Sen, subjective well-being and poverty in Namibia
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The aim of this article is to analyse and describe the perceptions of poverty and subjective well-being as described by the “poor” in Namibia, using Amartya Sen’s multidimensional theoretical framework of Poverty (Capability approach). The paper utilises qualitative data and information obtained from the 13 Participatory Poverty Assessments (PPAs) reports of the Namibian National Planning Commission (NPC). The PPAs followed a broad qualitative participatory methodology and were conducted in all 13 regions of Namibia. It offers a unique source of qualitative information on how well-being and poverty are perceived and experienced by the people themselves. The analysis focuses on matters such as the role of institutional quality, social trust in the community, religion, beliefs and people’s perceptions of poverty and well-being. Poverty is complex and multidimensional and not an economic issue only. Money and livelihoods were considered as a means to an end and not an end in itself. Wellbeing was rather seen as being able to foster and enlarge human capabilities, life choices and opportunities.