Tracking Time Use: Spatial and Temporal Influences on Development Among Ugandan Women Farmers
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Despite billions of dollars invested each year in economic and human development programs worldwide, poverty still exists. From promotion of trade and job creation to establishment of microfinance programs, concepts abound on how wealth can be redistributed to the poor. The gauging of progress in development has also had its share of supporters and detractors. Monitoring economic and human development has included measures of education, health, GDP and has brought about indices such as the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Millennium Development Goals. Yet the complexities of poverty also call for investigation of the influences of temporal and spatial aspects of development. Recent literature promotes time use, productivity and labor as critical components of poverty analysis in developing countries. Without time available for labor and building of social capital, no sustainable progress can be made in improving the lives of the poor. For women who live in rural Africa, time and space both influence and are influenced by economic poverty and development opportunities. Given this concept, this thesis investigates the role of rural Ugandan women's temporal and spatial relationships within development. Specifically, it seeks to establish the association between time poverty, mobility and development for twenty seven women farmers in south central Uganda. This thesis pursues these objectives in two ways. First, it seeks to discover the nature of time use among rural women in Uganda which contributes to or detracts from their development. That is, it attempts to identify factors which help explain rural women's time use in Uganda in relation to development. Second, it attempts to discover how time poverty is related to spatial influences for poor rural women in Uganda. This thesis is based on participatory quantitative and qualitative research which provides empirical and experiential evidence on the interaction between development, time poverty and spatial fixity for this group of women in Nakagongo, Uganda. It has shown the complexity and heterogeneity of women's development in this poor rural community. This research found evidence that suggests that time poverty is positively associated with development and health, but that overworking to the point of extreme time poverty has a negative relationship with both. Time invested in ventures such as raising livestock or producing crops for market is seen to be associated with higher levels of development. But non-agricultural income opportunities are limited and are found to have no significant influence on development levels. Research on the influences of space found that there is a significant effect on productive time use by both fixity and mobility. In terms of geographical influences, family interaction such as caring for relatives or receiving assistance from children increase spatial fixity, whereas higher levels of education decrease fixity. GIS mapping of travel patterns reveal that time use is often inefficient within close range of home and repetitive travel may account for lost time. Modes of transportation were found to be influential as well. Motorcycle taxis are frequently used for market exchange and increase mobility and efficiency at a low cost. The statistical results show that those women who are able to utilize motorcycles are more likely to be in the most productive range of work hours.