Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Dr Michael Knight
Humanitarian aid, while useful in the short run, sometimes has the effect of contributing to poverty and poor economic conditions in the long run. This occurs when recipients of relief aid lose their initiative to fend for themselves and become reliant on external aid. The purpose of this mixed method study was to evaluate the degree to which dependency on long term aid has contributed to chronic poverty in the Moroto district of Uganda. This study was grounded on Harvey & Lind's conceptualization of the dependency syndrome. The research questions addressed the relationship between household production and investment pattern with number of year as aid beneficiary, while exploring the beneficiaries' perceptions on the roles of relief aid in their livelihood. Survey data were acquired from 75 participants from five sampled villages in Moroto District; qualitative data were acquired from the same villages involving five focus group discussions with 15 key informants per village. Quantitative data were analyzed using multivariate regression analysis and resulted in a finding of a statistically significant negative relationship between household production and investment with number of years spent as aid beneficiary. Qualitative data were inductively coded, and then organized around key themes. These findings suggest that many rural Ugandans believe that if aid were to cease, they would either migrate to an area where aid was available, or die of starvation. Implications for positive social change are connected to a recommendation to organizations offering humanitarian aid to package relief aid with other programs that support the recipients' resilience building capacity in order to save lives and reduce chronic poverty that is common in disaster-prone areas around the world.