War in South LebanonLebanon’s progress under the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been stagnant at best since its financial crisis in 2017 and the 2020 Beirut blast, which left 300,000 people displaced and more than 200 people killed. Since then, the South of Lebanon has also found itself at war with Israel, which has further worsened the economic situation in the country.

The War in South Lebanon

The skirmishes between Hezbollah in South Lebanon and Israel have been ongoing since the beginning of the Gaza war on October 7, 2023. On May 28, 2024, after Israel’s aerial strike on Rafah, Hezbollah’s missile attacks reached an all-time high, getting up to 3,000 rockets, leaving 86 settlements in Northern Israel heavily damaged.

Israel has been responding with aerial attacks that have left most of the villages in Southern Lebanon uninhabitable, forcing many to flee either to Beirut or the mountains. According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracker Index, some 86,000 people have been displaced and 51% of those displaced are women.

Since the beginning of the war, Lebanon has remained the country with the highest displaced population per capita in the world, totaling 2.47 million and including Syrian and Palestinian people as well.

The Olive Trees Crisis

Agriculture is a major source of income in Southern Lebanon. It employs hundreds of thousands. The olive oil business, in particular, makes up 7% of Lebanon’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and provides some 110,000 farmers with their livelihoods.

This has been greatly affected by Israeli airstrikes on agricultural land. Additionally, the use of white phosphorus bombs, which the Lebanese Ministry of Environment claims, has increased the amount of phosphorus 900 times above healthy levels, specifically in areas targeted by the Israeli military.

The damage to the land in this area is incredibly poignant, considering that approximately 12 million trees cover the farming land used in the olive oil business and that this farming land makes up almost one-quarter of the country’s total agricultural area.

How the UN is Helping

Under the Regional Refugee Resilience Plan by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Inter-Agency unit in Lebanon has accomplished significant milestones in assisting the country with absorbing and managing its large displaced population.

Since the beginning of the war, the unit has supported 22,196 small-scale farmers through education and the provision of essential materials to rural and underserved areas. The unit has also been directly providing aid to shelters, dishing out 209,109 daily meals to the inhabitants of Saida and Tyre’s shelters.

While the situation as a whole remains somewhat dire, U.N.-funded organizations and other charitable institutions have been providing immense help to the underprivileged people of Southern Lebanon. However, they are receiving only 13% of their required budget, making lobbying an even more urgent duty to us all.

– Carl Massad

Carl is based in Sarba, Jounieh, Lebanon and focuses on Politics and World News for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

. Charities Operating in SomaliaThe changing climate and conflict are the driving factors behind poverty in Somalia, where ongoing droughts and political insecurity have led to internal displacements, with much of the population living in camps. As a result, almost 70% of Somalis live below the poverty line and only 53% of children are enrolled in school. In response, many organizations are providing valuable resources to alleviate poverty in Somalia. Here are just five charities operating in Somalia that have made a difference in poverty reduction.

Islamic Relief

This charity provides valuable resources for local communities affected by water scarcity due to the ongoing drought. Islamic Relief has helped displaced communities by drilling a borehole and creating a water supply system in Baidoa, a large city in the southern region of Somalia.

Islamic Relief also trained local community members to establish a water management committee. This has enabled them to oversee the water facility independently. The facility was officially handed over to the local community in August 2023. It now supplies clean drinking water to 3000 homes in Baidoa.

Concern Worldwide

With a mission to end extreme poverty, this charity operates several projects in Somalia that focus on emergency responses to natural disasters and population displacement. It also invests in long-term programs to improve the resilience of local communities. Its latest achievements include the establishment of 13 fixed and 15 mobile health centers. These centers provide patient consultations, antenatal and postnatal services, treatment for malnutrition and immunization for 503,000 patients in 2022. Concern Worldwide also focuses on livelihood support and has created 65 self-help groups for women in Somaliland. The support has improved their social and economic positions in society.

Ifrah Foundation

This charity has been operating in Somalia since 2014 and aims to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This practice is a violation of human rights. It has a prevalence rate of 99% in Somalia – the highest in the world. FGM is carried out on young girls and can cause severe bleeding, extreme pain, cysts and infections, problems urinating and complications in childbirth. It can also negatively impact the mental health of young girls, causing shock, depression and anxiety.

Empowering women and improving gender equality is a key accelerator for sustainable development. Ifrah Foundation’s “Dear Daughter” campaign works across three pillars of action to improve the quality of life for Somali women: Advocacy, Awareness raising and Community Empowerment. The charity has trained 665 community activists on the dangers of FGM and the power disparity between genders, which allows girls and women to be violently targeted. These activists then return to their local communities in Somalia and advocate for the end of FGM by sharing their knowledge with members of their community.

