Encompass Reaching the Philippines
Many people know about large aid organizations like the World Food Programme, Oxfam and HOPE International. Often, young non-governmental organizations (NGOs) fly under the radar while still fostering social and economic growth. Encompass: Reaching the Philippines established in 2019. This young NGO has started several projects aimed at reducing food insecurity and improving opportunities.

Poverty in the Philippines is almost overwhelming, and certainly so by U.S. standards. The Asian Development Bank believes that roughly a sixth of the population lived below the national poverty line in 2018, while 2.9% of Filipinos lived below the international poverty line of $1.90. Poverty directly impacts food security. About 13% of the people are undernourished, with stunting affecting around 30% of young children.

Several organizations are helping the Philippines reduce food insecurity in various ways. Encompass: Reaching the Philippines is taking a sustainable approach to building economic and food resilience. Dr. Paul Helton, associate professor of Psychology at Freed-Hardeman University, started Encompass in 2019 after several trips to the country. This faith-based organization has funded several community start-ups and social development projects.

The Need for Engagement

The Philippines has a long history with the United States. Since 1946, the U.S. has aided in the development of economic growth, education, infrastructure, environmental protection, health and government in the Philippines. In 2018, the U.S. invested $275 million in aid to the Philippines. As a result, the U.S. and the Philippines maintain an important partnership in development, trade and security.

The Helton family similarly has a history with the Philippines. Helton lived there for two years as a child and has traveled back to the country several times throughout his life. After one recent trip, he noted the need for engagement. We “have to do more than wait for them to ask us” for help, he told The Borgen Project. The Filipino people “can be in dire need and still not ask you,” since their culture frowns on asking for outside assistance. He said this creates a cycle of harm, where their economic positions and health decline, and yet they refrain from asking for help.

Help from Encompass: Reaching the Philippines

In light of this, Helton founded Encompass: Reaching the Philippines to find and meet community needs. It currently operates a feeding program for children in two locations, feeding about 60 kids weekly. Helton has also helped out individual families with food, dental and medical supplies, including a full-body wheelchair for a 21-year-old suffering from cerebral palsy. His family can now take him to the beach or to church without difficulty.

Encompass also helped a family of four with the capital costs of starting a pig farm. Helton informed The Borgen Project of the success of the pig farm. Despite a virus killing a few of the animals, about a year after its inception the operation is almost self-sufficient. COVID-19 delayed its self-sufficiency, but Helton is confident it will meet that goal in the near future. This farm, he said, would provide revenue to the family and the community at large. Interestingly, manure is the farm’s most lucrative product, as locals buy it for fertilizer.

The Emotional Impact of Poverty

Commenting on the emotional impacts of poverty, Helton told the story of a family trying to send their daughters to college. As college loans are not readily available and the several hundred dollar tuition was not something the family could front at once, they turned to a loan shark. After their oldest daughter graduated, she took a teaching job in Hong Kong and contributed to her sister’s college fund, as the family eked out loan payments. Helton said existence in the Philippines, for many, is a day-to-day endeavor.

Future Plans for Encompass

Encompass has plans to further its support to families and communities. Some of its funding went to buy a piece of property, on which the locals constructed a community center and may eventually build a church. The organization is looking at assisting an aquaponics startup as well.

Again noting Filipino culture, Helton said that he founded Encompass: Reaching the Philippines not because the Filipino people asked, but because some people in the U.S. noticed the need for a “proactive organization” in the country. Its efforts have certainly been proactive and will undoubtedly continue to make small-scale, definitive progress.

– Jonathan Helton
Photo: Flickr

Empowering Women in India Through SewingOver the last decade, empowering women in poor communities has become a focal point in India. That is because about 50.7 million people live in extreme poverty in India, yet, as of 2019, only 20.7% of women in India are part of the labor force. Moreover, the country has recently seen a drop in its GDP from 6.1% to 5% and is attempting to recover from its uncertain economy. As a result, one solution that many nonprofit organizations and the government have recognized is investing in the population that is living under the poverty line. Specifically, many groups are empowering women in India through sewing.

Today, being able to sew can be an acclaimed vocational skill. Over the past decade or so, embroidery has become an empowering tool for women in India, and a traditional craft. With this understanding, nonprofits have implemented many initiatives in India to empower women and help their families out of poverty.

