Results of the Poverty Stoplight Research

poverty analysis
Introduction

The British University in Georgia conducted a survey in Village Akhateli, Telavi, Georgia, to determine the level of poverty. The study found that families face multiple issues, not limited to financial challenges alone. While some of the most severe problems families encounter are related to finances, they also extend to broader social aspects. The most critical issue identified is saving, with the vast majority of families unable to save money. Diversification of income ranks as the second most pressing concern. The third significant challenge is the lack of time and resources for recreational activities. Families struggle to find time and resources for enjoyable activities either within their own families or with others. Additionally, they rarely participate in group activities, and very few families have developed any form of life plan. Given the size of these findings, this article will focus solely on presenting the survey results. A separate article will delve into exploring causal relationships between the identified indicators, providing a more comprehensive analysis of this issue.

Methodology

In this study, 26 families were surveyed through interviews using a questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed the level of poverty across 43 indicators. These indicators were formulated by Dr. Martin Burt, the founder of Fundacion Paraguaya, and were then adapted to the Georgian context by the British University in Georgia. The survey determined the intensity of problems for each indicator across these families. Participants could indicate green, yellow, or red for each. Green indicates that a family did not experience the issue, yellow indicates that a family partially experienced the issue, and red indicates that the family experienced the issue. Summary statistics are used to present the findings.

Income: This indicator measures whether a household has enough income to meet its basic needs and wants. It shows whether the family lives fully and whether it is focused on the subsistence minimum. The measure used defines need from the family’s perspective, not externally objective need. This allows the indicator to be more relevant to different geographic areas, which may have different household costs.

Finding: 62% of families do not have enough income to cover everyday needs: rent, cloths or medical expenses. 38% of families have enough income to cover everyday needs: rent, cloths or medical expenses, but do not have enough to cover other expenses. None of the families have enough income to cover vacation, fun or in case of necessity, to eat outside home.

Saving: Household savings is defined as the portion of household income that is not spent but is kept and deposited in a bank account for use in case of future or unexpected needs. The indicator records whether the household saves its income regularly (every month), as well as whether the household has been saving in the last 6 months.

Finding: The study found that 96.2% of families do not have any saving. Only 3.8% of families have unofficial saving (they keep money at home or at informal institutions).

Budget: The ability to plan and budget means that the family projects and plans a budget in writing in the short, medium or long term. They also follow the existing plan.

Finding: 62% of families do not have a budget where they account income and expenses. 38% of families have some sort of budget, but do not account every day expenses. None of the families have a budget where they account expenses on an everyday basis.

Insurance: Having insurance means that the household has access to official medical expense coverage and at least one type of supplemental insurance that covers different aspects of the household’s life. Types of insurance can include: life insurance, home insurance, funeral insurance, unemployment insurance, fire insurance, crop insurance, car insurance, and more.

Finding: In 35% of families none of the members have a health insurance. 62% of families only have a health insurance. 3% of families have health and other insurance, such as car, business, life, etc.

Diversification: The family has different sources of income. In case of loss of one source of income, the family does not suffer a great loss and can eliminate financial problems in time, because the family does not depend on one source of income. The various sources of income include the pooling of income generated by several of its members, remittances, property rentals, food allowances, cash transfers from the government, asset sales, savings, and more.

Finding: 73% of families solely depend on one income. 19% of families have partially diversified their income, and do not solely depend on one income. 8% of families have diversified income and most family members generates income for the family.

 

Agricultural Production: Agricultural production/agricultural welfare refers to a household’s ability to own livestock, agricultural land, etc. which helps the family produce enough food and earn additional income.

Finding: 54% of families don’t have a land nor a farm. 38% of families only have agricultural land for subsistence farming. 8% of families have a farm and a land, where they grow animals and other food products not only for themselves, but for selling as well.

Family Needs: Realizing one’s own needs involves the process of understanding long-term needs on the part of the family, which means more than basic needs – food, shelter, etc. satisfaction. There are short, medium and long term plans for this.

