sustainable LivelihoodsApproach
analyses the existing resources people have and how they can be built upon to achievea sustainable livelihood.The SLA provides reference points for analysing resources; influences (positive and/or negative),and strategies that people adopt, that impact on their ability to survive being in poverty.The approach is based on core principles that it is
– supporting people to achieve their own livelihood goals
– recognising the ‘multiple influences, actors, strategies and outcomes in peoples lives
– seeking to understand change and how to support patterns of positive change
Building on strengths
– recognising everyone’s inherent potential
Making links between the macro and the micro
– bridging the gap between individual livesand wider policies and institutions that affect them
– in a social and institutional sense as well as economic and environmental.
Making Ends Meet
Livelihoods in Cardiff: Surviving/Coping/Managing
Most minority ethnic groups have higher rates of poverty than the average for the population and rates of poverty are highest for Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Black Africans.
See DFID framework (1999)