global poverty reduction in 2022
As the year 2022 drew to a close recent data from the World Bank reveals that this is “the second-worst year” for global “poverty reduction in the past two decades.” The reasons for the “steep slowdown of the global economy” are many – the lingering effects of COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, debt crises and many other sub-factors that exacerbate the situation. New projections show that 7% will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030 – considerably higher than the 3% goal. Global organizations such as Oxfam America, World Bank and its partners, have acknowledged the situation and launched various initiatives to support the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Global Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had the biggest impact on the poorest people around the world. In comparison to pre-pandemic forecasts, the average income of those in the poorest 40% of the worldwide income distribution is 6.7% lower in 2021, while that of those in the top 40% is down almost 3%. The world’s poorest have not yet begun to make up for their revenue losses, worse yet the average income of the bottom 40% decreased by 2.2% between 2019 and 2021.

Due to the pandemic, an additional 163 million people live on less than $5.50 per day, bringing the world poverty rate from 7.8% to 9.1%. Moreover, an additional 97 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. The World Bank believes that three to four years’ worth of progress toward eradicating extreme poverty has been lost globally.

War in Ukraine

The ongoing war in Ukraine has also largely contributed to the rising cost of living and the slowdown of global poverty reduction in 2022. The repercussions of the war, the sanctions imposed on Russia, such as export bans, rose energy prices and caused huge supply-chain issues pushing 51 million people to fall into poverty according to UNDP.

The war has also led to 20 million people’s daily incomes in lower-middle-income countries falling below the poverty level of $3.20, increasing the percentage of the world’s poor to 9%.

Further data from UNICEF reveals that children carry the “heaviest burden of the economic crisis.” Children make up 25% of the world’s population and 40% of the further 10.4 million suffering from poverty in 2022. Estimates show that one in three children that grow up in poverty will continue to live in poverty for the rest of their adult life. According to UNICEF, children can benefit greatly from the introduction of poverty reduction methods, job initiatives and plans for economic growth.

Global Emergency Markets

Several causes, particularly the incredibly quick economic recovery following the epidemic, caused the energy markets to tighten up in 2021. But, once Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the situation quickly worsened and turned into a full-fledged global energy crisis. Natural gas prices hit record highs, which had an impact on electricity prices in several markets. The price of oil reached its highest point since 2008.

In addition to making families poorer, forcing some factories to reduce output or even close their doors and slowing economic growth to the point that some nations are in the midst of a severe recession, higher energy prices have also led to uncomfortably high inflation.

Spate of Debt Crises

During the past year, developing countries increased debt loans in order to keep up with the rising cost of living and aggravated the debt crisis. The World Bank calculations show that 60% of the world’s poorest countries are “either in debt distress or at risk of it.”

Debt-ridden countries are incapable of making high-return investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure projects, significantly slowing down their economic growth and exacerbating global poverty reduction efforts.

Future Outlook

In the face of all the crises and uncertainties that the past few years have brought to the world arena, organizations like the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) are stepping up to “ensure the poorest aren’t left behind.” Its new $93 billion IDA20 package, which will run from 2022 to 2025, aims to help developing countries get to grips with the global crisis the world can’t ignore, the World Bank reports.

IDA wishes to prioritize investment in education and health, reinforce food security, take action on the undeniable threat that is climate change, help countries struggling with conflict and development and improve debt sustainability.

Similarly, The United Nations Secretary-General has set up a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance in the U.N. Secretariat. Its goal is to help the world’s poorest by “making reserves available to countries at risk of hunger and famine, accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and urging international financial institutions to increase liquidity and fiscal space.”

The year 2022 saw an insecure and uneven economic recovery where global development faced a crisis and poverty reduction efforts took a hard hit. However, many international organizations have united in the common goal to create an ecological, more resilient and sustainable future.

– Ralitsa Pashkuleva
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Eradication in Sri Lanka
In the past, Sri Lanka has shown great effort in reducing poverty. In 2006, 15.2% of the population was below or equivalent to the World Bank’s national poverty line, which decreased to
4.1% a decade later in 2016, showing a steady recovery. However, the poverty line rapidly increased to 14.3% in 2019, even before COVID-19 struck. Even though there has been a positive report of recovery for Sri Lanka in the past, there remains a disproportionate living standard across the entirety of the island and there is an urgent need for poverty eradication in Sri Lanka.

More recently, COVID-19 has significantly affected the country’s development as it now faces a major political and economic crisis that has put its citizens in need of substantial aid. As of June 2022, UNICEF reported that 2,263,227 children are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, partially due to the inability to provide education, as well as sufficient nutrition and sanitation. The pandemic has worsened the livelihoods of 73% of families, according to a UNICEF telephone survey, forcing families to lower the priority of education and health for their children to, instead, desperately source ways of income for necessities. Sri Lanka is now included in the top 10 countries with the most malnourished children. Furthermore, the rapidly increasing fuel cost has also prevented the country from providing essential and efficient services, such as emergency health care for children.

Poverty Eradication Efforts in Sri Lanka

According to the World Bank, 45.5% of Sri Lanka is agricultural land, so finding ways to increase agricultural productivity is a prerequisite for further economic growth. In 2021, the World Bank data showed that more than 30% of Sri Lanka’s population worked in the agricultural sector and that it makes up 7.4% of its national GDP. Sri Lanka has a lot of potential in the agricultural industry, due to its fertile land, however, productivity is lacking. In the spring of 2021, Sri Lanka’s former President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, enforced a ban on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, with the intention of the country moving to organic farming methods.