Finding: 69% of families is certain that they are unable to better their conditions. These families have no life plan. 27% of families think that they are able to better their conditions, but do not have six month or longer life plan to achieve goals. 4% of families think that they can better their conditions and have mid and long term plan for achieving goals.

Roads: The availability of roads in any weather means the possibility of using a motorized vehicle and in case of bad weather, unhindered access to the residence.

Finding: 31% of families do not have a road to the center of the city that is paved with asphalt, it is a dirt road and it is difficult to walk when it rains. 65% of families have a paved roads, but in need for rehabilitation. 4% of families have a road that is newly paved with asphalt.

Generating Income: Income-generating capacity refers to family members earning money through job search or self-employment (entrepreneurship).

Finding: In 54% of the families none of the members have any professional certification, nor a business. In 35% of families, at least one member has a professional certification, but there are occasions when none of the members manage to earn income, or have a business, but it is not enough to earn enough income to cover primary needs. In 11% of families at least one member has professional certification, has additional skills that help them earn additional income, or have a business that can earns enough income to cover all costs.

Entertainment: Entertainment means engaging all family members in recreational activities to relax, to be productive at work, and to escape from problems.

Finding: In 73% of families none of the family members spend time for relaxing and fun. In 15% of families, some of the members manage to relax and have fun. In 12% of families, all members manage to do the following on a weekly basis: have fun at home, have fun outside home, go to a cinema/theatre, go to a social club/cafe/restaurant.

Participation: This indicator determines the formation of a group where family members regularly participate and belong to a group of people who share a common problem, mission and needs. Group members will be able to express themselves, solve problems and feel reliable: in civic organizations, political and religious groups, parents’ committee, professional associations, sports groups and others.

Finding: In 73% of families none of the members actively and regularly participate in groups. In 12% of families, only one member actively and regularly participates in group activities. In 15% of families, more than one member actively and regularly participate in group activities and may even lead certain group activities.

 

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Entrepreneurial spirit is a set of thoughts, attitudes and approaches that actively seek to change the situation instead of adapting to the existing reality. People with an entrepreneurial spirit try to solve life situations proactively rather than reactively. The main characteristics of people with an entrepreneurial spirit are: initiative, autonomy, perseverance, self-confidence, creativity, risk assessment, flexibility, decision-making skills and critical thinking.

Finding: 35% of families do not take new challenges, because they do not believe that anything can change. In 46% of families at least one person has entrepreneurial spirit and wants to change the existing conditions. In 19% of families at least two members have entrepreneurial interest and they want to better their conditions.

Nutritious Diet: A healthy diet consists of caloric and non-caloric nutrients that the human body needs to maintain health.

Finding: In 15% of families there were members who missed a meal or slept hungry due to the lack of food. In 61% of families members had three meals a day during the last week, but did not have one of the following: meat. milk, vegetables, eggs, fruits, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn. 24% of families had three meals a day and all the ingredients mentioned here.

Bathroom: A sanitary toilet and sewer is a clean structure that provides user privacy and a good evacuation system (water system or sewer drain).

Finding: In 23% of families, bathrooms do not have fully equipped WC, water cistern, is not secure, it is not a closed room, does not have an evacuation system, it is not clean. In 54% of families, bathrooms may lack one or two characteristics. 23% of families have bathrooms that have all the characteristics.

Vaccines: 1. Vaccines specified by the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Protection for internally displaced persons from the occupied territories of Georgia are mandatory. It is divided according to the age limit: a) children younger than 6 months: BCG (tuberculosis); rotavirus vaccine; IPV/OPV (polio/oral polio); pentavalent vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus and others); Pneumococcal vaccine (meningitis, pneumonia, etc.). b) children under 4 years of age; MMR (measles, mumps, rubella); chicken pox; Hepatitis A vaccine; AA (yellow fever); DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus); Anti-flu OPV (oral poliomyelitis). c) Children over 10 years old, teenagers, adults: HPV vaccine (for women – causes cancer due to human papillomavirus); TDaP (whooping cough)

2. Vaccination for Covid 19 is not mandatory, but strongly recommended.

Finding: In 35% of families, only one person is vaccinated. In 38% of families, all but one member is fully vaccinated. In 27% of families all members are fully vaccinated.