Sewing the Seeds & Samugam Trust

Sewing the Seeds is a nonprofit organization that partnered with the NGO Samugam Trust to begin a women’s sewing initiative. The plan supports women in impoverished communities by creating economic stability using creativity and the traditional craft of stitching. Bruno Savio and Gayle created Sewing the Seeds to use sewing to empower women in India living in poverty.

Savio’s father opened the Samugam Trust in 1991 to support the educational training of the underprivileged, the rehabilitation of leprosy patients and those who are physically challenged. Bruno Savio has continued his father’s legacy as director of Samugam and partner of Sewing the Seeds. Gayle backpacked across India about 40 years ago. During her journey, she saw an opportunity to empower women in the country through vocational training.

Savio and Gayle recognized that more than 50% of women in India are illiterate, and only 29% of women in India are actively employed. Additionally, those who are employed are paid 46% less than men holding the same positions. Sewing the Seeds and Samugam Trust realize that investing in women is smart economics and essential to reducing poverty. With this in mind, the initiative provides the training, financial assistance, materials and communal space to empower women while preserving local craft traditions.

Samugam Trust has supported the initiative since 2011, with the first collection of products introduced online in 2018. Sewing the Seeds and Samugam Trust have supplied training and machines for 130 women. The importance of this initiative is to empower women in India in a way that is holistic and long term in its support.

Shakti.ism

Shakti.ism also supported empowering women in India through sewing by launching a sustainable livelihood project. The starting goal is to reach out to 10 tribal and disabled Indian women to provide vocational training. To successfully supply these resources Shakti.ism is partnering with Samugam Trust and Sewing the Seeds to empower impoverished women. Recently, they chose 10 women from diverse backgrounds including disabled mothers.

Shakti.ism continuously raises money to cover instruction fees, supplies, daily stipends for trainees and administrative costs such as quality control. Most products are crafted from repurposed saris (a traditional Indian woman’s dress) and are to be sold online. Shakti.ism is empowering women in India as a way to support families living in underprivileged rural areas of India, as well as decrease the wage disparity while increasing the trainees’ self-confidence and skills.

Usha Silai School

Included in the community-based initiative is Usha Silai (sewing) School. This initiative has reportedly set up over 15,000 sewing schools across India with the support of the Digital Empowerment Foundation NGO and Sikana. To further their reach and enhance their programs, Usha and Sikana co-created a video program to train illiterate women. The enhanced program has increased the initiative’s outreach while providing skills to gain a livelihood to women in rural India.

The Digital Empowerment Foundation supplies technological information for rural citizens to use to their advantage. For example, they supply internet-dependent tools that can provide access to training and create socioeconomic equality. Specifically, they provide internet and digital tools in rural community centers that partner with Usha Silai School.

Community-based initiatives that provide sewing empowerment for women in poverty have been essential for the growth of rural India. Sewing has become a highly desired vocational skill and is a powerful tool for those living in poverty. Recognizing the long term impact of vocational training, NGOs provide this solution-based approach across India to bring self-confidence and skills to women.

– Sumeet Waraich
Photo: Flickr

Living Conditions in Myanmar
The term “living conditions” encompasses all the major necessities in life, shelter, food, safety, water and electricity. In recent years, living conditions in Myanmar have vastly improved, as shown through formal statistics and public opinion. For instance, public electricity in the nation has increased by 8% between 2015 and 2017 while connectivity also increased, with 82% of households owning phones. Public opinion polls of citizens reflect these positive statistics. Specifically, 91% of Myanmar residents believe when today’s children grow up, they will have a better standard of living than themselves. Many major organizations, including those discussed below, have helped to create such great strides.

