Volume 5, Issue 15 (5-2016)                   serd 2016, 5(15): 103-124 | Back to browse issues page

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Asghari Lafmejani S, Shahraki E, Naderian far M. Barriers to social and economic empowerment of rural households Case: patients protected by the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee in Sistan Region. serd 2016; 5 (15) :103-124
URL: http://serd.khu.ac.ir/article-1-2593-en.html
1- Assistant Professor of Geography and Rural Planning, Geography Department, University of Zabol, Iran. , asghari2750@yahoo.com
2- M.A. Student of Geography and Rural Planning, Geography Department, University of Zabol, Iran.
3- M.A. in Geography and Rural Planning, Geography Department, University of Zabol, Iran.
Abstract:   (6482 Views)
Although poverty is a global problem, it is more drastic in villages and is considered as the most prominent problem of rural areas. Therefore, poverty alleviation, providing basic needs, and empowering the poor play important roles in rural development. In this way, rural development can be even introduced as an approach to poverty alleviation in rural areas. Regarding the fact that Iranian Rural society is noticeably confronted with unemployment (overt and covert), it can be said that empowering of villagers is a good strategy to resist against poverty and unemployment. So, different welfare organizations and institutions have been launched in Iran following supportive strategies for fighting against poverty and income inequalities as well as empowering of rural societies.
Imam Khomeini Relief Committee is one of these institutions that has been established by the purpose of recognizing material and spiritual deprivation of people and deprived classes in order to alleviate poverty by providing financial, health care, and educational services, together with self-sufficiency programs for the poor and needy. Even though the mentioned institution has already offered valuable services in Sistan to support the process of antipoverty, the drastic reduction in Helmand water and loss of livelihood activities have caused a majority of rural households in the region completely lose their sources of income. Then, the number of poor people and those under the protection of supportive-relief organizations has been increased.
Considering the increasing and alarming trends in the number of households protected by the Relief Committee, it is inevitable to recognize barriers and constraints facing economic and social empowerment of rural households under the protection of this institution in order to identify effective factors through which we can make better decisions toward the empowering of this group of society. This research intends to recognize barriers and constraints facing the economic and social empowerment of rural households under the protection of relief committee in Sistan villages as well as investigating their range of effectiveness and the most important ones.
The present research is a descriptive- analytical one. The Statistical Society of this research consists of rural households protected by the Relief Committee in Sistan region. Household sample size has been detected through the specification of villages of more than 50 households under the protection of Relief Committee. Based on the number of villages under the protection and using sharp and correcting formula, a number of 40 villages have been introduced as sample villages. In the next step, sample villages have been randomly chosen among the villages of more than 50 households under the protection of Relief Committee. The number of households under the protection was reported 3071, among which a number of 341 households were calculated as household sample size using Cochran formula. For calculating research indicators, in addition to documentary and library studies appropriate to the conditions prevailing in the rural areas of Sistan region, a set of indicators associated with constraints and barriers to economic and social empowerment of rural households protected by the Relief Committee has been determined (tables 2 & 3). Household questionnaires have been completed by the heads of households or their spouses. The village questionnaires have also been completed by three members of the village council, the local experts or elders living there. SPSS and ArcGIS software have been used to analyze the data from the questionnaires of families and villages, as well as analysis of field observations forms. In this regard, in order to calculate the impact of restrictions and barriers facing economic and social empowerment of households, based on analytical hierarchy process (AHP), several steps have been done including formation of evaluation matrix, determination of the weight of the relevant indicators (in Expert Choice) and standardization of data. To sum up data weighted combination method has been used.
Discussion and conclusion
Considering the empowerment as a processes by which people find even more control over their working affairs and they can properly steer the direction of their lives with more power and control over resources, trust, capacity building and active participation, it is of particular interest to scholars. Results from the study indicate that barriers and restrictions facing the empowerment of households protected by the Relief Committee carry strongly different effects. According to ANOVA, the intensity have been explained in the form of fourteen main obstacles or restrictions. In this division, the highest rate was reported for the impact of water resource constraints on economic activity by a factor of 502/0.
Based on the findings
, organizational problems and personality and individual traits of the head of the household are accounted as the second and third obstacles raised in empowering households under the study. According to the overall conclusions based on the total descriptive and analytical results, it is understood that due to the limitations originated from water entering the Helmand River from Afghanistan, those households living in Sistan villages are faced with numerous problems. In addition, lack of access to water resources has been very influential on reducing employment and income, increasing and intensifying poverty and social instability in rural households, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, during the years 1375 to 1390 (the same time as the intensification of water limitations arising from Helmand of Afghanistan and the beginning of droughts or Sistan water scarcity), an increase of more than four times in the number of people protected by Imam Khomeini Relief Committee is obvious. Comparing to other institutions, it is the responsibility of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (RA) to alleviate poverty and empower deprived people. Considering "empowerment" as a tool for performing antipoverty programs, it is recommended to pay especial attention to the followings to help us continue the empowering process even stronger than before.
- Due to the fact that the most important factor affecting the progress of economic empowerment of rural households protected by the committee is considered to be the elimination of the constraints originated from Sistan villages being dependent on Afghanistan to supply the water needed, so the ongoing efforts of government seems essential to do something in the framework of international law to get the water rights of Sistan region and Hamoon international wetland from Hirmand river.
- Sistan northern and eastern borders with Afghanistan have created a perfect opportunity to develop the rural economy of the region. On the other hand, establishing border markets in North, East and SouthEast of Sistan, and providing the possibility of cross-border exchanges will be a good opportunity to reduce rural limits.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2015/02/15 | Accepted: 2016/02/1

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