Housing Conditions: A safe house is a house that has: a) a tiled roof, zinc sheet or reinforced concrete roof, b) solid walls made of wood, concrete or clay c) wooden floor or clay floor: brick floor. Concrete floor, tile, ceramic floor or similar material. In addition, exterior doors and windows are made of solid wood or metal and close securely. The family is prepared for different climatic conditions.

Finding: 31% of families do not have homes that have a tile, zinc sheet or reinforced concrete roof, solid walls made of wood, concrete or clay, wooden, brick, concrete, tile, ceramic floor or similar material. In addition, exterior doors and windows are not made of solid wood or metal and don’t close securely. The family is unprepared for different climatic conditions. 42% of families have houses that only lack one of the characteristics listed here. 27% of families have houses that have all the characteristics listed here.

Influence: Impact on public life refers to a family’s ability to lobby/advocate with the government to solve mass public problems.

Finding: 54% of families had an issue that required government support, but did not apply for help. 15% of families had an issue that required government support, applied for help but did not follow through. 31% of families had an issue that required government support, applied for help and followed the process through till the end.

Reproductive Health: Taking care of sexual health is necessary for family members of reproductive age – which means that they take care of their sexual and reproductive lives. apply for family planning; Women who need a gynecological examination, monitor their health during the last twelve months; They attend all necessary examinations in case of pregnancy. Adult family members who have children take proper care of their sexual health.

Finding: In 38% of families none of the members plan the family, the women who need gynecological examinations during the last 12 months have not done necessary examinations, and pregnant women do not do necessary examinations. In 27% of families, members do all but one of the mentioned activities. 35% of families do all of the activities.

Credit: Access to credit occurs when a household applies for new credit, determines whether the household has taken out credit in the past twelve months, or whether any member of the household believes they can access credit if needed. Legal credits include services provided by banks and financial institutions, the National Bank of Georgia.

Finding: 46% of families do not have access to credit for the last 12 months, despite their desire to get it. In 11% of families at least one member has access to a credit for the last 12 months, but only through informal institutions. In 43% of families at least one member has access to credit for the last 12 months through formal institutions, or the family earns enough income not to need credit, or the family could get credit if needed.

Separate Rooms: Having separate bedrooms means protecting personal space. A suitable home provides all family members with enough room and privacy. The family avoids overcrowding and against the will of several family members sharing the same bedroom. An overcrowded room refers to a room being shared by three or more people, on average. This issue does not apply to children under two years of age.

Finding: 27% of families have a bedroom where 3 or more members sleep. In 35% of families bedrooms are shared only by two or less members, but younger members share rooms despite their desire. In 56% of families bedrooms are shared by two or less members and younger members can have their own.

Debt: Debt management is the ability of family members to maintain control over their debt, meaning they have debt that does not affect the family’s basic expenses (for example, food, medical bills, etc.).

Finding: 46% of families have debt that makes it difficult for them to cover the cost of primary needs. 8% of families cannot control the debt and sometimes it affects their ability to cover the cost of primary needs. 46% of families can control their debt, it does not affect their ability to cover the cost of primary needs or they don’t have debt.

Self Esteem: Having self-esteem implies self-confidence, which is reflected in internal and external factors, their social relations, social norms, their goals and principles.

Finding: In 19% of families, members feel incompetent and think that they can never achieve what they desire. In 30% of families members feel confident some times. In 51% of families members feel confident in what they do.

Kitchen: The family has the opportunity to prepare meals in healthy conditions and be protected from the danger of fire. An elevated and ventilated kitchen should have: a) a covered place for food preparation, b) a suitable oven (80 centimeters and more) c) a suitable ventilation system to saturate the steam accumulated in the room. First of all, the family should not use waste, firewood or coal as a source of energy in the kitchen.

Finding: In 15% of families food is prepared using manure, wood, or charcoal. In 30% of families food is prepared outside or on stove and does not use manure, coal or wood. 55% of families prepare food in a safe environment on gas using a safe oven.

Autonomy: Independence and decision-making capacity refers to a person having control over important life decisions and various aspects of life. They participate in the decision-making process at home and can make decisions about various important aspects of their lives (personal and family budget, work, health problems, their and their children’s education, religious practices, voting in elections, etc.).

Finding: In 3% of families members think that they do not participate in the decision making process. In 42% of families members make their own decisions most of the time, but they try to please other members with their decisions. In 55% of families, members make their own decisions that correspond their desires.

Health Service: Access to medical services (physical and economic) refers to the ability of family members to have access to quality medical services. This includes basic medical services, specialized care, emergency care, procurement of medicines, etc

Finding: 19% of families were unable to receive healthcare service due to not having access, healthcare service being inadequate or the service and medicine were too expensive. 23% of families managed to receive healthcare service, but were unable to cover the cost of medicine or could not receive specialized medical service. 58% of families managed to receive all the required medical service and medicines.

Transportation: Regular access to transportation refers to a family’s access to reliable and affordable means of transportation to get to work, administrative centers, schools, and other educational institutions. A private car, motorbike, more than one bike or public transport (bus, taxi, moto-taxi) is available for the family every one hour.

Finding: 11% of families do not have private transportation and closest public transport is on a 30 minute walk distance. 23% of families have access to public transportation but they are unreliable, or they come in less than 2 hour interval. 66% of families have private transportation or have access to public transportation that comes more then than in 2 hour interval.

Hygiene: The constant hygiene indicator aims to understand the household’s access to hygiene items, as well as establish the norms of hygienic behavior that are necessary today to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Finding: 15% of families do not have access to water, soap or antiseptics. 23% of families have access to these, but they do not have a custom to use soap or antiseptics often. 62% of families have access to these and use them often.

Refrigerator: Having a refrigerator and other appliances or other household items makes for a comfortable life for the family.

Finding: 3% of families only have one of the following: washing machine, microwave, TV, Refrigerator. 30% of families have two from the following list: Telephone, washing machine, microwave, TV or refrigerator. 67% of families have more than two of the listed items.

Phone: Having phone service means having a device (wireless or landline) available on the internet to connect when the need arises. In general, access to means of communication allows us to make the most of the opportunities available to us.

Finding: All families have a telephone. 38% of families use telephone service infrequently. The rest uses telephones frequently.

Information: Access to information refers to whether the household has access to television and the Internet. Available sources are a means of obtaining information (at the national and non-national level), as well as a means of accessing and relaxing training programs. Access to the Internet is provided by modern devices (smartphones) or by having an Internet connection at home.

Finding: All the families have either a TV or Internet. 34% of families only have a TV. The rest have both.

Diversity: Cultural diversity means respecting different cultures. Equal treatment of people with a different opinion, religion, lifestyle, language, race, sexual orientation or disability. Respect for others represents an inherent value and right for each individual and society.

Finding: 23% of families think that there are more than one reasons to treat people differently. 11% of families think that people have to be treated equally most of the time, but there is one reason why they may not treat people equally. 66% of families think that people have to be treated equally all the time, despite their religion, ethnicity, language, sex, sexual orientation, or other.

Electricity: The household has stable, reliable and legal access to an uninterrupted source of electricity.

Finding: All the families have electricity. 27% of families experience instability in getting electricity. The rest of the families don’t have an issue in getting electricity.

Supplies: School supplies include checking that a student enrolled in school has school supplies (pen, pencil, ruler, pencil sharpener, eraser, notebook, colored pencils, pastels, markers, paint brushes, scissors, glue, dictionary) in order to adequately engage in the learning process.

Finding: 15% of families do not have the school materials recommended by the teacher. 15% of families do not have all but have most of the materials. 70% of families have all the recommended materials.

Human Rights: Human rights are an inherent value that represents an indivisible law, beyond political influences. Human rights protect vulnerable social groups: women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The most common, serious illegal crime involves the exploitation of child labor.

Finding: In 3% of families not every member have equal rights because of their sex, age, ethnicity, nationality or disability. In 19% of families members think that human rights have to be respected by they do not personally feel obliged to respect them. 78% of families think that human rights have to be respected.

Voting: Adult members of the family vote in the elections (national and local elections) organized by the Central Election Commission.

Finding: 15% of families have not voted in the past elections. In 15% of families some members have voted in the past elections. 70% of families have voted in the past elections.

Child Labor: Child labor is assessed as an act that deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, harming their physical and psychological development. All types of work interfere with the learning process and are dangerous for the child’s physical, mental and moral well-being. Housework, which involves helping parents, collaborating with them in the family business, does not constitute harmful work for the child.

Finding: There are no families where there are children below 14 years who work and don’t go to school. In 19% of families there are children who work, but this does not inhibit their education. In the rest of the families, children don’t work.

Water: Access to water resources for family members means having a permanent source of drinking water, the water resource can be used for household purposes or for personal hygiene; Also for drinking or cooking, without the risk of disease, because this water does not contain substances dangerous to human health and is used for drinking.

Finding: There are no families who uses water that it not drinkable. 11% of families have access to water through a well or water tank. All the rest of the families have access to water 24/7 through a faucet.

Garbage: Household waste (garbage) disposal is carried out when a family disposes of garbage in compliance with proper rules: a) garbage is transferred to suitable places, on a landfill, a sanitary landfill or any other place prepared for this purpose, or b) garbage is properly disposed of in the area surrounding one’s own residence.

Finding: There are no families that burn their trash. 3% of families experience delay in the municipality taking the trash. The rest of the families do not experience issues with trash removal.

Personal Safety: Personal security is related to the absence of acts of physical violence (assault with or without weapons, beatings, threats, wounds on the body, murders…) against family members, regardless of where the incident took place.

Finding: There are no families where members were victims of violence and due to this they could not work. In 3% of families a member was a victim of violence, but this did not inhibit their work.

House Security: Security of property assumes the absence of possible physical and violent pressure on family property (theft, destruction or damage) inside or outside the home (house, furniture, car, bicycle, animals).

Finding: There are no families who experienced a violent attach or robbery who lost wealth equivalent to 1 week of wages. There was only 1 family that experienced a violent attach/robbery but lost wealth that was less than 1 week of wages.

Read and Write: The student must have reading and writing skills. Family members aged fifteen years and above possess the ability to fully read and understand text (including simple and complex texts) and express their opinion in writing based on logical reasoning.

Finding: In 3% of families there is one member who cannot read and write. In all the rest of the families, members who are more than 15 years of age, can read and write.

ID: Each family member is a legal citizen when they have a valid ID. Valid means that it can be used for legal identification purposes or for other purposes and that the document is still valid. ID is required to access financial services, voting and social services offered by the state.

Finding: Members of all families have ID cards.

Enrollment: Enrollment of children in secondary school refers to the schooling of family members of school age (six to eighteen years) until they graduate from school (school education covers 12 years).

Finding: All the school aged members of families go to school.

 

Conclusion:

This study provides valuable insights into the level of poverty in Village Ruispiri, Telavi, Georgia. This study identified that the most pressing issues are not limited to finances and that the trouble families have encompass different aspects as well. Poverty is a complex issue and it cannot be solved with a simple plan. A multi-pronged approach is necessary to solve of the issues identified by this study. Firstly, a more in-depth study is required to shed light on causal inferences between different indicators. Predictive modeling is necessary for effectively planning solutions. Secondly, a wider engagement with local and international organizations is necessary to formulate solutions in collaboration with them. Their expertise and experience will be crucial in this regard.