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Essay: Research proposal: Poverty faced by the textile workers leads to unintended pregnancies in Matsapha textile industries

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Unintended pregnancy is pregnancy that is unplanned for at the time of conception. It mainly results from lack of or incorrect use of contraceptives and lack of education about contraceptive methods. Poverty is not having enough money to meet basic needs such as, food, clothing and shelter. This is an issue affecting all countries globally, especially Swaziland where most people are living below the poverty line .Poverty is a matter which all of us are aware of but do not actually know how it is greatly affecting people living in that situation. Unintended pregnancies may lead to poverty. Focusing on being uneducated about preventing pregnancies as the main cause of poverty, it can be said that people in Swaziland are increasingly less able to work which then increases their chances of being poorer. This downward spiral often continues until death results, for Swazi families in Matsapha and surrounding areas.
Matsapha is a town in central Swaziland and it is known to been industrial park .It has a population of about 48 000 people and 60% of them work in industries. Major business there is the textile industry .There is a lot of people who are employed there and live around Matsapha. The state of living is deplorable due to the fact that most people in the area are poor yet they have many mouths to feed. For those that are employed, the salary is often not enough to support all their needs including those of their children.
Job creation was a great initiative by the Matsapha municipality but the main problem leading to poverty is the lack of education on sexual reproduction issues and the issues surrounding family planning and birth control.
Poverty faced by the textile workers leads to unintended pregnancies in Matsapha textile industries.
The aim of the research is to find if poverty leads to unintended pregnancies and how it can be minimised in Matsapha by the textile workers.
Matsapha is the largest industrial area in Swaziland and even though it is expected to provide more jobs to people it still has a large number of people suffering from poverty.
A literature review is a systematic review of knowledge available on a topic. It involves the use of appropriate peer- reviewed articles since they are unbiased and objective sources.
In this chapter we will explore the definitions and types of poverty and unintended pregnancies. These definitions attempt to explain the relationship between poverty and unintended pregnancies. The basic question is what makes poor women in society tend to have a higher number of unwanted pregnancies than the affluent women. This will be in two parts. Part one will investigate the definition and types of poverty and unintended pregnancies. The second part will focus on the effects of poverty on unintended pregnancies.
Poverty ‘ The Concept
Definitions of Poverty
There are a plethora of definitions of poverty. Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter. However, poverty is more than just not having enough money.
Poverty is a complex subject because there is no easy way, or standard definition of who is poor and who is not, although we look at the living conditions of people to get an idea of their situation. Typically, it is when someone experiences a fundamental deprivation in well-being.
The World Bank Organisation describes poverty in this way.
One of the great social scientists defined poverty as follows
Educational researchers have also displayed a substantial amount of interest in the study of poverty. The findings of the thousands of studies have varied, but there appears to be a general agreement on the definition of poverty.
Causes of Poverty
Rowntree once said he was not aiming to Instead, he listed the immediate causes of primary poverty (or earnings ‘insufficient to obtain the minimum necessaries for the maintenance of merely physical efficiency’) as:
1. Death of a chief wage- earner
2. Incapacity of chief wage earner through accident, illness or old age
3. Chief wage-earner out of work
4. Chronic irregularity of work
5. Largeness of family
6. Lowness of wage
Rowntree usefully identified a cycle of poverty – children, young married couples with children and old people running the highest risk of descending into poverty.
He also listed the immediate causes of secondary poverty as
Types of Poverty
There have been a number of poverty types that have been identified so far. These are:
‘ Absolute Poverty, which is the extreme kind of poverty which involves the lack of basic food, clean water, health and housing. People in absolute poverty tend to struggle to live and experience a lot of child deaths from preventable diseases like malaria, cholera and water- contamination related diseases. This type is usually long term in nature, and often handed to them by generations before them. This kind of poverty is usually not common in the developed world.
‘ Relative Poverty. This kind is usually in relation to other members and families in the society. For example, a family can be considered poor if it cannot afford family vacations, or cannot buy presents for children at Christmas or cannot send its young to university. Even though they have access to government support for food, water, medicine and free housing, they are considered poor because the rest of the community have access to superior services and amenities.