Salam Charity

This organization is dedicated to empowering Somalia’s youth. About 70% of Somalia’s population is aged less than 30 and 67% are currently unemployed. As a result, most young people in Somalia cannot afford vital health care. In response, Salam Charity has created a mobile medical clinic by recruiting teams of medical professionals in Somalia.

This traveling clinic can dispatch essential medical treatments to hard-to-reach communities affected by the civil conflict. In addition to providing free check-ups and treatments, the nonprofit also offers funding to pay for life-altering cataract surgery, which can increase opportunities for the visually impaired.

Muslim Aid

This charity has been operating in Somalia since 1993, when it was first established there in response to the civil war. Since then, it has introduced various projects to aid the country’s recovery and development.

One of its priorities has been education. In 2006, Muslim Aid formed Basaso College, which has now expanded into a university with 532 students. It also addresses gender inequality by providing training and equipment to 500 women to build their skillsets and teach them how to run their businesses. Additionally, it has provided counseling for victims of rape and gender-based violence.

These charities operating in Somalia are improving the lives of vulnerable Somalians by providing them with access to water, education and health care.

– Sabrina Batouche

Sabrina is based in London, UK and focuses on Good News and Global Health for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

Medical AidCountries with limited access to resources can benefit tremendously from foreign medical aid. Learn what essentials this aid should provide here.

Health care professionals around the world grapple with a variety of challenges when delivering care in underprivileged areas, from resource scarcity to cultural barriers. This article explores what medical aid in impoverished countries should provide to be the most effective, ensuring that every intervention is not just a momentary relief but a step toward long-term health improvement.

Why Medical Care Assistance Matters

It is an unfortunate truth that poverty limits access to health care. As a result, people living in impoverished countries receive little or no quality health care to meet their needs if they do not have financial resources themselves.

That is where international aid comes into the picture. The essence of medical care assistance in impoverished nations is not just about treating illnesses but also about building a foundation for sustainable health care development. It is about giving communities the tools to nurture their health, education and independence.

Ultimately, effective medical aid should act as a catalyst for social and economic development. Below are the factors that contribute to this goal.

Knowledgeable, Flexible, Empathetic Staff

One of the cornerstones of impactful medical aid is the presence of staff who are well-versed in their medical expertise and adaptable to the unique challenges they face. These individuals must possess an innate sense of empathy, allowing them to connect with and understand the people they help. Their ability to adjust their methodologies in unfamiliar or resource-constrained environments is key to their success and the success of their missions.

High-Quality, Versatile Equipment

The effectiveness of medical interventions heavily relies on the availability of high-quality and versatile equipment. In settings where resources are limited, the ability to perform a wide range of treatments with a minimal set of tools can be the difference between life and death. To assist in this area, custom surgical instrument kits can improve efficiency and save money, helping medical aid groups provide excellent care with excellent tools.

Access to Backup

In the face of emergencies or unexpected challenges, having access to backup—whether it be additional supplies, personnel, or expertise—is crucial. This safety net ensures that medical teams can continue to provide care without interruption, safeguarding against the unpredictable nature of health care provision in underdeveloped regions.

Cultural Sensitivity

Lastly, understanding and respecting the cultural contexts in which health care is provided is imperative. Medical aid should seek to heal physical ailments in a manner that is culturally sensitive and respectful. Recognizing local customs, beliefs and norms is vital in creating a trusting relationship between healthcare providers and the communities they serve.

What medical aid in impoverished countries should provide extends beyond mere immediate care. It encapsulates a holistic approach to health that includes knowledgeable and empathetic staff, high-quality versatile equipment, reliable backup resources, and the utmost cultural sensitivity. By adhering to these principles, health care professionals can make a profound and lasting impact on the well-being of underprivileged communities worldwide.

– Kelly Schoessling
Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid to GeorgiaGeorgia has received a total of $5.3 billion in ongoing foreign aid which includes investment projects, grants, budget support and technical assistance. Its major donors include the European Investment Bank (EIB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, EU, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Germany and the United States of America remain the top two foreign countries to provide financial assistance to Georgia. 

Georgia’s International Relations

The United States (U.S.) supports Georgia due to its strategic significance as a young democracy striving for deeper integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. Georgia’s location at a crucial international crossroads and its commitment to mutual security objectives further underscore the importance of this partnership. The U.S. aims to help Georgia enhance its resilience and prosperity, fostering a stronger and more resilient democracy in the region. The U.S. President Joe Biden’s Administration’s fiscal year 2025 budget proposal for the Department of State and USAID aims to disburse $80 million in foreign aid to Georgia under Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia.