3 Organizations Improving Living Conditions in Myanmar

  1. CARE: CARE is a worldwide organization working towards ending poverty while focusing on social justice. The organization emphasizes gender equality, with over 55% of its efforts focused on assisting women and girls. As of 2019, CARE and CARE’s partners have helped 130 million people in 100 nations through its programs. CARE has been assisting those in need in Myanmar since 1995. Currently, it is focusing on improving living conditions for Myanmar’s women and girls. Many long-term plans have been developed for the nation, such as the Rural Long-Term Program 2013-2028 and the Urban Long-Term Program 2013-2028. Both of these plans focus on protecting women from humanitarian emergencies and increasing their economic opportunities.
  2. Action Against Hunger: Action Against Hunger takes a different approach to improve living conditions around the world. It is an organization concentrated on ensuring food security and access to water. Internationally, Action Against Hunger has aided 21 million people in 2018 alone. Another focus of the organization is fighting child malnutrition by assisting in emergency food and water aid. Action Against Hunger has been bettering living conditions in Myanmar since 1994 through its numerous programs. One of its major programs works to expand safe access to water by fixing water infrastructure and making wells. Additionally, after providing access to water, the organization guarantees long-term access through training and creating groups of community members to manage their water. These Action Against Hunger programs have an expansive reach throughout Myanmar and have made a lasting change in many lives. In 2018 alone, its water, sanitation and hygiene programs reached 19,460 people and food security programs reached 23,790 people in Myanmar.
  3. Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity improves lives worldwide by creating adequate and affordable shelters for impoverished people and disaster victims. In 2019, the organization improved the lives and houses of 7 million people while also training another 2.3 million people. Since its establishment in 1976, it has helped over 29 million people worldwide. The organization has been working to better living conditions in Myanmar since 2008. It began its work in the nation after a  cyclone destroyed many homes. The organization partnered with World Concern to restore 1,700 homes in the most heavily impacted region of Myanmar. On top of rebuilding houses, Habitat for Humanity successfully assisted over 950 Myanmarese families in gaining access to clean water and health centers. Currently, the organization continues to assist families across Myanmar.

As shown through these three organizations, there are many different strategies for humanitarian aid. Increasing women’s opportunities, creating safe water accessibility, providing food security and creating shelter are all essential to the development of improved living conditions both in Myanmar and across the world.

Erica Burns
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Eradication in HaitiHaiti has experienced a long history of natural disasters and extreme poverty. Despite these challenges, Haiti could eventually thrive through technology and innovation. Technology and innovations in poverty eradication in Haiti have set the stage for new products and ideas, but expertise and transformation have also allowed the country to improve on assets that already exist.

Foreign Direct Investment

Digicel, a communications and entertainment company headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, set up its mobile phone venture in Haiti in 2005. Until its arrival, operators Comcel-Voilà (now Voilà) and Haïtel controlled the mobile phone market. When Digicel entered the Haiti market, its economic impact was almost immediate. Within two years, Digicel contributed to more than 15% of the Haitian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Meanwhile, paired with its two competitors, the contribution of all three was more than 25% of the GDP.

During the years 2005-2009, Digicel invested more than $250 million in Haiti’s economy which led to more than 60,000 jobs. Not only had Digicel poured into Haiti’s bottom line with job creation, in a market with two telecom competitors, but it was also able to account for almost 30% of tax revenue. The company has definitely been working on poverty eradication in Haiti.

In 2012, Digicel acquired Voilà, which substantially increased its market share penetration and helped maintain its presence. All of this occurred despite the fact that Haiti had experienced a major earthquake that displaced 5 million people and killed 250,000 people in 2010 on top of the devastation of Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy that occurred in 2012. Those setbacks have not derailed Digicel as of 2020. The company is still strong as it continues to provide innovations in poverty eradication in Haiti by keeping the country connected.

Education: Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Many have proven and echoed that children are the future and that they need to have exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to keep pace with the future innovative job market. Haiti’s challenge is that it lacks some capabilities and resources as an underdeveloped country.

Enter the NGO, Pennies for Haiti. This NGO’s long-term goal is to end Haiti’s series of poverty by providing sustenance and educating the country’s children. Meanwhile, its short-term objective is to equip Haiti’s children through education as a means to help them rise above their current situation. While Pennies for Haiti has several ongoing projects that serve 200 people a year, two of the projects focus on education.

The first is Haiti STEM Alliance, which is open to both boys and girls. The second is STEM 4 Girls, which places emphasis on girls. While both of these projects pour their energies into helping each participant achieve higher education and realize the vast employment opportunities in STEM, the difference is that STEM 4 Girls delves into personal growth and the benefits of higher learning. Pennies for Haiti hopes to instill in young women how STEM jobs can open the door to economic freedom.

In addition, the organization visualizes engaging an abundance of youth in the STEM industry as it will create more opportunities for technology and automation careers in Haiti. Pennies for Haiti is counting on the success of both of these programs with a focus on poverty eradication in Haiti and to boost Haiti’s image to the world and make them attractive to those companies who are looking to subcontract jobs as well as showing that they are a leader in gender equality and STEM careers.