‘ Situational (Transitory) Poverty. This type of poverty is brought about by some adversities like earthquakes, floods or a serious illness. Sometimes people can help themselves out of this situation quickly if they are given a bit of assistance, as the cause of their situation was just one unfortunate event.
‘ Generational or Chronic Poverty is a more complicated type. This is when poverty handed over to individuals and families from generations before them. In this type, there is usually no escape from it as people are raped in its causes and have no access to tools that will help them get out of it.
There are different facets to poverty and the challenge to understand poverty and its effects on human beings is easier said than done. The effects usually depend on the kind of poverty in question.
Absolute poverty results extreme hunger, starvation and malnutrition which lead to increased death rates. Relative poverty on the other hand, forces people to engage in behaviors that expose them to diseases such as HIV Aids. Whilst they may not starve to death, they may be living on unhealthy foods, which ultimately weaken their immune system and expose them to diseases.
Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350’500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities:
Relative poverty may cause people to indulge in social vices such as drugs, prostitution and petty crimes as a means to meet their immediate needs. In many developing countries, political leaders and rebels take advantage and recruit young people (especially those in relative poverty) to fight for their interests in return for food and basic needs. These young folks feel vulnerable if they do not comply, as they have no other way out of their situation.
People in absolute poverty simply cannot afford food, water and shelter. They are not healthy enough to undertake any economic activity. They cannot send their young to school and the youth cannot get any skills. This results in economic breakdown of the community which directly affects the larger region where they are. Further to that, those in relative poverty, who have a bit of training or education, are forced to move out (migrate) in search of better lives in the cities. This deprives the rural areas of the man-power and makes their situation worse. As they migrate into the cities, and end up in slums, increase populations and put pressure on amenities in the cities.
Despite the many definitions, one thing is certain; poverty is a complex societal issue. No matter how poverty is defined, it can be agreed that it is an issue that requires everyone’s attention. It is important that all members of society work together to provide the opportunities for all members to reach their full potential. It helps all of us to help one another.
An unintended pregnancy is a pregnancy that is mistimed, unplanned, or unwanted at the time of conception. It is a core concept to better understand the fertility of populations and the unmet need for contraception (birth control) and family planning.
Unintended pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of problems for the mom and baby. If a pregnancy is not planned before conception, a woman may not be in optimal health for childbearing.
For example, women with an unintended pregnancy could delay prenatal care that may affect the health of the baby i.e. taking folic acid, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, being physically active, quitting tobacco use, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, talking to your health care provider about screening and proper management of chronic diseases, visiting your health care provider at the recommended scheduled time periods for your age and discuss if or when you are considering becoming pregnant, using effective contraception correctly and consistently if you are sexually active but wish to delay or avoid pregnancy.
In 2008, 86 million (41%) of 208 million pregnancies were unintended. The proportions of live births reported as mistimed or unwanted vary by country, but are approximately equal (Singh et al, 2010, Bradley et al, 2011)
Causes of unintended pregnancies
Contraceptive failure
Contraceptive failure is a significant cause of accidental pregnancy. Some women who become unintentionally pregnant claimed to have been using a method of contraception at the time they conceived. A study of 769 women requesting abortion in the NHS, conducted by David Bromham, chair of the faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health care of the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists found that 68 per cent had conceived as a result of a failure of contraceptive method
Non-use of contraception when a woman is sexually active
Study has revealed that 82% of women had unintended pregnancy because they simply did not use any contraception. Most of these women were of the belief that they were infertile. Of the 82%, other women were lactating and did not believe they could fall pregnant.
Discontinuing or Switching
Some women have fallen pregnant while in the process of switching from one form of contraception to another. This usually happens when the women is not happy with the type of contraception they are on usually because of health reasons.
This is the most reason for unintended pregnancies in societies with a large number of people living in poverty. According to the Health Day News (2011/08/24), the overall rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States is holding steady but has risen dramatically among poor women even as it declines among their more affluent peers.
Researchers found that rates of unplanned pregnancies and births among poor women were five and six times higher, respectively, than among higher-income women. This suggests that women who lead stable lives, women who are older, more affluent and better-educated tend to have better reproductive health outcomes, while women whose lives are less stable, such as younger, poorer or less educated women, have higher rates of unplanned pregnancies, unwanted births and abortions. Although the study was done in America, it is also true for the major part of the world.
For the purposes of this study, we will focus on poverty as the main cause of unintended pregnancies.
Poverty in Swaziland
Poverty in Swaziland has been seen to be caused by various factors in both rural and urban settlements. In November 2013, the World food programme concluded that poverty in Swaziland is caused by factors such as the scarcity of food sources as there has been change in weather patterns which has resulted in natural disasters such as drought and floods therefore making it hard for Swazis. This has brought struggles to have food as 70% of them rely on subsistence farming. As a result they have to face the high prices of food. They also highlighted that diseases or illnesses such as HIV and TB have also contributed, as these diseases affect the people’s performance as less are getting the correct medical care more especially with pregnant women and children. This has resulted in weak economic performance of the country.
In December 2000 there was a national conference based on the poverty of Swaziland in which Thuli M Zwane pointed out that the shortage of food in Swaziland leads to poverty either due to poor distribution or the inability to buy food. In the same meeting Zeblon. M. Ngoitiama said that there are more people suffering from poverty in informal settlements and rural areas than the urban area. He also stated that poverty concentrated more among women than men as women earned 40 to 60 percent of men’s income. Sarah Dupont-Mkhonza stated that domestic workers are forced to work in a low-income labour market because of poverty.
In March 2014 the Children by Choice Association stated that a large number of women want to delay their pregnancies through the use of contraceptives but because a large number of them are not able to get access to basic needs, they end up falling pregnant due to the fact that they are forced to have unprotected sex just to put food on the table. This then leads to unsafe and illegal (for some countries) abortions which are performed by unskilled individuals usually under unhygienic conditions. Poverty is one of the many reasons at which people abort as they cannot deal with the finances that come along with the unplanned pregnancy. People living in poverty have a high rate of individuals affected with HIV and thus giving more reasons for them to get rid of the unintended pregnancy.
When looking into the relationship we would say that there is a close link between unplanned pregnancies and poverty and it is a negative effect. When these women have unplanned pregnancies it may cost them their jobs because the work places are not a suitable environment for them or because they are no longer fit to work the same number hours as before and this could lead to deeper poverty that is if they lose their jobs. When women living in poverty have unintended pregnancies they may turn to abortion as a solution but this does not reduce or remove the problem of which is poverty but simply eliminates the factors that could make the situation worse ( MacNair Rachel,Ph.d.,Director,Institude of Integrated Social Analysis).
This investigation will analyse how the research problem will be explored, with specific reference made to how the participants will be selected. The investigation will analyse the factors that cause unintended pregnancies among the poor Matsapha textile female workers in Swaziland
This chapter will also highlight the research design, research method, the population under study, the sampling procedure, and the method that was used to collect the data.
Research questions / Hypotheses
The hypothesis:-
Poverty faced by the textile workers leads to unintended pregnancies in Matsapha textile industries.
Research approach
From literature and discussions on various traditions and approaches to ‘good’ research, four potential research strategies have been considered for a research project.
‘ Logical theoretical research
‘ Quantitative, experimental research
‘ Qualitative, observational research
‘ Participatory action research
For the purposes of this research, we used the quantitative approach. This approach implies postulating hypotheses, doing quantitative experiments and then either sustaining or rejecting the hypotheses based on statistical analysis of the measured data (verification or falsification of hypotheses) as shown in the figure below.
Research Design
It is the blueprint for conducting the study that maximises control over factors that could interfere with the validity of the findings. Designing a study helps the researcher to plan and implement the study in a way that will help the researcher to obtain the intended results, thus increasing the chances of obtaining information that could be associated with the real situation (Burns and Grove 2001:223).
Research Methodology
The term methodology refers to the overall approaches and perspectives to the research process as a whole and is concerned with why you collected certain data, what data you collected, where you collected it, and how you analysed it (Collis and Hussey, 2003:55).
Research method
A research method refers to the various specific tools or ways data can be collected and analysed, e.g. a questionnaire, interview checklist, data analysis software etc.
For this research, a quantitative, explanatory approach was adopted to investigate whether there is a correlation between poverty and unintended pregnancies among women in the Matsapha textile industry.
Sampling is the process of selecting units (e.g., people, organizations) from a population of interest so that by studying the sample we may fairly generalize our results back to the population from which they were chosen.
Sample Population
The female employees in the Matsapha textile industry have be selected for the sample. These have been selected on the basis of their willingness to share information of relevance to this study
Sample Size
A sample is a subset, or some part, of a larger population. The purpose of sampling is to enable the researcher to estimate some unknown characteristics of the population. A sample size of 50 participants was selected for this study
Sample Method
The method used for choosing subjects has implications for generalizing the research results (Cozby, 1989:107). This section explores the method that will be used to select respondents to this study. The researcher used non-probability sampling to gather the samples. This is a technique where the samples are gathered in a process that does not give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected
To be more precise, the researcher used Convenience sampling. The subjects were selected because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher.
Data collection tools
According to Parahoo (1997:52, 325), a research tool:
Polit and Hungler (1999:267) define data as information obtained in a course of study. In this study, data will be collected using surveys. A questionnaire was be developed and circulated to the selected objects in the population. This questionnaire will be used to capture data relevant to the study’s objectives and research questions.
The questionnaire will be self-administered. Self-administered questionnaires present a problem to the researcher because they rely on the clarity of the written word rather than the skill of the interviewer (Zikmund, 2003:175).
When using questionnaires, we have to make an assumption that respondents can read, understand and write in the language of the questionnaire. For this reason, it is critically important that questions are properly phrased and constructed (Zikmund 2003:330-332). A questionnaire must have relevance and accuracy if it is to achieve the researcher’s purpose.
Data analysis methods
Analysis is the application of reasoning to understand and interpret the data that have been collected (Zikmund, 2003:73). For this study, Quantitative data will be entered and analysed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). Frequencies, percentages and means will be used to summarise and organise the data in an effective and meaningful way in line with the research objectives. The data will be presented in tabular form.
Statistics are simple tools used by the researcher to help make sense out of the observations that have been collected. For data to be statistically manipulated, it must be organised and quantified in some way (Riggio, 2000:25)
This section deals with the research design that will be followed in this study, addressing the population, sampling procedure, data collection instrument and data collection procedure. Measures will be adhered to in order to enhance the validity and reliability of the research results.
Data Analysis
To analyse the data the researcher has reviewed documents, reports. This helped the researcher as to know what people have discovered and researched and was able to compare their information with what the researcher had gathered, which also helped with accuracy of the data.
With the aid of the questionnaires that were handed out to some employers the researcher found that there was a high number of people between the ages of 20 and 30 who worked at the textiles and 76% of them are single. Interestingly the researcher also found that 49% live with family in a house of which they rent with an income ranging between the amounts E500-E900. They supported 4 people on average excluding themselves and mostly consisted of their children. Already this tells us the limitations and scarcities they face on a daily basis as they have to provide food, clothing, pay their rents and education and take care of all the members in the home, which is impossible for a very low income. A majority of them had said that they were not using any form of contraceptive when they fell pregnant, and these mostly consisted of married individuals. A high percentage of 82%of single individuals showed to use condoms as their method of contraception and the rest indicated that they use the injection. The type of contraception used also indicates their affordability’s as most of them could not afford the pills or other high effective contraceptive but opted for condoms which are a cheaper and affordable at any given time. None of the employees had indicated to own their own house, 11% have children with their husbands, and 20% are still in relationships with the father of their children, 69% were in relationships but are no longer together.
In conclusion, Swaziland is not different from every other country that faces the challenge of poverty and unintended pregnancies among low income earning women. It also be gathered that along with poor women, higher rates of unintended pregnancies also occur among women ages 18 to 24, minority women, and cohabitating women. The Data also showed that marriage is not, in and of itself, a solution to the problems women have in controlling their fertility. In fact, poor women who are married have unintended pregnancy rates more than twice as high as those of higher-income women who are unmarried or cohabiting.

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