Context of Vulnerability

Special attention to vulnerable and so as special solutions for them is missing from SLA frame. Here, by the word “vulnerable” we mean extreme poor such as land less, low waged, disables, elderly, minority, women, and children who struggle for livelihoods. Some economic factors are dominant for food security of vulnerable groups in the community such as purchasing power and market relationship that underpins the access to food that is not produced by community or household.

Vulnerability context may differ from nation to nation especially in the context of shocks and disasters. According to Ford (2002), Bangladesh and Frorida are both vulnerable in terms of sea level rise and storms. 1992 hurricane caused damage of US $ 16bn but killed fewer than 20 people. Where as a year before a similar cyclone killed 140,000 people and ruined the livelihoods of millions. Ford suggests that there is a need to focus the characteristics of a system that influences the ability of the people and communities to respond to, cope with, and adapt to stimulus. Therefore, a generalized common framework on livelihood may miss the national context of vulnerability. What is useful in Africa may not be worthy for South Asia. Regional or even more microscopically national perspective of livelihoods of vulnerable groups should be dealt with special care and focus.

Different population living under different social, cultural, economic, and political circumstance may have different levels of vulnerability. The rights-based approach recognizes that households’ ability to access assets and entitlements are influenced to a great extent by power relations, which has political, social and economic dimensions. Therefore, fulfillment of rights by households requires transforming power relationships among stakeholders and removing the exclusionary mechanisms that prevent rights-realization by the poor (Frankenberger and Cogill 2001, cited in CARE 2003). Therefore, we suggest RBA as a process to deal power relation led exploitations and eventually to fulfill rights as an end to poverty. This argument could be further elaborated in power relation section.

A generalized version of SLA frame could miss the target. It may miss the deeper structural causes of vulnerability. SLA may be termed as superficial approach to deal with the remedies and eventually prescribe weak solutions for livelihoods. Analyzing the deeper causes Watts and Bohle (1993) came up with,

  • The particular distribution of entitlements and how these are reproduced
  • The larger canvas of rights by which entitlements are fought over, contested (empowerment)
  • Structural properties – crisis proneness for the political economy which precipitates entitlement crisis
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