Entrepreneurs

People may not know Haiti as a startup oasis, but over 75% of its residents operate some type of business to supplement their income. As a result, it is evident that Haiti is full of citizens who have demonstrated they can build, operate and sustain their own companies. Their startups range from fresh markets to tech platforms, and these enterprises are redefining the Haiti business culture.

One citizen, Christine Souffrant Ntim, who founded the Haiti Tech Summit (2017), has firsthand experience. She answered her entrepreneurial call as a youngster by helping her grandmother and mother sell goods in the streets of Haiti.

The Haiti Tech Summit brings together entrepreneurs, stakeholders, superstars and visionaries to address humanity’s extreme difficulties via tech and entrepreneurship. It has generated tangible results in its short existence such as helping an Airbnb sign a five-year multiple year contract with Haiti’s governmental branch that specializes in culture, tourism and the arts. Also, Facebook launched Haiti’s initial globally recognized grassroots pioneer group in 2017.

The Haiti Tech Summit’s success is based on the Ecosystem Map methodology, a vigorous arrangement of unified organizations that rely on each other for shared survival. As the Summit gains more energy and notoriety across the globe, Ntim’s focus is for the association to become the world’s next major tech innovation hub by 2030.

Poverty eradication in Haiti has made positive headway as it continues to rebuild its community and successfully learn how to navigate a technology-driven society. It has the existing tools to help bridge the gap with the main ingredient, being themselves. With the assistance of foreign aid, continued support of educational equality, especially among girls and entrepreneurs mobilizing the next generation, Haiti should be ready to move into the future with momentum.

Kim L. Patterson
Photo: Pixabay

Clean Water TechnologyNearly 30% of the world’s total population does not have access to clean, on-site water service. Roughly 26% of the world also consumes toxic water. Toxic water spreads various diseases including hepatitis A, cholera, diarrhea and polio. Therefore, it is essential for communities and populations to receive access to clean water. Numerous nongovernmental organizations are attempting to tackle this issue by providing affordable clean water technology to developing regions.

Maji Safi

An engineering student and two professors at the University of Purdue are founders of Maji Safi. Their goal was to provide affordable clean water technology to developing regions. The organization began doing so by installing sand filters in rural communities.

The sand filter technology requires rudimentary supplies that can be found within the region they are implemented. For example, containers are made out of plastic buckets that are filled with sand and water. A plastic dish with a webbed bag is then used to collect water at the bottom. Finally, the filter purifies the contaminated water by utilizing sand as a breeding ground for bacterial growth. This type of bacteria absorbs and digests specific materials in the water that are toxic. As a final precautionary step, minimal quantities of chlorine further purify the water.

Maji Safi International has successfully applied this sand filter technology, ceramic filters and wells in various developing communities. The nonprofit organization would like to install a thousand of these filters over the next decade as well as improve its filter technology with the use of water pumps and smartphones.

The Paani Project

Paani is another NGO that has a mission of providing affordable clean water technology to developing regions. Four students at the University of Michigan are founders of the Paani Project. Their parents were raised in Pakistan. These students focus primarily on preventing Pakistan from becoming a water-stressed nation. Therefore, the students created a nonprofit organization that builds sustainable wells.

Since the organization’s creation, more than 750 wells have been built. Each well generates safe drinking-water for one hundred citizens. The organization also aids in providing Pakistani hospitals with supplies to effectively treat water-borne diseases.

The Paani Project’s mission is not only to provide affordable clean water technology to developing regions in Pakistan. It is also to raise water security awareness, provide hospitals with supplies for disease treatment and educate citizens about water-borne disease prevention.

Water.org

This NGO may not provide an innovative solution to purify water, but water.org does break down economic obstacles prohibiting individuals from acquiring water. Water.org does so through its “WaterCredit Intiative.” In over a dozen countries, this initiative allows individuals to apply for financing to acquire water services.

 

These are just three examples of NGOs that aim to provide affordable clean water technology to developing nations. Founders of these organizations understand that having access to clean water is necessary for health, economic development and more. Clean water allows our bodies to sustain healthy organs, eradicate the possibility of water-borne transmitted diseases and is essential for sanitation and hygiene, which is why it is crucial.

John Brinkman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Women in EgyptRecently, five young Egyptian women were sentenced to two years in jail each for violating public morals through videos they uploaded to TikTok. These women in Egypt are influencers on TikTok and Instagram and have over two million followers. Haneen Hossam, a 20-year-old student at Cairo University, uploaded the video. In the video, she encouraged other young women to meet and cultivate friendships with men. Men are able to do this through a sponsored video chat app.

More Inequality Toward Women in Egypt

This repressive verdict is only the most recent in a series of laws and court decisions. Similar to others, it squashes young women’s freedom of expression in Egypt. This is especially done on the internet. More than 40% of Egyptian youths are regular internet users, which opens many doors for communication, education and entertainment. However, the certain punishments of young women for their behavior on the internet do not apply to young men in the same way. For instance, a belly dancer who posted videos on the internet was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for debauchery, and other female singers, artists and dancers have received similar treatment.

Given that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to eradicating global poverty, attacks on women like these by the Egyptian government are especially troubling. In light of these disturbing outcomes for young women in Egypt, it is important to highlight nongovernmental organizations. These are the NGOs that do the important work of fighting for gender equality and empowerment in Egypt. The below organizations work to elevate women’s status in Egyptian society by providing opportunities for economic participation. They also work to address sexual violence and improve access to education.

What is Being Done

Only 26% of Egyptian women participate in the labor force, compared with 79% of men. Women in developing economies that include the economy of Egypt will forge progress in gender equality, economic growth, and poverty eradication.

The Center of Egyptian Family Development operates in Upper Egypt, providing women with economic opportunities. The NGO provides technical training and marketing support for handicraft production offered exclusively to women in this area. The NGO has reached nearly 340 women with its economic initiatives and has seen numerous positive outcomes. Communities are more aware of gender equality issues, women have improved negotiation power, and many women have since become interested in running for local elections.

Women also suffer from lower literacy rates in Egypt at 65% compared to 82% for males. Access to education for women and girls is critical to ensuring their active participation in the workforce and the reduction of poverty. One NGO working to protect access to education is the Association of the Advancement of Education. This organization prioritizes reducing dropout rates for Egyptian girls through researching and influencing education policy.

Based in Cairo, the NGO works with the United Nations as well as the Egyptian Ministry of Education to achieve its goals.

More Help from Organizations

Another enormous obstacle that women in Egypt face is the prevalence of sexual harassment and violence. Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault in Cairo provides a hotline for victims of sexual assault, and also works to combat sexual harassment in public places. This organization steps in to evacuate women from violent situations. It also provides them with legal and medical assistance and operates safe houses as well. The group also believes in the importance of female participation in its cause. It erodes the narrative that women need to be rescued by men. Activist Reem Labib said, “The solution is not just for men to defend us. We, too, have to participate.” Where the Egyptian government and courts fail the women of the country, groups such as OpAntiSH step in.

 

The NGOs highlighted above are only a few of the myriad organizations working tirelessly toward women’s equality and empowerment in Egypt. They face many barriers like the recent women’s censorship online and the harsh punishments that followed. However, one thing is clear: Egyptian women have demonstrated their refusal to be silent and complicit. As a result, a new generation of young activists yields hope.

 

Addison Collins
Photo: Care

hunger in GeorgiaNestled in the Caucasus Mountains of Eastern Europe, the people of Georgia receive a sufficient quantity of food. However, the population suffers from stunted growth and undernourishment because of the quality of their diet. This leads to a condition called hidden hunger, in Georgia.

Background

Hidden hunger in Georgia results from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in its accessible food. The people there often do not consume enough protein, iron and vitamin A. This can cause tangible issues. For example, half a million Georgians are malnourished and infant mortality is twice the EU average. Additionally, a significant number of children under five years old are anemic.

Most of the foods that Georgians eat are quite high in starch and have little nutritional value. The two most popular dishes in rural Georgia are fried potatoes and lobio, which is made of boiled beans. Overreliance on these types of foods have made cardiovascular disease the most common chronic disease in the country. Currently, it accounts for 69% of Georgia’s mortality.

The main cause of the dietary insufficiencies in Georgia is a lack of access to meat and meat-based products. Unfortunately, these products are rather expensive at local markets. With the average household income being just $6 per day (⅓ of the population earns only $2.5 per day), the consumption of meat is rather impractical for most people.

Furthermore, the gross domestic product of Georgia was just $16.21 billion in 2018, with a per capita GDP of $4,723. For comparison, the 2018 GDP per capita for the European Union was $35,616.

Although the country’s GDP is growing overall, economic downturns, such as the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the 2015 stagnation and the 2020 pandemic, reduce the value of the Georgian Lari. These kinds of shifts can create vulnerable conditions for Georgia’s population and reduce food security.

Solutions

Fortunately, governmental and nonprofit organizations across the world are taking steps to improve the dietary standards and hunger in Georgia. Action Against Hunger has had a Food Security Program in the country since 1994, established shortly after the dissolution of the USSR and the collapse of collective farming in the region. It was able to help 5,937 people in 2018.

BRIDGE is a Georgia-based NGO that publishes comprehensive studies detailing the dietary habits of Georgians. It also publishes policy recommendations, which range from developing monitoring systems for the Georgian diet to embedding nutrition into the Ministry of Education’s agenda.

The Georgian Agricultural and Rural Development Alliance (GAARD), of which BRIDGE is a member, was able to register a “Food Security Bill” in Parliament in 2017. This bill aims to reduce Georgia’s reliance on imported food and improve the country’s nutrition self-sustainably.

The Impact of COVID-19

Although the country has only 879 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths as of June 16 2020, the global pandemic may put national food security at risk if another wave of the virus hits the region.

There are some subsistence farmers in the country, but many people buy their food from street markets or bazaars. Places like these are potential hotspots where the virus can spread. However, it is essential that these markets remain open because if they were shut down by a government mandate, many people would struggle to achieve their daily food quantity as well as combat hidden hunger in Georgia.


Hidden hunger presents itself in Georgia due to a lack of essential minerals and vitamins in its available food. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 69% of Georgia’s mortality. COVID-19 has the potential to increase the impact of hidden hunger if markets are shut down. While Georgia is facing a struggle with hidden hunger, organizations like Action Against Hunger, BRIDGE and GAARD are working to improve the quality of food in the country in order to make a positive impact.

– Christopher Bresnahan 

Photo: Flickr

Five NGOs Fighting World HungerEnding world hunger isn’t an easy task. For decades now, famine and food insecurity have caused problems worldwide. When kids are malnourished, they are unable to successfully perform at school, limiting their chances at an education. They are also at risk of weakened immune systems. Non-governmental organizations are working to help fight famine. Here are five NGOs fighting world hunger all across the world.

5 NGOs Fighting World Hunger

  1. Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger is a global nonprofit organization that has been working to end famine since 1979. Originally starting in France, Action Against Hunger now works in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Malawi, Cambodia, Nepal and Ethiopia. The organization takes a hands-on approach, addressing malnutrition through several points. These include developing nutritional products, promoting food security through public health and using research to develop nutritional products. The final goal of the organization is ending world hunger.
  2. A Growing Culture. A Growing Culture believes in ending word hunger by advocating for independent, smallholder farmers everywhere. According to the organization, smallholder farmers make up 94 percent of the world farms while providing 70 percent of the world’s food. A Growing Culture supports farmers in creating sustainable agricultural practices through outreach, information exchange and advocacy. By doing this, it ensures that local farms can grow crops to help their local communities. Sustainable farming practices are better for ecological systems as well as people. Smallholder farms have less risk of pesticide abuse, waste runoff and water supply contamination.
  3. The Carbon Underground. The Carbon Underground believes in ending world hunger by using a technique called regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is described as “a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds and enhances ecosystem services.” This can include capturing carbon in the soil while reversing atmospheric accumulation. The Carbon Underground organization also believes that regenerative agriculture is beneficial for food and freshwater security and healthier food production. Furthermore, it supports the world’s farmers. These benefits can change entire communities and cities. When people have access to fresh water and clean crops, they are able to have nutritious meals, feel more focused in school or work and contribute to society.
  4. The Small Planet Institute. In the late 1960s, Frances Moore Lappé began writing a book that would revolutionize the way people would think about food. The book, titled “Diet for a Small Planet,” sold more than three million copies. In the book, Lappé discusses the myth of “scarcity in a world of plenty.” It dives into concepts of responsible agriculture, the environmental impact of animal products and the philosophy of food. The award-winning book went on to become the inspiration for The Small Planet Institute, an organization that she began with her daughter. One of the main programs of the group is dedicated to ending world hunger by discussing some of the myths and facts about famine.
  5. Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) believes in transitioning Africa toward safe agriculture and an environmentally friendly future. The AFSA also strongly believes in consumer action. This means that consumers should have a say in the crops grown, the way they are produced and agroecology. Agroecology is the link between agriculture and the ecological process in which it can flourish. By giving African citizens the skills they need to succeed in farms, they are able to contribute more to society, send children to school and give communities the ability to flourish independently.

World hunger continues to be a problem worldwide. However, non-government organizations are stepping in to help combat these problems. Malnutrition and famine are proven to hinder students in school, parents in the workforce and communities. But with the help of these organizations, vulnerable people are able to get the assistance they need in the fight toward ending world hunger.

Asha Swann
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Reduction Advocacy in Pakistan
Pakistan is a South Asian country with a population of approximately 212 million people. According to the World Bank, the population of people living below the national poverty line in Pakistan decreased from 64 percent in 2001 to 24 percent in 2015. However, as of 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) revealed that in rural communities in Pakistan, 35 percent of people lived below the poverty line. This highlights that rural communities in Pakistan need the most aid. However, there are significant examples of poverty reduction advocacy in Pakistan.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

IFAD is a U.N. based agency that focuses on helping rural communities. IFAD aids these communities by strengthening food security and local businesses. Southern Punjab, cited as the poorest part of Pakistan, is a major center point for IFAD in the country. In 2010, IFAD initiated the Southern Punjab Alleviation Project and it is still ongoing until 2020. The project seeks to enhance agricultural productivity in Punjab by aiding laborers, farmers and women-led households.

As of May 2019, working with the government of Punjab, IFAD raised approximately $195 million for the project—Punjab governmental and beneficiary donations included. IFAD reported in 2019 that 5,500 new community organizations started in Punjab, with 70 percent of women forming these groups. The report also cited that 50 percent of people became newly or self-employed after receiving vocational training from IFAD. Moreover, as of 2018, IFAD reached 92 percent of women-headed households. IFAD also uploaded a YouTube video in September 2018 to highlight specific people and families in Punjab that benefited from its projects. The organization prominently initiated poverty reduction advocacy in Pakistan.

The Ehsaas Program

The Ehsaas Program is a government-led poverty reduction program initiated in 2018. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr. Sania Nishtar are responsible for the program. Ehsaas focuses on economic growth and obtaining sustainable development goals in Pakistan. The program uses a strategy of four pillars that include addressing the elite and making the government system work for equality, as well as providing safety nets, human capital development and jobs and livelihoods.

The Ehsass Program will push to increase social protection funding by providing an additional $80 billion from 2019-2021. The Kafalat program will give around 6 million women financial inclusion through a one woman, one bank account policy. Nutrition initiatives will address malnutrition and health issues impacting stunted children. The Solution Innovation Challenge will address citizen employment by developing micro-credit facilities for daily wages so that those in poverty can afford monthly groceries. The Ehsaas Program plans on developing rickshaw garbage collectors to employ people and benefit the environment and water sanitation simultaneously. The Ehsaas Program also seeks to build 20 centers for physically challenged citizens and create orphanages for 10,000 homeless children. These are just some of the programs Ehsaas plans to initiate to implement poverty reduction advocacy in Pakistan.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ehsaas Program

As of September 2019, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported the Ehsaas Program through a Memorandum of Understanding between Bill Gates and Khan. This collaboration prompted the Gates Foundation to plan on spending $200 million toward poverty reduction in Pakistan by 2020. Bill Gates and Dr. Nishtar conducted an interview in September 2019 with the U.N. SDG Action Zone to educate others about the Ehsaas Program and answer questions. This is an example of a multicultural support system toward poverty reduction advocacy in Pakistan.

To alleviate poverty in Pakistan, the government recently started initiatives that the people support. Examples such as the IFAD and the Ehsaas programs show that partnerships between governments, organizations and citizens work to tackle poverty. With these organizations and funds in place, poverty reduction advocacy in Pakistan has a positive outlook for the future.

Natalie Casaburi
Photo: Pixabay