Poverty Mapping Workshop, Kerala, India

British Academy Dissemination Event

Developing a place-based understanding of poverty
07 September 2011 (Wed), 2S17, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee

Dr. Deepak Gopinath, Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Dundee, Scotland (as Principal investigator) and his colleague, Prof. Murali Nair at Cleveland State University, USA (as co-investigator) are carrying out a study of poverty in Kerala (British Academy Small Research Grant project, Ref. SG10153) from June-September 2011. This study is funded by the British Academy, the UK's national body for the humanities and social sciences. For more information on the British Academy, please visit the BA website.

The focus of this research is to develop a broader picture of how people in a particular place understand poverty and how through that understanding, there will be opportunities for bringing together poverty programmes and the needs of people living in that place. As part of this research, a poverty mapping workshop was organised in Vilappil Grama Panchayat1 on 27 June 2011 (Mon) with support from officials from Kudumbashree2 including Mr. S Karthikeyan (Programme Officer - Urban) and Mr. Philip Mathew (Social Development Specialist, Rajiv Awas Yojana programme3 ).

The aim of the workshop was to identify poor households based on perceptions of community members, and also to understand why and how various community members consider such households as poor. Three key outputs were produced in the workshop: (1) perception of poverty at household level; (2) pathways to aspirational spaces; (3) a perception map of poverty at Panchayat (or village) level

  1. 'Panchayat' used here refers to an umbrella term for different levels of local government in India - urban and rural. A 'Grama Panchayat' is the smallest type of rural local government in India. Vilappil Grama Panchayat is a rural local government at the periphery of Trivandrum City, the capital of Kerala state in southern India.
  2. Kudumbasree is a poverty alleviation programme introduced by the state government of Kerala in 1999. Through a network of self-help groups comprising women across the state, the programme focuses on employment generation, thrift and credit support, and health care provision.
  3. Rajiv Awas Yojana is an Indian central government funded initiative launched in 2011 that aims to provide affordable housing for people living in slums across India.

Project Dissemination Event, Dundee, UK

Findings from this workshop as well as from the data collected during the fieldwork were presented by the investigators at the project dissemination event on 07 September 2011 at the University of Dundee. Further details of this event will be posted shortly.

For further information, please contact Dr. Deepak Gopinath. d.gopinath@dundee.ac.uk

Towards wider impact of research

Workshop proceedings published in one of Kerala's leading newspapers, Kerala Kaumudi on 10 July 2011 in the local language, Malayalam. A key purpose is in facilitating a wider impact of this research, firstly in how the public was involved in this research and secondly in how the findings of this study will potentially inform contemporary approaches to poverty alleviation.

Kerala Kaumudi  is a leading Indian daily newspaper published in the state of Kerala, in the south Indian language,Malayalam. It was founded in 1911 by C. V. Kunhiraman with K. Sukumaran BA as the founder editor. Published from India in the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur and Bangalore, Kerala Kaumudi is the third most circulated Malayalam daily.The paper has online editions in Malayalam and English as well. See page three of this edition. There are overseas online editions published from London, New York and Singapore.


Photographs of the workshop proceedings were taken by Mr. Vijin, MA Sociology student, Loyola College of Social Sciences, Trivandrum, India. Thanks are also due to Mr. Baiju Karunakaran (Department of Town and Country Planning, Government of Kerala), Dr. Anthony Palackal (Loyola College of Social Sciences), Mrs and Mr Sajan Pillai in providing logistic support for organizing the workshop.