Foreign AidThe September 11 terrorist attack resulted in the construction of development response, the act of aiding and developing an impoverished area. The goal of this strategy is to help combat terrorism. Impoverished areas produce a vulnerable environment ideal for extremist group recruitment. The presence of foreign aid in poverty-filled areas reduces the susceptibility of men and women reaching out to extremist groups for a sense of stability.

Social marginalization and poorly governed areas increase the appeal of an extremist group. Social marginalization, the feeling of being oppressed or excluded from society, creates a need for acceptance. The absence of security may lead to residents looking for an opportunity to escape oppression or economic despair. These conditions produce breeding grounds for the recruitment of terrorists. Extremist groups symbolize a promise of social status, respect, necessary services and a sense of belonging.

Yemen and Somalia are prime examples of terrorist breeding grounds. In Yemen, about 35 percent of the population is undernourished and 55 percent lack food security due to soaring food prices. Merely 2 percent of Yemen’s gross domestic product is spent on healthcare. Unemployment has increased to 35 percent and the Sunni-Shia civil clash has heightened the terrorist capacity.

Somalia, similarly to Yemen, is lacking a central government. The war zone environment has provided a safety net for those hiding from the law, giving terrorists the ability to move freely. About 73 percent of the population lives on about $2 a day. The promise of profit from extremist groups feeds the embrace of terrorist membership. Recruiters use the incentives of food, profit and even a sign-up bonus to gain members.

These nations portray the hardships developing nations face when countering extremism. They are not equipped to stop the targeting of terrorist groups. Economic security and efforts to decrease marginalization would provide a preventive measure for global threats.

In the “Assisting International Partners to Counter Violent Extremism” report, the U.S. Department of State and USAID outline objectives for counterterrorism. These objectives include engaging in partnerships, encouraging policy and employing foreign assistance tools. The recognition that youths are more inclined to embrace extremism led to the production of institutions focusing on employing youths and preventing them from joining extremist groups.

The report details that foreign aid would be spent on building institutions and strengthening impoverished nations’ international partnership. The strategic vision behind foreign aid proves that aid is more than a loan to combat poverty. The objectives can be viewed as a tactic within the grand strategy of foreign aid.

Foreign aid provides a weapon to combat counterterrorism. This strategy provides a cheaper long-term tactic that targets one of the causes for breeding ground conditions. It serves as a preventive measure and a source of international security.

The potential foreign aid budget cuts could put American national security in jeopardy. Foreign aid serves as an investment to prevent vulnerable conditions for terrorist recruitment as well as managing the likelihood of a global threat. Developmental aid is not only a valuable tool to counter poverty, but is an effective counterterrorism strategy.

Shauna Triplett

Photo: Flickr

Education in Norway

Ranked twenty-first on the list of leading education systems in performance, graduation rates, and funding, Norway is among the many countries in Northern Europe that places education as a priority for all youth regardless of their financial or ethnic background. In 2016, Norway provided higher education to more than 200,000 students, more than tripling the student count from 2010. Education in Norway is highly valued, however, student drop-out rates are a continuing issue.

Education in Norway is implemented in three parts: primary school, lower secondary school and upper secondary school, the first two of which are mandatory to complete. Students must go to school between the ages of six and 16, but after graduation from lower secondary school, students are given the option to either pursue upper secondary school or discontinue education to enter the job market. Upper secondary school is a three-year program that incorporates either general or vocational studies.
As of 2015, the completion rate of the 64,000 students enrolled in upper secondary school starting in 2010 was 59 percent. Norwegian schools are tuition-free, and Norway continually supports equality in education. So the question is: why do students drop out of upper secondary education?

The answer to this question may have little to do with Norway’s philosophy on education. In fact, it could lie in the background of each student. One major factor influencing the decision to finish schooling is grade point average in lower secondary school. If a student is presented with poorer grades in early education, their likelihood of receiving good grades or seeing their higher education through is low. While 59 percent of the student population in 2015 graduated within the given time span of their schooling, 7 percent failed final exams and 15 percent dropped out before or during their final year.

