An assessment of poverty and its effects on child development: a case study of Tamale Metropolis and Savelugu-Nanton District

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Poverty and development are two extreme ends of human welfare continuum with the former presenting the negative state of human welfare whereas the latter illustrates the positive state of human welfare. Yet both present situations of complexity and multi-dimensionality. In assessing poverty and its effects, there must be the realization and understanding of these complexities and multiplicity which go far beyond inadequate income of individuals, households and communities to the incorporation of issues such as health, water and sanitation, education and skills, livelihoods, housing conditions, social exclusion, vulnerability, energy and security. Evidently, those who are mostly affected by poverty are children and women. With this awareness, the study focused on the effects of poverty on child development. Using the Tamale Metropolis and Savelugu-Nanton District in the Northern Region of Ghana as a case study, the causes of poverty, how poverty impedes child development, and the available interventions to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on child development in these areas were examined. A total of 100 households were contacted and 200 respondents from these households were interviewed. The household respondents comprised 100 parents and 100 children from the two study areas. Fifty street children who represent 50 percent of the sampled children at the household level were contacted. Revealed, were poverty levels of parents manifesting in low income levels, low educational attainment and high illiteracy and had dire effects on the living standards of children particularly transcending the effects on child education to streetism. This situation makes it difficult for households to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty providing motivation for increasing awareness and attention on child development issues in the study areas and Ghana as a whole. The study thus recommends the promotion of the issues of child development at local, sectoral and national levels and comprehensive articulation and mainstreaming of child development issue in national development agenda as it holds the greatest potential for poverty reduction in the long run. The study advocates for integrated programmes and projects on child development, participatory design and planning of child development interventions and the institutionalisation of programme and project performance monitoring systems to track progress and challenges of child development issues in the two study areas.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology In partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning