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Doctorate Thesis: Mind poverty the root constraints to poverty eradication

Updated: Jun 8, 2021


Mind Poverty equals a fatal disease capable of destroying the universe. All of us, rich and poor, men and women, young and old, whether in rural or urban landscapes, suffer from Mind Poverty (MPO) in one way or another. It cuts across race, the educated or the untaught. The phenomenon affects both leaders and their subjects alike. It is a disease that influences all we try, do and say in pursuit of eradicating poverty. Our success to eradicate poverty globally is subject to the vigour with which we ought to fight Mind Poverty resident in us as human beings.

Considerable amounts of resources are spent worldwide to fight poverty but without much success. Millennium Development Goals have come and gone as an expression of commitment by world leaders to protect and safeguard the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) followed as a successor to the latter, ushering in the well-integrated and coordinated sustainable development Agenda 2030. The top priority of the 17 SDGs Agenda 2030 is Goal 1: No Poverty, with the noble, intend to eradicate poverty in all its forms by the deadline. However, with only 11 years to go before 2030, the picture looks gloomy.

Despite official statistics showing good progress in the reduction of extreme poverty, poverty in all its forms is ever on the rise and far from eradication, threatening the very existence of humanity. Unquestionably, various factors contribute to the slow pace of poverty eradication worldwide, among which Mind Poverty is a root deterrent. No geographical region is spared from this fatal disease: the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. However, Africa and her peoples appear to suffer the most with this misfortune being traced back to the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, during which the scramble and partitioning of Africa were conceived and sealed (Henry Louis Gates, Jr. & Kwame Anthony Appiah 2010).

Before that, there was harmony, a culture of sharing and caring in the African communities. Poverty was unheard of. Families were the solid units, an epitome of oneness. Family members acted as both an economic and emotional network, providing individuals with a sense of who they are and where they belong (Leigh Swigart 2001). Those were the days every child belonged to the community and all elders had to respect. Upon attaining a good harvest, communities would celebrate together in the spirit of oneness without any hint of competition amongst themselves. People worked hard and contributed towards sustainable livelihoods. Their mindsets were not conditioned to differentiate among well-offs or the starving. There were no ‘street kids'. The term poverty didn’t exist during the pre-colonial epoch. Mind Poverty arrived when the capitalists descended and inculcated the culture of segregation. Both the colonizer and the colonized got captured.

In the words of Kwame Tapiwa Muzawazi (The Sunday Mail, 2019), The 21st century must become the epoch of Africans freeing themselves from educational and cultural colonisation-those invisible aspects that are still pervasive'. For this to happen, human collaboration is crucial to reshaping contemporary strategies of defining and fighting poverty in a psychosomatic context.

The research study, therefore, aimed at assessing Mind Poverty as the main constraint to poverty eradication. Particular focus is put on current restrictive universal definitions and measurements of poverty underlining monetary and material thresholds premised on the World Bank’s US$1.25 a day poverty datum line. The impact of societal stereotypes and discriminatory sectorial governance systems on poverty eradication also came under search. In the end, the benefits of collaborative leadership are brought forth as an effective instrument in shifting mindsets as the world continue pondering on sustainable solutions for poverty eradication.

In summary, the aims and objectives of the study as well the research questions on which the investigation was anchored are presented in the dissertation as follow:

Research questions

  • Is there a correlation among all the universal definitions of poverty and interface with strategies aimed at instituting global poverty reduction interventions with a focus on Africa?

  • Are societal poverty stereotypes shaping the conduct of leaders, policymakers, managers and educators, thereby impeding developmental agendas aimed at poverty eradication in general?

  • Is mind poverty a constraint in the fight against poverty in general?

  • What are the likely challenges and limitations that may impact shifts in mindsets with a view to eradicating poverty?

Case study: Embassy of Namibia in Zimbabwe

  • How do collaborative management systems contribute towards poverty eradication through shifting mindsets of employees?

Key assumptions of the study

  • Changing the mindsets of people to enable them to appreciate and own poverty eradication processes is a process in itself that requires earnest retrospect, commitment, time and the need to observe behavioural and developmental variants.

  • The investigation was intended to attain global coverage through interviews and desk research that covered the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique, Saharawi, Zimbabwe, China and India. The desktop investigation also covered the USA, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa;

For many Poverty seems to be Black or African but I see multi-colourism in Mind Poverty. It is multi-dimensional, affects us all, therefore requires mass transformation.

~ Dr Daes

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