Obtaining a quality lower secondary education in Norway is an essential factor to the success in upper secondary school. Since lower secondary school occurs during the development ages of 10 to 16, it is imperative for teachers to provide students with engaging and effective curriculum specifically tailored to that age group. The focus is on basic knowledge concepts, such as reading and math, then upper secondary school is a more advanced approach that offers career-specific courses, like business or nursing.

New ideas like the Transition Project focus on low-performing students in lower secondary school to increase their reading, writing and numeracy competencies. This project provides students with follow-up workshops, homework assistance and surveys for teachers to complete and keep track of their lower-scoring students.

Reforms like the Transition Project provide students and teachers alike with cohesive learning. Teachers are able to lecture with more clarity and students are able to grasp the curriculum with more ease. Those students needing more assistance have outlets to spend more time on specific concepts. As a result, students are less likely to fall behind in their classes and will gain a better overall understanding of the curriculum based on the increase in involvement and participation with their teachers.

With an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for students with education below upper secondary school and only 3.4 percent for students with upper secondary education, it is vital to emphasize the importance of finishing school. Norway has seen the underlying problem, and its efforts in decreasing dropout rates in upper secondary school are just beginning.

Brianna Summ

Photo: Flickr

Medical TourismTourism has been around for many years, in the past it was mainly used for research purposes for young scholars, but over time it has evolved to become its own individual industry. Medical tourism is an arising type of tourism whereby a tourist leaves their home country to receive medical attention in another. Countries visited through medical tourism are usually less developed countries, and the effects of medical tourism have been beneficial to both sides.

According to Orbis Research, in 2016 the global medical tourism market was worth $19.7 billion, and by 2021 it could reach $46.6 billion. In fact, for some developing countries, medical tourism is one of the biggest industries. India, for example is renowned for its success in the medical tourism space; in 2002 alone, the industry earned at least $2 billion in revenue for the country, and this number has gradually grown.

The effects of medical tourism have proven beneficial to less developed nations. According to a study on Thailand, “most developing country governments see medical tourism as an opportunity to generate more national income”.

Medical tourism has become a common method of seeking out cheaper medical treatment for individuals in developed countries. According to the study, “Medical Tourism: A Look at How Medical Outsourcing Can Reshape Health Care,” the examination of Howard Staab’s case in 2004 illustrates the benefits for medical tourists. In Staab’s case, the patient needed a mitral heart valve replacement surgery that had to be done within a year.

The original cost for the operation was $200,000. Staab could not negotiate with the hospital nor the insurance within the one-year policy, therefore Staab decided to travel to India for the surgery. There, the surgery came to cost $6,700 and Staab was able to save approximately $193,300. Since 2004, medical tourism has become even more cost-efficient.

Medical tourism has also become a platform for individuals from one LDC to out seek medical care from another LDC. It has become an interaction between parties, both of whom are from developing countries, for example, Afghan patients who commonly travel to India for medical treatment. The interaction between individuals from different LDCs allows for the connection of different cultures and paves a way for building an interconnected network among the LDCs.

A growing globalized network among LDCs could prove very useful in providing LDCs access to patrons working towards improving quality of life through medical care. The effects of medical tourism are to allow them to utilize resources surrounding them and depend less on foreign aid, and focus more on not only improving quality of life but also the economy of their countries.

Carla Salas

Photo: Flickr

Luxembourg is a small, prosperous country in western Europe. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Luxembourg has made great strides in continuing to achieve and secure basic human rights in Luxembourg for their citizens.

As of 2017, the government of Luxembourg has met the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department, “These achievements included increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions, finalizing and adopting a written national referral mechanism, enhancing the number of dedicated personnel to anti-trafficking positions” and others.

There were reported occasional cases of discrimination throughout the country over the last decade, specifically discrimination with respect to employment on the basis of race, color, political opinion, sex, gender, disability and other categories. Luxembourg law requires quotas for hiring diverse types of employees. It also mandates equal pay for equal work.

In September 2014, in reaction to reporting that employers paid women 8.6 percent less on average than men for the same work, the Ministry of Equal Opportunities began an awareness campaign using newspapers, online advertisements and posters in order to end the unequal treatment of women in the workplace.

On a more controversial note, Luxembourg legalized euthanasia in 2009, making it the third country in Europe to legalize euthanasia. The law on palliative care, advance instructions and end-of-life accompaniment “applied to anyone in a hopeless medical situation as a result of an accident or serious illness.” Many human rights advocacy groups, such as the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach, have spoken out against the practice.

The Human Rights Council will be reviewing human rights in Luxembourg early next year to determine whether they are fulfilling their human rights commitments. But it is safe to say that with a stable government and human rights laws that are routinely enforced, human rights will continue to be respected in Luxembourg.

Melanie Snyder

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in South Korea
While in many poor countries poverty disproportionately affects the young, the opposite is true for South Korea. After the Korean war of the 1950s, South Korea saw a period of extreme poverty, followed by a fifty-year rise to economic power. And while this rise was good news for most of the country, it also meant that the bulk of all poverty in South Korea was pushed onto its elderly population, with nearly half of all citizens over the age of 65 living in poverty.

One reason for this has been what many people have called South Korea’s cut-throat nature. Known for its ruthless competition over test scores and prestigious jobs, South Korea’s population has accumulated wealth at such a fast pace that social mores have struggled to keep up with the pace of change. In much of Asia, it has long been a tradition to honor and care for elderly relatives as part of a Confucian social contract. However, as the country’s young population has migrated to cities, away from the family unit, expectations have drastically changed. In just the past fifteen years, the percentage of young South Koreans who believe they should care for their parents has plummeted from 90 percent to 37 percent.

In the absence of this social expectation, there exists little to no government program to take its place. South Korea was ranked second-to-last in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of spending on welfare for the elderly. Only a third of the elderly population receives a pension, and the pension itself makes for a threadbare living at best. Many people do not even attempt to receive the government pension out of embarrassment, since, to be eligible, an applicant has to prove that his or her children are unwilling or incapable of providing support.

Elderly and Poverty in South Korea

In 2012, South Korea enacted an ill-conceived way to improve the situation, called the “National Happiness Pension,” which only slightly raised pensions, and only for the poorest 70 percent of seniors. Addressing elderly poverty is, sadly, still not a first priority for the South Korean government, which has widespread unemployment and a tumultuous relationship with North Korea to contend with.

Since 2012, however, young South Koreans have begun to recognize the need for action. The Korea Legacy Committee, begun by Mike Kim, an entrepreneur in Seoul and the director of Asia-Pacific partnerships at Google, is dedicated to addressing this issue. Consisting of Kim and eight other Korean entrepreneurs, all working in different fields, the Korea Legacy Committee is tasked with solving this crisis of poverty, first and foremost by raising awareness of the issue. Since 2015, the KLC has held monthly events for their volunteers to interact with elderly pensioners from the Seoul Senior Welfare Center, and quarterly fundraisers, the money from which goes to the senior center’s meal program. So far, the organization has raised more than $20,000.

While South Korea’s elderly population still suffers from poverty and neglect, the rest of the population is slowly coming to terms with the depth of this issue and is finding ways to help. This will be the first step in solving this crisis. Though the end to poverty in South Korea is within sight, there is still a long way to go.

Audrey Palzkill

Poverty Rate in South KoreaThe poverty rate in South Korea not only decreased in the past few decades, but it now also continues to decline. When examining the poverty rate in the country, however, there seems to be one apparent issue: the poverty rate among people who are 34 years old or younger and people who are 65 years old and older have both increased.

Comparing the two, the poverty rate among people aged over 65 is significantly higher than people below the age of 34 — 64 percent compared to 12 — and therefore a greater cause for concern for the country.

These numbers directly contrast the overall movement of the poverty rate in South Korea. Among people aged from 35 to 50 years old, the poverty rate hovers around six percent and the rate among 50 to 65 years old stays at approximately 12 percent. Seeing as the poverty rate in South Korea tends to dramatically vary based on age range, it begs the question as to what is causing such wealth disparity between the different age groups in South Korea.

The answer to such a question can primarily be attributed to two main factors: increased competition in the work force and age discrimination among employers.

As the population of South Korea continues to grow, so too does the competition for jobs. Many young South Koreans seek employment opportunities in a competitive marketplace that only becomes more competitive over time.

In combination with the slowing of the world economy, this can have devastating effects on the young as the rate of competition for jobs slowly continues to increase while the number of jobs available paradoxically decreases. This explains the youth unemployment rate in South Korea, which rose to approximately eight percent at the end of 2016.

Another major issue is the inability for people aged 65 and older to generate income. This occurs because many elderly citizens are forced out of the workplace and then do not receive enough government subsidies to survive. It is typical for companies to force employees who are in their mid-fifties into retirement with the interest of bringing in younger, “fresher” workers.

To further exacerbate this issue, the public pension system in South Korea was only established in 1988 and leaves many people who retired in the mid-2000s with little to no retirement. It is the combination of these two issues that has been significantly contributing to the increasing poverty rate in South Korea.

In order to lower the poverty rate, it may become essential that South Korea prioritizes making its public pension system more efficient so as to provide more people with funds after retirement. Without such correction, it may become impossible for elderly people in South Korea to sustain a healthy lifestyle once consistent sources of income cease.

Garrett Keyes

Photo: Flickr

The World Is Changing Its Mindset Toward PovertyThe world is changing its mindset toward poverty and realizing that poverty is not a permanent problem. Generating solutions to make poverty preventable, including providing technological tools for success, growing a population’s knowledge with education and creating innovative methods for environmental sustainability create and maintain productive and growing countries.

The technological revolution, education for sustainable development and green growth are three methods the world uses to reduce poverty and build global development and ensure efficiency.

  1. The Technological Revolution
    The goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 is possible with improved technology that speeds progress and collects improved data. The World Bank currently uses technology to increase data collectors’ abilities to track poverty reduction progress and citizens’ well-being. The Pulse of South Sudan initiative uses tablet-based data collection to survey households and record personalized testimonials, and the Listening to Africa (L2A) initiative uses mobile phones to collect up-to-date information on living conditions with face-to-face surveys and followup mobile phone interviews. Technology such as cellphones and tablets streamline the process and is cost-efficient when reaching out to a broad sample or responding to crises.
  2. Education for Sustainable Development
    Education is crucial for global growth and progress, and it has spurred a knowledge-based movement for poverty reduction. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, education must “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all,” including the world’s poor. According to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report released this past June, 264.3 million children are out of school. About 62 million are adolescents of lower secondary school age (12 to 14). About 141 million are of upper secondary school age (15 to 17). The out-of-school rate has not decreased since 2008 at the primary level, since 2012 at the lower secondary level or since 2013 at the upper secondary level. While out-of-school rates have frozen, the world is changing its mindset toward poverty by acknowledging that education is a tool to end extreme poverty. By creating knowledge-based societies and using education as a tool, countries improve not only individual livelihoods and futures but their own economic mobility.
  3. Green Growth
    Creating sustainable, green growth not only creates economic development but addresses poverty and creates shared prosperity.Since the poor live in areas with few resources, such challenges can undermine a country’s ability to sustain economic growth and eradicate poverty. Policies that not only prioritize natural resources and environmental sustainability but also address poverty are crucial to economic development. According to Inhee Chung, senior sustainability and safeguards specialist at the Global Growth Institute, “Green growth can only lead to transformative and sustainable change if it is pro-poor and delivers benefits to the most marginalized and vulnerable social groups.”

The world is changing its mindset toward poverty by working to enhance policies that support the poor and create sustainable growth, as well as empower poor men and women and make green options accessible.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Pixabay

Causes of Poverty in AustraliaThere are many causes of poverty in Australia. It has been almost 30 years since then Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, said, “No child will be living in poverty by 1990.” However, poverty in this country has not decreased despite recent economic growth.

Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) called it a “national shame.” Despite 25 years of continued economic growth, the poverty rate has not budged. The percentage of people living in poverty rose from 12 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2014. Moreover, Australia has the second-highest rate of workers employed in insecure work – a total of 40 percent. Children are the worst-affected by poverty in Australia; 17 percent of children live below the poverty line. The percentage of children living in poverty is especially high for single-parent families. The number rose from 37 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2014.

What are the causes of poverty in Australia? Some activists blame the growing wage gap in the country. Australia’s wealthiest 10 percent own 45 percent of the capital in the country, and the gap is only widening. The wealth of the top 20 percent has increased by 28 percent between 2012 and 2014. Meanwhile, the bottom 20 percent have experienced a wealth increase of only three percent. The average wage increased by 50 percent between 1985 and 2010. Meanwhile, the poorest 10 percent experienced only a 14 percent wage increase.

Another reason that is suggested as a cause of poverty in Australia is the cuts to welfare payments and housing. Goldie claims that budget cuts to welfare payments directly affect the ability of the impoverished to gain employment. Public housing is also not widespread enough. There are more than 150,000 applicants waiting to find available space in public housing.

The decline of unions is also suggested as one of the causes of poverty in Australia. Unions help drive up wages and economic equality. However, lately, union membership has decreased. This means that ordinary workers get less political power.

Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, needs to focus more energy on addressing poverty. This means increasing shelter for the homeless, encouraging union membership and driving up the minimum wage. There are many causes of poverty in Australia, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be addressed in order to begin seeing improvement.

Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax

Photo: Google

Human Rights in IrelandIreland, a small country located just west of the United Kingdom, is known for its scenic landscapes and welcoming pubs.

In recent years, human rights in Ireland have fallen under scrutiny.

According to an article from the Irish Times, Ireland agreed to be a part of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1989, which is concerned with a range of human rights from employment rights to the right to food and water. Since entering this agreement, Ireland has been monitored by the UN.

Concerns arose with respect to Ireland following this agreement in 1999 and 2002, after the UN committee reviewed two reports. The country was found to be lacking in areas of anti-poverty, rights for persons with disabilities, provision of healthcare and more.

The UN committee later examined similar human rights issues in December 2014, focusing on the ill treatment of persons with disabilities in residential care, low minimum wage, failure of the State to recognize traveler ethnicity and affordable and quality water supply. It had been over a decade since the UN committee last reviewed Ireland’s economic, social and cultural rights, according to the Irish Times article.

Another prominent human rights issue in Ireland is abortion. According to a report from Human Rights in Ireland, abortion is only legal there when the mother’s life is in danger. This, the report says, makes Ireland’s policies on abortion some of the strictest in the world.

Last month, the Committee Against Torture turned toward Ireland’s lack of progress in respect to their laws on abortion. This organization has said that prior to any adjustments of its abortion laws, Ireland must explain its human rights obligations to its residents. According to Human Rights in Ireland, four other major international human rights committees have criticized the Irish framework in the past as well.

While issues of human rights in Ireland have fallen under scrutiny in recent years, global organizations are at work to improve conditions for the country’s residents.

Leah Potter

Photo: Google

Human Rights in IcelandIceland is a Nordic nation with a population slightly over 300,000 people. Despite its small size, Iceland stands out among other nations in a variety of ways. Geographically, the nation is known for its beautiful sights including volcanoes and hot springs. Economically, the nation boasts an impressive statistics, such as its four percent unemployment rate. Human rights in Iceland are protected fairly well, but certain aspects could be improved.

The United States Department of State’s 2015 Human Rights Report on Iceland concluded that the nation’s biggest failures in this context were to protect women and children from violence. These issues tended to stem from the criminal justice system. For instance, pretrial detainees were forced to share a cell with convicted prisoners, while juveniles were forced to share a cell with adults.

Unfortunately, the report found issues existing beyond the criminal justice system. Discrepancies in access to health care for certain individuals was noticeable. Researchers also found discrimination against people with disabilities in regard to employment and access to public locations. This report clearly demonstrates that Iceland must take measures so that human rights truly include everyone.

However, these few failures do not represent the entire situation in Iceland. In fact, the vast majority of human rights in Iceland are well protected. Freedom of speech and the press are protected by the constitution and the law in Iceland. The law is able to fine and/or imprison anyone who blocks people from this right.

Another area of success is Iceland’s protection of workers’ rights. The government effectively enforces laws that defend workers’ rights to form or join a union. Iceland also uses its laws to protect children from unhealthy work conditions. These laws are effectively enforced, and as a result, there are no known cases of child labor.

Iceland took a step forward in protecting the human rights of women this March by becoming the world’s first country to mandate that businesses demonstrate that they offer equal pay to employees regardless of their gender. This law affects all businesses, public and private, that employ over 25 people.

Human rights in Iceland are not perfectly protected. However, steps such as demanding equal pay for employees regardless of their gender shows that progress is being made.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr