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Doctoral Research Examines Role of Faith Based Organisations in Poverty Alleviation in KZN

12 Apr, 2017

Dr Sunday Paul C. Onwuegbuchulam graduates with his PhD in Political Science.

Research into the role and place of faith based organisations (FBOs) in poverty alleviation in KwaZulu-Natal, earned Dr Sunday Paul C. Onwuegbuchulam his PhD in Political Science from UKZN.

Onwuegbuchulam believes his research is an important endeavour in a country and province he identifies as grappling with challenges such as poverty and socio-economic inequality.

He noted that ‘poor government strategies and the issue of moral bankruptcy had led to a situation in which people’s right to proper living and well-being had been denied. Hence, poverty is real and has seen many families living below the poverty line; worsening the prevalence of sickness and diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, in KwaZulu-Natal.’

His findings reveal that efforts have been made by the KZN Provincial Government to coordinate the different activities and strategies of departments towards poverty alleviation and development, through the newly adopted programme Sukumasakhe - a five-point-plan aimed at addressing different issues of poverty and human development.

Onwuegbuchulam however, notes that Government neoliberal economic policies have not been effective in tackling the problems of structural poverty and dilapidated human development in KZN. The failure is blamed on poor service delivery by government officials at the grassroots implementation level.

The study found that the selected FBOs, including Gift of the Givers and PACSA, played an important role in the area of poverty alleviation and human development within the province. ‘The two FBOs have in place different poverty alleviation and human development strategies geared towards the realisation of people’s proper functioning, especially in the different areas in which they work.’

Regarding partnerships towards improving the agency role of both government and the FBOs, the study finds ‘there is no official partnership between the selected organisations and government in the province in the area of poverty alleviation. There are certain premonitions against the whole understanding of a possible partnership between the FBOs and government. FBOs are particularly wary of being used by government as “stamps” to their political whims,’ said Onwuegbuchulam.

Discussing future plans, he said: ‘I am currently looking forward to a post-doctoral fellowship opportunity in order to engage in further research and publications. Future prospects include engaging actively in research and lecturing at university level within the diverse areas of social and human sciences.

‘I also intend to get involved with NGOs, FBOs, CBOs and NPOs at both local and international level, which are engaged in different areas, including but not limited to, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, poverty alleviation and development, religion and political affairs.’

He also advised other researchers to work hard and never give up. He thanked his family, friends and supervisor for their support and encouragement.

Melissa Mungroo

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