Repository logo

Armed conflict, poverty and education in Naxal-affected areas of India: Gendered impacts and intersecting pathways



Change log


Diwakar, Vidya 


Access to schooling has considerably improved in India over the last two decades, and efforts are being made to concurrently improve the quality of learning. However, this overall trend hides inequalities faced by certain children on the basis of gender, household poverty pathways, and contextual disadvantages such as armed conflict over time. These intersecting, often dynamic factors can operate on their own to limit school accumulation and learning quality. Their intersections moreover can amplify constraints and shape opportunities and access to resources to varying degrees in ways that can push girls and boys affected by poverty further behind. This dissertation is focused on analysis at the intersections. It investigates the relationship between armed conflict dynamics and education of boys and girls in households on different poverty trajectories in India. It examines school accumulation, dropout risk, and learning outcomes, as well as the intervening mechanisms that affect these outcomes. In doing so, the research undertakes new analysis of the 2004/05 and 2011/12 rounds of the India Human Development Survey panel, analysis of the Naxalite conflict based on existing state- and district-level data drawn from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, and analysis of qualitative fieldwork conducted to assess the poverty-education nexus amongst boys and girls in conflict-affected areas in two districts of southern Orissa. It conceptually situates this analysis within an extension of the capability approach that more centrally engages with dynamic, intersecting inequalities. The research newly investigates a spectrum of armed conflict dynamics alongside a range of sequenced shocks and stressors in conflict-affected contexts, such as crime, alcoholism and other health shocks, exploitative lending practices, and natural hazards. These are observed to impoverish or maintain poverty in conflict-affected areas, with education access and outcomes particularly low for children in these households. Gender disaggregation moreover suggest that girls and boys are both affected but in different ways. The research collectively embeds conflict as a key dynamic within a multi-hazard risk environment, highlights the need to disaggregate by gender and poverty trajectory, and repositions the relationship between conflict and education to draw attention to dimensions of learning quality and its intermediary pathways. Consideration of these dynamic, intersecting inequalities when researching and responding to conflict impacts is important in ensuring conflict-sensitive, risk-informed design of policies and programs in ways that address the multiple and intersecting sources of deprivation in violent situations.





Rose, Pauline


Conflict, Education, Poverty, Gender, India


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge