The outgoing Chairman of the Center for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), Dr Nimal Sanderathne said that the CEPA is not a rigid organization and it provides independent analysis of poverty-related developments issues in Sri Lanka He was speaking to a gathering of people on the launching ceremony of a book ‘Fresh Perspectives: Exploring alternative dimensions of poverty in Sri Lanka”.
The CEPA coordinator of the Poverty Assessment and Knowledge management Programmer, Azra Abdul Cader explained that the book introduces commonly used definitions and indicators of poverty, as well as more alternative methodologies and CEPA’s own definition and approach to understanding poverty.
She further explained that this publication is reflective exercise of the CEPA and an opportunity to pull together lessons and information from work which the organization had undertaken over the 5 years since the inception of CEPA”S concept.
“It has also provided an opportunity to showcase the methods we have been developing, particularly combining quantitative and qualitative approach in poverty analysis” she said.
She hopes that the message through the book, which they continue to stress at CEPA, is the need to take a comprehensive and balanced approach to issue of poverty, using a combination of approaches rather than relying on one or two methods.
Assistance Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Director of CEPA, Anila Dias Bandaranaike, said that quantitative information on consumption poverty, from national household income and expenditure surveys, has been available in Sri Lanka for over 50 years, while successive governments, since independence, have placed emphasis on welfare benefits to needy.
“During the recent past, policy discussion and debate on poverty related issues in Sri Lanka have become more focused on the available quantitative and qualitative evidence, rather than on perception” Bandaranaike said.
She also highlighted the book as valuable source of information on poverty both in Sri Lanka and globally. She noted that some information was the starting point of serious research on WHO (who are they), WHERE (where they live), What (what are they deprived of) WHY (why they are poor) WHEN and HOW (when and how they become poor).
She further explained that the book also provides interesting and useful insights into different dimensions of poverty among diverse poor communities those geographically or isolated (estates, ethnic minorities), those isolated from economic and employment opportunities by crises (civil conflict and tsunami) or inappropriate human development (youth).
She said that most recently, the government has selected the 119 DS divisions with the highest incidence of poverty identified by DCS for development, as a part of its “gama naguma” program. There is new recognition that poverty could be a result of economic, social, political and spatial exclusion, therefore we need to take look at poverty from a fresh perspective of its many dimensions, if we are truly understand why it exists and how to reduce it, she concluded.