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Poverty, vulnerability and social protection programs: Implications for young people in mountain Java

Woodward, Lisa (2020) Poverty, vulnerability and social protection programs: Implications for young people in mountain Java. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Despite reducing the poverty rate from 24 percent at the height of the economic crisis of 1997-8, to under 10 percent in 2018, vulnerability and food insecurity in rural Indonesia remain a challenge for government policy. For many rural households, opportunities to build economic resilience against poverty are undermined by multiple environmental and structural factors. Since 2014, the Jokowi government has increased its focus on delivering social protection programs (SPPs) to support poor households and prevent vulnerable households from slipping into poverty, build resilience to shocks and prevent food insecurity.

The first section of the thesis, which forms part of an Australian Research Council project (ARC), examines causes of poverty in two upland villages on Java in the Special Regency of Yogyakarta and Central Java. It also examines the impacts of SPPs directed to poverty alleviation and the politics of social protection. The ARC project utilises a mixed methods approach including community focus group meetings, a household ranking activity, in-depth household surveys and a food security survey.

The second part of this thesis applies a relational approach to examine the experiences of young people (15-30 years) in the two villages to understand how they cope with the effects of vulnerability and poverty, the potential of key SPPs to transform their lives, and the local and wider social, political and economic processes influencing their livelihood trajectories, including farming futures. The research found that multiple processes and structural inequalities undermine the potential of social assistance programs to transform young lives. However, the thesis also shows that if social assistance is combined with access to good education and family and community support, young people demonstrate greater capacity to complete high school and transition from a life of precarity to one of greater security.

Key words
vulnerability, food insecurity, poverty, social protection programs, young people

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
United Nations SDGs: Goal 1: No Poverty
Goal 2: Zero Hunger
Goal 4: Quality Education
Supervisor(s): Warren, Carol and Reid, Anja
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