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ERIC Number: EJ786924
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0303-8300
Reconciling the Needs and Wants of Respondents in Two Rural Ethiopian Communities
Lavers, Tom
Social Indicators Research, v86 n1 p129-147 Mar 2008
This paper uses the Quality of Life research carried out by the Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) Research Group to examine the importance respondents have attributed to a variety of goals in two rural communities in Ethiopia. The results are analysed at the community, household and individual levels to expose the contestation involved in expressions of goal preference at different levels, and the power relations that underlie and contribute to the formation of these goal preferences. In this way, taking communities or households as homogenous units is shown to be inaccurate and potentially misleading. Analysis of individual case studies also provides insight into the complex decision-making process where people with access to limited resources are forced to give certain goals priority depending on current exigencies. The fact that the ordering of priorities can change with time highlights the dangers of any one-off measure being considered as a time-independent picture of individuals' goals. By relating the results of the research to Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need, the paper considers to what extent "universal" human needs correspond to the most important goals as expressed by respondents in the Ethiopian research. Whilst considerable support is found for needs such as health, food and shelter, several respondents in the two research sites consider needs such as education to be unnecessary. This incongruence between the priority of people's goals and theories of need leads us to question what the aim of development should be: to assist beneficiaries in the pursuit of what they want, or provide the things that they are thought to need.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ethiopia