The World Bank remains committed to Georgia’s progress and endeavours to continue supporting its journey towards a more competitive, environmentally sustainable, digitally advanced and business-friendly economy that creates opportunities for its citizens. The World Bank has extended substantial foreign aid to Georgia totalling $3.88 billion. This support, including funds from the International Development Association (IDA), has been aiming to support 86 projects covering various sectors of the economy. 

EU and Georgia

The EU and Georgia have maintained ties for more than 25 years, and currently, their relationship is more robust than ever before. Surveys indicate that as much as 90% of Georgia’s 3.7 million people favour EU accession; and, in return, the EU aids Georgia in unlocking its economic potential through international collaboration. This involves providing assistance to align with EU legislative standards and facilitating integration into broader economic frameworks.

EU is Georgia’s major trading partner. Its exports to Georgia amounted to €3.23 billion and it imported goods worth €1.026 billion in 2022. In the coming years, the EU hopes to invest in several flagship projects in Georgia to foster economic development and improve quality of life. These projects include establishing reliable internet through a Black Sea data cable and electricity cable, enhancing connectivity with ferry connections in the Black Sea and supporting 80,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These initiatives collectively aim to boost economic growth, enhance connectivity, support local businesses and improve living standards across the country.

Georgia’s Poverty Rate

According to the World Bank, Georgia’s poverty rate declined from 70.6% in 2010 to 47.7% in 2022. Furthermore, the job market showed robust improvement, with unemployment dropping from 20.6% in 2021 to a historic low of 16.4% in 2023. In fact, in 2022, the Government of Georgia officially joined the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) as a donor. And finally, with the West granting Georgia candidate status, the EU accession process could offer opportunities to accelerate reforms and foster prosperity. 

European Foreign Aid to Georgia

USAID’s ongoing initiatives in Georgia prioritize several key areas, including job creation and enhancing educational and professional training to equip Georgians with the skills needed for a modern economy. These initiatives focus on education and professional training, increasing employability and income potential, ultimately lifting individuals out of poverty.

In recent years, foreign aid to Georgia has included significant contributions such as Germany’s €310 million COVID-19 relief funding in 2020 and a combined investment of €641 million from AFD (France) and KfW (Germany) in 2023, with E.U. grants amounting to €8.5 million for the “Green Transition for Georgia” project.

Additionally, a substantial investment of €6.5 million from the European Union and €1 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has been allocated to explore untapped social and economic potentials in regions such as Guria, Imereti, Kakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi/Kvemo Svaneti. This support for green energy projects not only reduces dependency on costly energy imports but also creates new job opportunities in renewable energy sectors, mitigating environmental degradation and contributing to sustainable poverty reduction.

The Council of the European Union has announced the adoption of a €30 million assistance measure for Georgia under the European Peace Facility (EPF). This measure aims to support “the Georgian Defence Forces in enhancing national security, stability and resilience within the defence sector.” Enhanced national security could create a stable environment crucial for economic growth, attracting foreign investment and fostering local business development, which generates employment.

Georgia’s Recent “Foreign Agents” Bill

A major recent development by the Georgian government has questioned the continuation of foreign aid. On Tuesday, May 14, 2024, Georgian lawmakers approved the legislation, with 84 members of the country’s 150-member law-making body voting in favor. This new bill requires non-governmental organizations, receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad, to register as “organizations serving the interests of a foreign power” or face fines. Supporters argue that the new bill aims to maintain foreign investment transparency and avoid foreign influence on Georgian politics. They also say the new bill is based on a similar U.S. law — the Foreign Agents Registration Act — which dates back to 1938.

The people of Georgia understand this to be a “Kremlin-style” law as similar legislation passed by Moscow in 2012 has been used to crack down on dissenters in the country. Due to Georgia’s history with Russia, there are multiple protests in the streets of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, against the new bill implementation. 

Georgia was recently given official candidate status for the EU membership in 2023 and the new bill does not align with European values of free speech. With the passing of this bill, the Georgian government is getting further away from accessing the EU which can be a “turning point” for its relations with the two countries including funding to be possibly pulled off by the U.S.

According to The Guardian, the Georgian government is hinting at the possibility of dropping the bill in return for revised support from the States or “a package of economic and security support from Washington.”

– Sakshi Pillai

Sakshi is based in Ontario, Canada and focuses on Politics and World News for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

British Red Cross In AfghanistanConsidered one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan is facing a rising humanitarian crisis characterized by ongoing conflict and violence, food insecurity exacerbated by El Niño, displacement of people and economic decline. Ultimately, poverty in Afghanistan is further exacerbated by the ongoing conflict and natural disasters, which leave many Afghans displaced. One major factor that has worsened poverty in Afghanistan has been the high prevalence of earthquakes, which has created instability, destruction and even death.

Ultimately, this has contributed to the collapse of Afghanistan’s health care systems at a time when Afghans need it the most. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), more than 34 million Afghans live in poverty. As a result of a rapid increase in the crisis in Afghanistan due to the security crisis, 23.7 million Afghans will require emergency assistance to survive in 2024.

For more than 30 years, the British Red Cross has been aiding Afghanistan through crises by responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. A part of a global volunteer network, the charity aids Afghans by helping them prepare for and withstand emergencies in their communities. Following is how the British Red Cross is aiding Afghanistan through times of crisis.

Support for Individuals Affected by Earthquakes

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has become one of the world’s most severe. A country riddled with many burdens, one major hazard for the people of Afghanistan is earthquakes, which the government cannot compensate for due to a high prevalence of poverty. Statistics show that in 2016, more than 56% of Afghanistan’s population lived below the national poverty line; there is no doubt that the presence of frequent earthquakes has had a detrimental effect on the lives of many poverty-stricken Afghans.

In 2023, four large earthquakes measuring a magnitude of 6.3 each struck Afghanistan, claiming more than 2,000 lives, injuring 9,240 and seriously damaging and destroying 1,320 homes. In addition, hospitals have been overwhelmed, education has been interrupted due to school closures and vital resources have become scarce. Ultimately, this has resulted in the need for emergency humanitarian assistance for Afghans who have been injured and displaced.

In response, the British Red Cross is providing emergency resources for people affected by earthquakes. Providing Afghans with vital resources has enabled them to feel secure once again. The charity has provided 10,000 blankets, 4,000 tarpaulins, 6,000 jerrycans and food parcels for 2,000 households. In addition, local Afghan Red Crescent teams responded to the emergency immediately by helping with search and rescue, providing continuous aid to those seriously affected by earthquakes. Long-term support, especially for women and girls, is also provided.

Providing Medical Care

While health care in Afghanistan has always been scarce, recent statistics show that due to factors such as conflict as well as the devastating effects of earthquakes, there has been an alarming increase in the need for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. Challenges in the health care system include a shortage of professionals, limited supplies and difficulty reaching remote and conflict-ridden areas.

As a direct result of underfunding in the health care system, eight million Afghans will lose access to life-saving health care, nearly 450,000 will lose access to life-saving trauma care and more than 1.6 million will have little to no access to mental health care and psychological support. This is detrimental as the recent effects of conflict have caused a spike in the need for health care.

In response, the British Red Cross has established 140 health teams in collaboration with other nonprofits, reaching nearly 330,000 people nationwide. These teams have provided health care services, such as routine immunizations, in areas other organizations cannot reach.

Looking Forward

Factors such as earthquakes and conflict and an underfunded health care system make it evident that Afghans still struggle to afford medicine and transportation to reach health services. The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan necessitates continuous support from organizations to keep Afghans safe and healthy. With support from the British Red Cross, millions of Afghans have begun to rebuild their lives through the emergency aid provided by the organization. Despite these efforts, conflict and environmental disturbances remain severe issues for the people of Afghanistan.

– Emily Whatley

Emily is based in Truro, UK and focuses on Good News and Global Health for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

The Intersection of Poverty and Mental Health in South KoreaMental health in South Korea is a critical issue that often falls under the radar due to the nation’s global reputation for economic prosperity and technological innovation. Despite these achievements, South Korea faces high rates of suicide and mental health challenges, exacerbated by intense societal pressures such as academic demands and workplace stress.

The Context of Mental Health in South Korea

South Korea has one of the highest rates of suicide among developed countries, with 26 deaths per 100,000 population. This devastating statistic stands in contrast to the global downward trend as South Korea’s suicide rate nearly doubled over the past 20 years, becoming the sixth leading cause of death in 2022. This crisis is exacerbated by intense societal pressures such as academic and workplace demands, with what is referred to as examination hell, in which breakdowns and suicides become frequent with students during exams where failure would lead to economic and social hardships. Moreover, South Korean culture often frowns upon seeking help for mental illness, with reports stating that only seven percent of those affected by poor mental health seek therapy or psychiatric help. Furthermore, those who do attend therapy, often pay out-of-pocket in cash to avoid any effect on their insurance.

Many South Koreans follow Confucianism, a philosophy grounded in honoring your ancestry, leading many South Koreans to forgo mental health treatment to preserve their family’s ‘dignity’. Furthermore, this philosophy emphasizes individual will, spiritual strength and self-discipline, suggesting that mental health should be tolerated rather than cured.  These factors create a challenging environment for addressing mental illness, particularly for the economically disadvantaged who face amplified societal pressures and cultural stigma as well as the financial burden that places them at the forefront of examination hell.

Poverty in South Korea

Despite its remarkable economic growth, South Korea grapples with a significant poverty rate of 14.9% as of 2022, a number that is relatively high by global standards. Furthermore, this poverty rate is particularly evident among certain demographics such as the elderly and single-parent households, with 40% of Koreans above 66 years old living below the poverty line, the highest elderly income poverty rate among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

According to Kang So-Yoon, a volunteer at a Buddhist temple in Seoul who gives out free lunches, “the economy is in bad shape and older people are struggling to find work,” and, “many elderly people were unable to put aside savings for later in life because they spent too much on their children’s education.” There is a societal expectation that children will support their parents in old age. However, due to social competition and income inequality, many are struggling financially, making it harder to help their parents financially. 

Poverty as a Determinant of Mental Illness

The intersection of poverty and mental health creates a complex and reinforcing cycle in South Korea. Financial instability and the daily struggle to meet basic needs such as food and shelter drive individuals living in poverty to experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety and depression. A BMC Public Health study identified low income, unemployment and financial difficulties as risk factors for all suicidal behaviors. Furthermore, socioeconomic disparities often result in reduced access to mental health services, further entrenching the cycle of poverty and mental illness.

The stigma associated with mental health issues through deeply rooted cultural and societal norms compounds these socioeconomic challenges. Individuals in poverty face a dual burden which may discourage many from seeking psychiatric help for fear of societal ostracization. Addressing this intersection requires a multifaceted approach including more access to mental health care, reduction of stigma and implementing policies to provide financial support. 

Government Policies and Initiatives

As of December 2023, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, vowed that the government will begin proactively addressing mental health issues through the Mental Health Policy Innovation Plan calls for the state to actively manage the entire cycle of mental illness, from prevention to recovery. Under this plan, a total of one million people are expected to receive psychological counseling funded with government support by 2027. Furthermore, the government will increase national mental health checkups for young people aged 20-34 from every 10 years to every two years, aiming for early intervention of mental health risks. Through this policy, the South Korean government aims to reduce the suicide rate by 50% by 2033. 

Grassroots Initiatives and NGOs

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) also play a crucial role in addressing mental health challenges in South Korea. The Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare supports the Korea Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an NGO dedicated to educating policy establishment, analyzing causes of suicide and improving awareness while managing high-risk groups and bereaved families. In doing so, the Korea Foundation for Suicide Prevention aims to systematically implement suicide prevention, working alongside the government’s plan to halve the suicide rate within 10 years.  

Looking Ahead

South Korea’s commitment to addressing the intertwined challenges of mental health and poverty promises to transform countless lives through comprehensive policies and robust support systems. As the government and NGOs actively collaborate to break the stigma and provide accessible mental health services, they renew hope for reducing disparities and enhancing societal well-being. These ongoing initiatives aim to destigmatize mental health care and integrate it into the fabric of community support, ensuring no one is left behind in South Korea’s journey toward greater social equity.

– Emily Weir

Emily is based in Bath, UK and focuses on Global Health and Celebs for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

USAID Programs in GuatemalaDespite being the largest economy in Central America, Guatemala has the highest poverty and inequality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. As of 2023, an estimated 55.1% of the population is affected by poverty, with a child malnutrition rate of 47%, among the 10th highest in the world. However, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a nongovernmental organization (NGO), has been running programs to alleviate poverty in Guatemala since the ’80s. The programs aim “to address the drivers of irregular migration to the United States, including high levels of violence and insecurity, pervasive poverty and chronic malnutrition.”

Factors Affecting Poverty in Guatemala

Hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020 severely damaged infrastructure, leading to losses of 0.56% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 0.20% GDP of agriculture-related losses. The COVID-19 pandemic further disrupted Guatemala’s economy by straining the health care system, disrupting education due to lockdowns and increasing food insecurity by disrupting food supply chains, leading to greater malnutrition and loss of livelihoods.

On February 2, 2021, President Biden Signed an Executive Order calling for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in Central America. The order intends to work alongside USAID to implement programs to alleviate poverty in Guatemala, hoping that, as a result, it will also reduce migration to the United States (U.S.).

The Root Cause Strategy in Guatemala

Vice President Kamala Harris met with Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo on March 25, 2024, to encourage bilateral relations as part of the Biden Administration’s ongoing commitment. She announced the planned investment of $135 million in USAID alongside $170 million intended to aid development, economic health and security assistance for Guatemala.

USAID Programs Involvement in the Root Cause Strategy

The funding provided by the Biden Administration is planned to implement the following USAID Programs in Guatemala:

  1. Anti-corruption Task Force: Guatemala has long been riddled with corruption among governing and police officials, ranking 13 out of 15 Latin American countries in its ability to detect, punish and prevent corruption. The USAID task force aims to build public trust in democracy as a system that works in its interest by implementing U.S. law enforcement officials and prosecutors to work on and investigate corruption cases.
  2. Central American Service Corps (CASC): The program was announced in 2022 and, after a successful run, is set to expand in May, funded by USAID. In the next five years, it aims to reach 25,000 Guatemalan youth at risk of migrating by engaging them in volunteer work, training and employment opportunities in Guatemala.
  3. Feed the Future Programme: USAID intends to support research capacity, education and advice on “Climate Smart” agriculture and build opportunities to scale agricultural technologies. In turn, it will bolster food security, which affects 4.6 million Guatemalans and aid economic development by fostering rural entrepreneurship.
  4. Guatemala Biodiversity Conservation: USAID will implement this program to strengthen the Guatemalan System of Protected Areas, focusing on the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve and areas of ecological importance along the Pacific Coast. Conservation efforts often create opportunities for ecotourism, allowing Guatemala to create job sectors to generate ecotourism activities.
  5. Boosting Education: Due to a lack of funding and inefficient education systems, approximately 3% of Guatemala’s GDP is spent on education. Therefore, USAID intends to support the Government of Guatemala in establishing an educational foundation for children and youth to provide an alternative to migration. It has already reached nearly 69,000 learners in high-out-migration municipalities.

Looking to the Future

The Root Cause Strategy’s efforts to increase USAID funding and implement new programs in Guatemala offer a hopeful future. With consistent support, USAID can continue to alleviate poverty by boosting the agricultural economy, combat malnutrition by enhancing food security and address educational deficits with increased funding.

– Fatima Naqavi

Fatima is based in London, UK and focuses on Good News for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr

Charities in GeorgiaGeorgia borders Russia, the Black Sea, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Its estimated population is 3.6 million. In 1991, Georgia emerged from the Soviet Union as an independent state, the Republic of Georgia. However, It was changed to Georgia after adopting its Constitution in 1995. While having a tumultuous history due to the political affairs of its neighboring countries, it has always been known for its remarkable cultural heritage. Georgia’s poverty level has fluctuated since becoming independent, notably from 70.6% in 2010 to 47.7% in 2022. Multiple charities in Georgia have made substantial efforts to support Georgians in developing successful lives as citizens. Some of these charities in Georgia include:

Caritas Georgia

Caritas Georgia was founded in 1994 and is still active today. This organization was first established to support and care for those left destitute after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The current mission of this nongovernmental organization (NGO) is to promote human development and social justice. It brings relief and support to disadvantaged citizens.

Caritas Georgia introduced several projects to improve conditions for those in social care and children and young adult protection programs. These projects work on policies to prevent families from being forced into the migration process due to economic reasons.

St Gregory’s Foundation

In Tbilisi, although a third of Georgia’s population resides here, there are very few social care services that focus on young people who are homeless. This makes it a main priority for St. Gregory’s Foundation to bridge this gap and reduce the risk of teenagers becoming incarcerated and lost in the prison system.

This organization provides skills and knowledge to local communities to enhance social welfare projects. It creates opportunities for vulnerable individuals to improve their circumstances. Workers support disabled children and teenagers who struggle with traditional methods of communication to become confident members of society and embrace independence.

The foundation also offers education and life-skills training to those leaving care from orphanages to support them in setting up a sustainable lifestyle. Since its beginning, more than 400 children and teenagers in Georgia have benefitted from the organization’s rehabilitation services.

SOS Children’s Villages

This organization focuses its resources on those without parental care or those at risk of losing it so they may grow up with suitable socialization. It does not matter the culture, heritage, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability of the child or young adult; the initiative will support the person in establishing trust and nurturing a sense of belonging in their community.

