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How and why poor people help each other: A perspective from the Maphumulo rural community in KwaZulu-Natal

by Anne Murenha; Siphamandla Chili

Sep 1, 2011
The persistent rising levels of poverty in Southern Africa have prompted the questioning of some of the assumptions apparent in mainstream philanthropy. In an effort to eradicate poverty, community development initiatives have in many instances failed to engage those people they are meant to benefit with regard to both resource mobilization and policy implementation. Beneficiaries of development are dismissed as helpless objects waiting to be rescued by external good Samaritans. The living realities of poor people, such as how they live their day-today lives and their survival strategies, have been poorly understood within philanthropic thinking and public and development policy frameworks. In addition, little is known about why people in poor communities give and receive from each other and what motivates them to give. As a result, organised philanthropy or vertical giving (where the rich give to the poor) has been practiced with little knowledge and recognition of the indigenous and organic forms of community philanthropy or horizontal philanthropy - giving between and amongst the poor. For decades, poverty eradication has been at the centre of international development and social change with different development ideologies having been applied. Yet in many African countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty persists.
How and why poor people help each other: A perspective from the Maphumulo rural community in KwaZulu-Natal

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