Social assistance as a poverty alleviation strategy: case of Altındağ Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation

Apaydın, Aydın
Through the globalization of economy, alleviating poverty has become one of the pivotal issues within social policy arrangement agendas for many countries all over the world. One of the primary and rifest instruments of the alleviation process is social assistance programs. It is an apodictic fact that the proportion of social assistance disbursements within general budgets of the states have been gradually increasing during the recent years. This situation is also true for Turkey. In this context, to what extent citizens steer away from poverty as the result of all these assistances and to what extent social assistance programs are effective on reproduction of poverty becomes a major question. . The basic objective of this study is to search for and understand the impact of social assistances provided by the state in Turkey on behalf of reducing the poverty conditions of the beneficiaries. The study is based upon a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with beneficiaries of Altındağ Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation in Ankara, Turkey. As a result of the study, it is observed that even though distributed assistances are found insufficient by beneficiaries, they have some significant impacts on reduction of poverty. It is understood that the distribution process itself reveals some key problems of the social assistance program of the state such as inefficient defition of poverty and the poor and creating a feeling of dependency for the beneficiaries. The socio-economic factors creating poverty of the beneficiaries are not well defined in Turkey. . In line with this finding one striking inference is that the assistances may cause a kind of culture of poverty for a group of beneficiaries. Besides, assistance may have more impact on women’s poverty as the women beneficiaries have a higher tendency to identify social assistance as a vital part of their survival while men beneficiaries identify social assistance as support to family. In terms of cash and /or goods transfers the beneficiaries identified transfers of coal, food and cash as very effective and essential for their survival, though the amount especially of cash transfers was less than required. All in all, as a concrete policy suggestion social assistance programs in both cash and in goods are effective for the reduction of poverty of the poor groups however it is not a total solution to create a take-off effect for the beneficiaries out of their poverty condition. The thesis suggests that social assistance programs should be improved in terms of accessibility and defition of poverty and the poor.


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Citation Formats
A. Apaydın, “Social assistance as a poverty alleviation strategy: case of Altındağ Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.