Welcome to myschoollibrary! Today in our social studies lesson, we will be treating the topic “Poverty “. Do have a great time studying with us!

Lesson Note

Subject: Social Studies

Class: JS2

Topic: Poverty

Learning Objectives: The learners should be able to do the following by the end of the lesson:

  1. Explain the term poverty;
  2. Mention the types of poverty;
  3. Identify the causes of poverty;
  4. State the consequences of poverty;
  5. Discuss the poverty alleviation scheme by their country’s government;
  6. Identify the poverty alleviation scheme by the Nigerian government.



What is Poverty?
Poverty is ordinarily an economic condition of lacking both money and basic necessities needed to make an adequate life. These basic amenities include food, water, education and shelter. But the absence of these basic economic needs also means an absence of other non-economic needs. Hence, there are many working definitions of poverty.
When somebody has no secure income and is therefore not sure of his or her next meal, he or she may be described as being afflicted by poverty. Poverty may therefore also be defined as the economic condition of lacking predictable and stable means of meeting basic life needs. Those who live in conditions of poverty have no access to a wide range of economic and other resources and may be described as poor, in the low income class, or impoverished. People living in poverty are often illiterate, in poor health, and have a short life span. They are unable to meet socio-economic obligations, they lack skills and gainful employment, have few economic assets and, sometimes, lack self-esteem.

Types of Poverty

1 .Chronic or Structural Poverty. This is a long term condition whose causes are permanent and may not be removed within a short time. The causes of structural poverty include lack of skills for gainful employment and socio-cultural behaviour.
2. The second is Temporary or Conjectural Poverty: This is caused by factors that are temporary. They are usually more reversible than structural poverty. These include environmental factors such as natural disasters like drought, flood and very strong winds such as hurricane and typhoon. It may also be caused by man-made disasters such as war, increased unemployment and environmental destruction.

Causes of Poverty

The causes of poverty cannot be linked to one single or simple source, but to different sources. However, we will state some of these causes.
i. Level of Skill: Level of skill is usually divided into skilled, semi-skilled and we unskilled. The unskilled workers are the labourers, house helps, Messengers, etc, while the skilled and semi-skilled consist of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, painters, auto-mechanics and so on. The unskilled workers are usually poor.
ii. Extended Family System: In Africa and other less developed countries, the extended family system is practised, where more fortunate members of the extended family will not only take care of their immediate family members but also cousins, uncle’s, aunt’s, grandparents, etc, who are less fortunate. Such countries tend to have a high rate of poverty when compared to more developed countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, etc, where the nuclear family system is practised.
iii. Inadequate Resources and Pattern of Distribution: Some countries do not have enough natural and human resources to take care of their people. For example, they do not have petroleum, gold, diamond and skilled or trained workers in sufficient quantities, while others have then in abundance. As a result, those who lack these resources are not able to provide for the needs of their people. In other cases, even though the resources are available, the patterns of distribution have made a small group of people to control a large percentage of the country’s wealth while the majority live in abject poverty. An example of the latter group of countries is Nigeria.
iv. Spending Habits: The spending habits of some people have made them poor. They spend their resources on less important things and wastefully too. They also do not save, and without savings, one cannot invest on things that would bring in more income or money.
v. Level of Literacy/Education: Some people cannot read and write and therefore, cannot be trained or educated to such a level that would take them out of poverty. In other cases, the level of education is such that they cannot find jobs that would enable them earn enough to get them out of poverty.
vi. Untapped Natural Resources: Some countries have resources that have not been exploited because they do not have the technical know-how to do so. Other countries and people have a lot of potential that have not been exploited. As a result, they live a life of lack.
vii. Environmental/Natural Causes: Other causes of poverty are due to the environment. These include war, natural disasters, political corruption, famine, flood and a general downturn in business activities. Others are natural. For example, a mental illness or physical disability.

Consequences of Poverty

Poverty leads to consequences that are not in the interest of any society. Some of these consequences are poor quality life, illiteracy or not having access to education, violence such as thuggery, and area boys syndrome, drug abuse, prostitution, human trafficking and armed robbery.

Poverty Alleviation Strategies

Poverty can be alleviated by improving human welfare in the immediate and distant future. These include ensuring that every member of society can access the basic needs of life: food, potable water, clothing, shelter, basic health services and nutrition, basic education and communication and guaranteed respect for human rights
Also, the government can embark upon a mass education programme and train more teachers, train and retrain youths and other unemployed people. At present, the Nigerian government has embarked on some poverty alleviation scheme’s through the Universal Basic Education (UBE), National Agency of Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), etc.
In the area of education, the UBE was designed to provide a universal, free and compulsory education for the child beginning from the primary school to the end of the junior secondary school.
NAPEP was basically set up to collaborate with other relevant government agencies to coordinate and monitor all poverty eradication efforts in Nigeria.
NEEDS was set up as a medium-term strategy (2003 – 2007) deriving from Nigeria’s long-term goals of poverty reduction, wealth creation, employment generation and value reorientation. It is a nationally coordinated framework of action in close collaboration with state and local governments and other stakeholders. NEEDS rests on four key stratgies:
a. Reforming the way government works and it’s institutions.
b. Growing the private sector
c. Implementing a social charter for the people
d. Reorienting of the people with an enduring African value system
In the area of employment generation, NDE was established to develop programmes that will combat the issue of mass unemployment.
However, government can also provide unemployment benefits and social security for those who cannot find work.


Before you go, take some test questions from what you have studied.
1. What do you understand by the term poverty?
2. Mention two types of poverty
3. Describe three causes of poverty
4. What are the effects of poverty on a society?

5. State the poverty alleviation scheme by the government of your country.
6. Describe three poverty alleviation scheme’s by the Nigerian government.

Were you able to answer those questions? Kudos!!

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