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This in fact creates spatial poverty traps where these previously did not exist. The areas no longer support the traditional businesses in which families engaged, and such families are obliged to become migrant laborers or to be away from their areas for extended periods of time. This in itself contributes to a lack of school attendance. Young children in a continual state of migration find it extremely hard to reach any consistency in terms of school attendance.
A lack of adequate parent supervision and motivation also play a large role in school attendance. Many educational publications and academics support the fact that the home environment plays a large role in the success or lack thereof in an educational career, especially at the primary school level. Where parents have stress factors such as extreme poverty, lack of education and lack of income, it is unlikely that school going children would be encouraged either in their school work or to attend school in the first place. Families living in the spatial poverty trap simply do not have either the physical or psychological equipment to deal with the educational needs of their young.
This in turn results in the unwillingness and/or inability of young people growing up in these environments to emerge to more affluent rural areas. Rural areas do not offer many opportunities to young people who do not have the required educational or skills background to function adequately within this environment. The result is that not only parents and the home situation, but also the social and financial divisions between physical environments, discourage these people to attempt breaking away from their circumstances.
There are a number of factors contributing to the educational issue in the spatial poverty trap. Children are discouraged from regular and consistent school attendance by their economic situation at home. This situation influences the attitude of parents towards their children's education, and concomitantly the children's attitude towards the same. Neither parents nor children understand that there is any benefit in educating children who could provide more immediate profit by helping around the home or with existing businesses.
Contributing to such difficulties are external factors such as infrastructure and public policies and views. There is a lack of adequate infrastructure to educate families regarding adequate schooling. There is a further lack of adequate systems to allow children from spatial poverty areas to attend school with any consistency or regularity. Schools are physically located in difficult locations to reach, and inadequate transport is available to reach these schools. In society itself, the rural/urban divide is too strong to overcome for the uneducated, poor youth to break away from their circumstances. The youth from these areas can therefore do very little to change the circumstances created by internal and external factors beyond this control. Hence the cyclical trap created by spatial poverty.
The issue of malnutrition is closely related to both public policy making, infrastructure and education. Not addressing the issue of spatial poverty and its causes adequately results in an inadequate provision of food resources to the poor. This occurs especially in locations where the environment has been modified to serve commercial rather than traditional needs. A piece of land serving a family for generations is suddenly found inadequate to support even their most basic nutritional needs. Hence the family is forced to live on whatever food sources they can find, often resulting in malnutrition.
Deaton and Dreze for example mention the issue of underweight births as a result of malnutrition in pregnant mothers. Like the infant mortality issue, this has not been adequately addressed by government policy. Fewer infant deaths have furthermore curtained the issue of underweight births. Malnutrition also has serious implications for education, especially at the primary school level. Brain and physical development in malnourished children for example impact negatively upon their ability to learn, concentrate and physically exercise.
Furthermore, a lack of education regarding nutrition issues is also a serious shortcoming in spatial poverty areas. As with the education issue, no programs are in place to educate parents or children regarding their nutritional needs. This is especially the case with pregnant mothers, who also do not have access to adequate medical care and advice during their pregnancies. These issues are all interrelated and further the cycle of the poverty trap in which these communities are obliged to live. On the one hand the physical lack of adequate nutritional resources lie at the root of the issue, while on the other external and infrastructural factors serve to strengthen rather than break the cycle.
Nutrition, like education, is also directly related to the physical characteristics of the environment in which the community lives and works. A lack of adequate government policy relating to environmental issues then also translate to a lack of addressing the malnutrition issue. The erosion of the natural environment by commercial endeavors makes the area unviable for human habitation or its support. Nevertheless, families living in spatial poverty traps do not have the financial means or educational skills to escape their area, and other natural areas that could support their lifestyle are diminishing as a result of industrial activity.
A further related issue is once again infrastructure. Natural resource pollution has made access to safe drinking water and health care vital for continued health and productivity. As is the case with educational facilities, there is often very little infrastructure available in spatial poverty areas that provides adequate health care, food, or water resources. To survive, these persons are obliged to make use of what resources are available, often with consequences such as malnutrition and poor physical development, as seen above.
A further factor of infrastructure related to the environment and health issues is poor sanitation. Spatial poverty traps are often degraded even further by the very communities that rely on their natural resources for survival. Poor sanitation facilities result in the polution of natural water resources, resulting in illness and exacerbating the already existing malnutrition problem.
Such problems of health and nutrition have a direct effect on the productivity and economy of the country. Malnourished persons can for example not function at their optimum productivity level. Valuable skills and labor are lost as a result of the malnutirition, pollution and environmental health problems mentioned above. The nature of spatial poverty traps is such that a cycle ensues and feeds itself, making it very difficult for persons in such environments to break away from their circumstances. Not only the poor suffer as a result, but also the country as a whole, because a large sector of the workforce and youth is trapped in this situation. Productivity, labor hours and the economy suffer as a result.
The nature of spatial povery traps is self-perpetuating because of a variety of factors. These factors integrate to make escape from such circumstances nearly impossible. This is why it is vital that government policies and awareness, as well as research and survey methods, be revised thoroughly in order to address specific problems. Issues such as education and malnutrition are subdivisions of larger problems such as government policies, infrastructure problems and environmental degradation. These are the greatest contributing factors to the creation and perpetuation of spatial proverty traps.
As seen above, government policies are completely inadequate to address the problems of education and malnutrition in areas designated as spatial poverty traps. A large part of this problem relates to research and survey issues. Research regarding poverty is often conducted, as seen in Deaton and Dreze's work, on a country-wide scale. While this does provide valuable information and statistics relating the wealth-level of the nation as a whole, it is not adequate to cover specific areas where improvements in terms of policy is necessary. The problem created by this is unawareness on a government level of specific needs within the country. Research that focus on poverty levels should then specifically address discrepancies between areas of wealth and poverty. Each related issue should be highlighted in terms of its importance to the economy of the country as a whole. Issues such as education and malnutrition are hardly addressed by the government, especially as these relate to spatial poverty traps.
Integrated with the lack of adequate government policy are problems of infrastructure. Subdivisions of this problem include education, health care and sanitation. Education once again relates not only specifically to academic schooling, but also to community education in terms of issues such as family planning and sanitation. The cyclical nature of spatial poverty traps is often exacerbated by a lack of community knowledge regarding basic functions of living such as adequate family planning. Large family sizes in poverty-stricken areas place stress upon both the physical environment and the economy of the country.
Environmental issues relate to spatial poverty traps in that the physical environment is increasingly degraded by a lack of infrastructure and education. A lack of adequate sanitation degrades the natural resources within these areas. This results in exacerbated malnutrition and health problems. A lack of…[continue]
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