Its mission is adapted to fit the socioeconomic circumstances of Tbilisi. SOS Children’s Villages have worked in Tbilisi since 1996, offering support to families and advocating for the improvement of human rights. It collaborates with displaced people who have experienced poverty and social exclusion. The organization has supported almost 500 people and offered educational workshops regarding parenting classes and children’s rights.

Human Rights House Foundation

Established in 2010, this foundation united five separate organizations to form a social support pillar. These organizations focus on promoting Georgians’ human rights by developing a strategy to protect and strengthen awareness of human rights issues and violations.

Its organizations include the Human Rights Centre and the Media Institute. The former was initially founded in 1996 to protect freedom in Georgia. The Media Institute was established in 2011. It’s goal was to promote and guarantee freedom of speech and expression to prosper the development of impartial media reporting in Georgia.

Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger’s projects throughout Georgia offer locals resources to support their businesses and startups. The organization aims to improve access to food supplies. They provide citizens with training in agriculture and the equipment needed to farm their own crops. As part of this organization, field schools and agricultural centers are set up in the countryside to teach citizens efficient ways of farming. In 2019, the organization offered services to 8,667 individuals through its programs.

Final Remark

Although the World Bank has shown that poverty has declined in Georgia, more than 10% of the population continues to live below the national poverty line, with most of these citizens living in the more rural areas of the country. Nonetheless, Georgia’s economy expanded in February of this year due to the progression of sectors such as construction and manufacturing.

However, despite the general progression of the job market, issues remain. There is an outstandingly low percentage of Georgian citizens (16.4%) unemployed, compared to the 20.6% recorded in 2021. However, there is concern about the quality of jobs offered to Georgian citizens.

It is clear that these charities are working hard to better the lives of the citizens of Georgia. However, for Georgia’s economy to thrive as a small country, social care on a larger scale than local authorities can provide is necessary to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

– Brogan Dickson

Brogan is based in Scotland and focuses on Good News for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Pexels

Poverty Reduction in LibyaSince the 2011 Arab Spring and the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been tentatively working towards stability for its citizens. In the instability, Libyans have been struggling to gain access to basic needs such as health care and food. Ten years after the liberation, “of the country’s 6.7 million inhabitants, 460,000 people needed protection and 1.1 million people did not have access to health services.” The country has faced natural disasters, wars and continued political instability which means that entire communities find themselves at risk of or in poverty. Of these people, those most at risk include children, women and migrants. However, within recent years, with the hope of calming political hostility and increased interaction with foreign aid, Libya is reporting new wins in the poverty reduction.

Storm Daniel

In September 2023, Storm Daniel hit the eastern part of Libya and wreaked tragedy on the already suffering country. Two major dams failed and millions of cubic meters of water flooded the city of Derna, affecting 1.6 million people. It was hoped that in the wake of this, international aid would be incentivized and poverty reduction in Libya would be catalyzed. In turn, fixing not just the effects of Storm Daniel, but years of poverty due to institutional neglect and division.

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) recognized the urgency of the situation and quickly delegated 1 million CHF to target 253,000 through the Disaster Response Emergency Fund. This allowed Premiere Urgence Internationale to work with the Libyan Red Cross to lead evacuation missions and provide medical care and emergency shelter.

The Need for Long-Term Aid

Whilst short-term aid has helped the most at-risk poverty cases that the destruction of natural disasters created, Storm David has shed light on the need for long-term impactful aid to end years of institutionalized poverty.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has highlighted that there are “many opportunities for national and international stakeholders to work in partnership to overcome the impediments on Libya’s path to inclusive, sustainable and peaceful development.” Libya has a huge potential for economic growth. It has “not only the largest proven oil reserves in Africa” but supreme conditions for renewables and raw materials also in plentiful supply.

To guarantee a reduction in corruption and successful delivery of funds to poverty reduction schemes in Libya, the international community needs to help promote sustained political security. In 2024, a coalition with Tunisia and Algeria has done just this as it is aimed at furthering “security, stability and development throughout the region.” Post Storm Daniel, this reflects attempts from Libya to secure stability both internationally and regionally.

International Aid for Long-Term Poverty Relief

In 2022, the EU committed funds with the overarching aim of improving and creating resilient health outcomes in the Libyan population, particularly among those most at risk or vulnerable. The action takes into account the sensitive context in which Libya’s citizens are suffering within the health care sector through a twin-track approach. At a local level, interventions will cater to marginalized populations that require primary healthcare services. At a national level, the second of the twin-track approaches will strengthen national-level institutions to enable better governance and stewardship. Therefore, the EU has highlighted a need to focus on structural support as well as initiatives that directly affect health within Libyan communities.

