Abstract: Women constitute the majority of rural dwellers experiencing the worst effects of poverty while carrying the responsibility of securing a living for their households. Historically, rural women have practised a multiplicity of livelihoods that have always remained survivalist and less effective in generating cash income. However, well-intended state interventions through Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) projects for women’s empowerment have instead removed women from their practice of survivalist livelihoods without offering them the necessary enabling conditions to establish independent biographies for practice of ‘modern’ cash generating strategies. Based on a systematic sample of 177 households and interviews with women in Ga-Ramogale, this article concludes that PAP projects have, rather than empowering women for sustainable participation in rural development, deepened their poverty and deprivation by enticing them away from the practice of livelihoods for which they had developed experience, skills and knowledge over years, and thereby effectively engendering increased reliance on dependency-oriented livelihoods.
Tags: generating, empowering, cash, projects, survivalist