Social capital as a way out of poverty : the case of small scale marine fishery in Hambantota district, southern Sri Lanka.
Simply, Social capital is a concept that explains the extend and nature of relationships people have with (invest on) others – relatives, family friends, neighborers in own community members and members of other communities, or networks, relationships with various services, institutions and systems. As in the other types of investments, people expect returns on investments of social capital. Currently, the concept has received wider and growing attention on its role on household well-being which leads them to come out from poverty. Basically it is accepted that disseminate information, reduces opportunistic behavior (due to higher compliance to their group (social) or network), and facilitates collective decision-making. Trust and reciprocity play a bigger role in social relationships to visualize them as the mode of social capital. In Sri Lanka, poverty has been, probably the most burning issue of the country. Percentage of the population living below the national poverty line for the whole country is 15.2 percent (head count ratio). And population below US$ 2 a day (1990-2005) is 41.6 percent. Especially, Hambantota district is characterized by the relatively higher poverty of people. The percentage poor household in the district are considered as poor. By nature, most of the small scale fisherman in Sri Lanka are poor. Their monthly income fluctuates around the subsistent level. At idiosyncratic or co-variate shocks their status of living world temporally or permanently be changed; adverse in to poverty. In Hambantota district, especially in study locations, subsistent nature of living, serve resource exploitation due to unregulated access to the recourse base, use of destructive gears, exclusion from facilities and weaker community networks have mainly been identified as major barriers for way of poverty. Better assets ownership has been an effective solution for people to better deal with risks and uncertainties involved with fisheries. These assets are mainly the form of physical (land, house, Jewelleries, vehicles, Household equipment, and etc.) financial (savings), human (education, health), and social. This study focuses on how small scale fisheries in three fishing villages; namely Godawaya, Kalametiya and Rekawa of Hambantota district, invest on social capital and in what extent they enjoy the returns to come out from poverty. Basically the findings of the study, say that, in the case of small scale fisheries in areas, social capital have a positive increasing effect on household expenditure (welfare) in Kalametiya and Godawaya, richest people in the sense of social capital show higher household welfare level while in Rekawa poorest people in terms of social capital are the richest in their household welfare. This scenario, indicates that social capital helps people to come out from poverty.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2009 The Author(s)
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