Accessibility links

Wellbeing pathways report: Zambia round 1

This report sets out the ‘pre-story’ of the Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways research partnership’s approach to wellbeing assessment and highlights findings that in Zambia, while economic status makes the greatest difference to inner wellbeing, gender/marital status comes a close second. The report provides an overview of findings on objective and subjective aspects of wellbeing in Chiawa, Zambia, from the first round of fieldwork there. It discusses the methodology that has been developed to assess wellbeing, the pitfalls  encountered and how they were addressed them. Finally, the report reflects on some of the ways that  results from Zambia confirm or contrast with those from research in India, set out in a sister report.

Key findings include:

  • people in Chiawa are struggling to achieve basic needs in the context of underdeveloped agriculture, an unpredictable environment, and human-wildlife conflict
  • there are relatively low levels of state provision, and limited expectations that this would be otherwise
  • governance takes the personalised form of chieftainess-subject, in contrast to the bureaucratic relationship of state to citizen that we found in India
  • extended kin relationships remain strong, shown in particular through shared care of children
  • people are more ready than in our Indian survey to admit pride in their own achievements, but are also more likely to experience a sense of personalised harm, often expressed as witchcraft
  • as in India, people’s economic and gender/marital status significantly affects both objective and subjective experiences of wellbeing
  • differences between the sites underline cultural variability in the ways people experience wellbeing and the importance of the wider environment: politics and polity, security and insecurity