In the long term, Libya joined Universal Health Coverage 2030 (UHC2030) in 2018. The UHC aims to build stronger health systems and allows international collaboration to create this. Libya’s commitment to the organization reflects the country’s ongoing attempt to improve the living standard of its citizens by making international-level commitments.

School Meals

The government has been collaborating with other organizations as it recognizes the requirement of external aid to carry out poverty reduction in Libya. In 2022, the Libyan Ministry for Education worked with the WFP and the Central Kitchen to help secure breakfast and lunch options for 7,000 students. Most excitingly, the government stated that they “hope to implement this project in other parts of the country so that more children have access to education and nutritious food.”

Since this point, the Minister for Education states it has elevated the number of students receiving school meals to 50,000 with the hope of aiding 2.1 million by 2026, with an aspiration to expand this program to all Libyan schools across all cities by 2030. Moreover, to strengthen national food systems, in March, WFP launched the new Country Strategic Plan for March 2023 – December 2025. The plans are to provide general food assistance, livelihood support, capacity strengthening, school feeding and on-demand services across all of Libya.

The Future

It is undeniable that a history of political insecurity and war met with natural disasters, has created systemic inequality and poverty in Libya. But these challenges have been met with domestic and international efforts, especially since Storm David. The World Bank has highlighted that Libya’s rich capacity of resources should not be overlooked as a source of recovery and financial leverage in the future. Poverty reduction in Libya is occurring through increased international engagement, recognizing the importance of allegiances and funding, and a rejuvenated recognition of its civilian needs.

– Kathryn Dodd

Kathryn is based in Toulouse, France and focuses on Technology for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Pixabay

How ChildFund Supports Impoverished Korean ChildrenChildFund’s support for impoverished Korean children aims to address the broader socio-economic challenges faced by a country that has undergone dramatic transformations. South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, is situated in East Asia with its capital in Seoul and a population of approximately 51.53 million. In the early 1960s, following the Japanese occupation and the Korean War, South Korea was one of the world’s poorest countries with a GDP per capita below $100. Since then, South Korea’s economy, once primarily dependent on agriculture, has experienced significant growth.

By 2022, South Korea’s GDP per capita soared to $32,423, substantially higher than the international average of $12,703. Although South Korea ranks as the 13th largest economy globally and is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), challenges such as child poverty persist. This highlights the importance of ChildFund’s efforts to support and uplift the lives of impoverished children, ensuring that economic advancements reach all segments of society, particularly the vulnerable youth.

Children’s Well-being and Poverty in South Korea

In its studies on child well-being, the OECD discovered that 7.1% of South Korean children are at risk of relative income poverty, which is below the OECD average of 13.4%. However, a national survey using the Child Deprivation Index revealed that about 10% of South Korean children lived in poverty in 2018. This statistic suggests that official poverty rates for Korean children, typically based solely on household income, may lack broader context and thus report a lower figure of about 5%.

ChildFund Korea’s Domestic Efforts

ChildFund, established in 1938, works globally to improve the living conditions of impoverished children. Its Korean branch has been active since 1948, focusing on preserving children’s rights through various projects centered on survival, protection, development and participation. In South Korea, ChildFund aids impoverished children by providing essential childcare, covering living expenses and offering medical support. The organization supports low-income families by providing daycare services for immigrant parents and covering essentials such as diapers and groceries. For protection rights, the organization operates Green Umbrella Shelters, which offer a safe space for children facing physical and emotional abuse, providing access to counseling and medical care.

ChildFund provides social welfare centers across South Korea that help communities’ adults and elders protect children. Addressing the right to development, the organization funds educational needs for impoverished Korean children, including textbooks, school uniforms, music lessons and sports coaching. ChildFund Korea also promotes children’s right to participate by involving them in research groups and roundtable discussions, amplifying their perspectives on children’s rights.

ChildFund’s International Outreach

The organization extends its efforts beyond South Korea, assisting children in developing countries, low-and-middle-income nations and impoverished Korean children residing in North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, providing childcare, emergency relief and medical support. Besides direct aid, ChildFund Korea also advocates for children’s rights legislation, aiming to improve the lives of impoverished Korean children both within South Korea and globally.

Looking Ahead

ChildFund Korea’s commitment to nurturing the well-being of impoverished children is poised to generate substantial improvements in their lives and communities. By continuing to expand its educational and health care initiatives, the organization aims to empower the next generation of South Koreans. These ongoing efforts, coupled with the ongoing advocacy for children’s rights, are crucial for building a more equitable and prosperous society.

– Estelle Lee

Estelle is based in Seattle, WA, USA and focuses on Good News for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr