One of IMTFI’s first cohort of funded researchers, Aiman Raza, was recently interviewed
by Voice of America Urdu on 12/10/2009. His project entitled “Network Linkages and
Money Management,” examined financial insecurity faced by the “poorest of the poor”
in Lucknow, India. Working with skilled embroidery workers, Raza’s research focused on households with a variable income of
100 rupees a day.
Questions governing his research centered on coping mechanisms, such as how do these households cope with financial insecurity? How do they manage their
finances? When and how do they make compromises, on health issues and children’s education?
For Raza, the IMTFI annual conference for funded researchers was not only an opportunity
to present his project’s findings, but also an opportunity to start innovative conversations
with other researchers, a “mind opening experience”.
The emergent themes that were discussed at the annual conference enable Raza to think
about his research in new ways. Saying “I can apply those themes to many of the issues
I am concerned with; especially in the context of the extremely poor in Lucknow, I
now have the tools to carry out more intensive research.”
Transcription of Syed Aiman Raza’s Interview with Voice of America Urdu:
Aiman Raza has worked with some of the poorest Muslim workers in Lucknow. His work
seeks to understand the ways in which the “poorest of the poor” manage their household
finances. He had this to say about his project entitled “Network Linkages and Money
This project was recently funded by UCI IMTFI, which funds research on third work
countries whose households earn less than 2$USD a day. Some of the central questions
that governed my research were; what are the hardships of these households? How do
they cope with financial insecurity? How do they manage their finances? When and how
do they make compromises, on health issues, or their children’s education? How do
they cope with the realities of their life? My research focused on individuals who
were on average earning 100 rupees a day, and whose income was variable, meaning that
tomorrow they could earn only 60 rupees a day. These are households that do not have
electricity, and individuals who may not have work the next day. What are the similarities
of these experiences in Hindustan with other countries such as Pakistan, and all over
At this conference, how many third world countries were represented?
There were roughly 12 countries represented from all over the world. The 27 or so
participants came from places such as Russia, Africa and Indonesia. From India there
were 2 representatives including me. There was no one from Pakistan.
What is the biggest difference between research conducted overseas and research conducted
here? How was your research accepted?
The research that we presented was greatly appreciated at the conference--that is
the biggest difference. The work was highly appreciated, and they not only acknowledged
the effort that goes into this kind of work, they suggested other avenues for analyzing
the research, such as looking for patterns. Many individuals there were associated
with the education field.
Aiman, the insights and comments that you received at the conference, how will this
help your research project when you return to India?
I can do a lot now. Coming to the conference and learning about other projects,
discussing the emergent themes at the conference has been a “mind opening experience”.
I can apply those themes to many of the issues I am concerned with; especially in
the context of the extremely poor in Lucknow, I now have the tools to carry out more
So now that you have conducted this research, and have attended this conference,
what is the biggest drawback for Third-world countries?
The biggest drawback for third world countries is that in third world countries
access to education is difficult. Imagine an individual who makes less than 2$USD
a day, who is also skilled, who has the skill to work but still only makes less than
2$USD per day, what type of education, if any can he provide for his children? How
will he “take up” their health concerns? Cumulatively, this insecurity has a huge
impact on their daily life.
*Listen to Syed Aiman Raza's interview
Read more about Syed Aiman's Raza's project "
Network Linkage and Money Management".