However, his efforts proved a failure as domestic rice production fell by 20% in six months, causing significant damage to the Sri Lankan economy as a result and leading to protests. To fulfill its farming potential, Sri Lanka must diversify its farming; moving away from paddy farming (usually associated with less profitable farmers), to focusing on an export-oriented crop mix that can increase earnings, as well as adopting a mechanized method of farming. Investing in updated technology, that is more mindful of climate change, will create an influx of efficiency and productivity that will greatly benefit the agricultural industry and the entire nation.

Encouraging Non-Farming Jobs in Sri Lanka

Funding children’s education in Sri Lanka is crucial, as encouraging non-farming jobs and breaking the restricted access to higher-earning jobs will increase employment opportunities and motivation for children to pursue education and increase overall living standards. A 2022 assessment by Save the Children, showed that 50% of families were struggling to support their child’s education, resulting in dropouts and many absences from school. The rising costs and shortages of fuel are other factors for children not attending school due to their inability to get there. In 2022, UNICEF and the Ministry for Education are tackling the lack of teaching supplies for up to 224,000 children. They are distributing books and paper across provinces in the country.

Diversified Employment and the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka

Access to critical services and general transport declined in the Western Province, an example of the disproportionate spread of poverty across the country. Expanding and improving the spatial distribution will create more opportunities for more diversified employment, such as those in business, agriculture and tourism. Strengthening inclusion and encouraging people to seek work out in rural areas where poverty is at its highest, can be particularly effective due to the exposure of new industries, such as tourism.

In 2019, the tourism industry supplied more than 400,00 jobs, approximately 205,000 more jobs than in 2012, according to the World Bank report. Other non-farming jobs, such as construction and trade-related activities, accounted for more than 10% of non-farming jobs employment in 2021 individually. However, to expand work in this area, education is the primary factor in its success, as people with higher levels of education are more likely to work in skilled non-farming sectors.

Charitable organizations and neighboring countries have donated millions to improve education, health, emergency aid and other vital services. UNICEF has estimated that $25,300,000 in funding is necessary for urgent short-term solutions in sanitation, social protection and social welfare. In 2022, UNICEF stated its aim to give 1.2 million people primary health care in their supported facilities, as well as provide 665,690 children with educational services.

Looking Ahead

There is an urgent need to take action to, once again, improve the living standards and general well-being of the people in Sri Lanka. There is the hope of replicating a similar swift recovery as before the pandemic’s implication, but funding is key to making this happen. Investing in its agricultural land to give higher productivity, funding and encouraging higher education, giving more access to transport across the country and creating employment opportunities for non-farming jobs are all beneficial for poverty eradication in Sri Lanka.

– Phoebe Taylor

Photo: Flickr

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the PhilippinesThe Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the Philippines, known as the 4Ps, is a conditional cash transfer program developed by the World Bank and the government of the Philippines in 2007. The 4P’s main objective is to provide financial assistance to the impoverished to “improve the health, nutrition and the education of children aged 0-18.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the poverty rate in the Philippines rose to 23.7% in the first six months of 2021, meaning at least 3.9 million Filipinos endured poverty. To combat the high poverty rate and a lack of social safety net, the 4Ps program helps impoverished households to break cycles of poverty.

Beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

The program specifies certain criteria for eligibility. The beneficiaries must live in the poorest municipalities, in accordance with the 2003 Small Area Estimates of the National Statistical Coordination Board. In addition, a household must be living at or below the “provincial poverty threshold.” The household must also have children between the ages of 0 and 18 years old. Households with pregnant women are also eligible. In 2022, the 4Ps program assists “more than 800,000 families classified as poor and near-poor based on the Standardized Targeting System and the poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.” Since 2008, the 4Ps program has served more than 5 million impoverished households.

The beneficiaries are able to receive two types of grants, including a health grant of 500 per household per month and an education grant of  300 per child per month for 10 months. Mikee Romero, one of the writers of the law institutionalizing 4Ps, told the Philippines News Agency in September 2020 that the program’s 169.3 billion budget for 2021 “also includes  41 billion “for social protection programs like medical, transportation and burial assistance” and 4.3 billion “for disaster response, such as the provision of relief goods.”

Effectiveness of 4Ps

The implementation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the Philippines has increased the utilization of health and education services. Children face lower risks of enduring poverty in adulthood as the program aims to break intergenerational cycles of poverty through the provision of resources and services necessary for growth and development.

The 4Ps program has helped to increase school attendance rates as it offers financial assistance for education and has a strict rule of “85% attendance a month” for child beneficiaries of the program.

A Herald Express article published in August 2018 says, “The 4Ps program has smoothly bridged the gap from poverty to an improved living condition among its beneficiaries.” The article also highlights that the 4Ps “changed the behavior of learners and their attitude toward learning” and helped improve the academic performance of generally low-performing learners.

In addition, 4Ps offers educational seminars with topics ranging from financial management to the importance of women in society and works with Sustainable Livelihoods Programs (SLP) to help families develop income-generating activities to build a better future.  The 4Ps program strengthens labor skills and opens up economic opportunities for the impoverished in the Philippines. The program provides microfinance services and training to those who engage in the SLP. Through skill training, beneficiaries are more likely to increase productivity and rise out of poverty.

A Look Ahead

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the Philippines helps break the poverty cycle. The program also increases the ability of households to provide for their children and family needs. Overall, the 4Ps model looks to improve quality of life by providing the impoverished with the resources, services and skills to thrive.

Jiaying Guo
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis' view on Poverty
The Roman Catholic Church has a following of approximately 1.2 billion people around the globe. Pope Francis currently stands as the 266th pope. Pope Francis’ view on poverty emulates the values of his namesake, St. Francis of Assissi, putting poverty relief at the forefront of his mission. Pope Francis has the power to bring together people from all over the world in order to combat global poverty.

Leading by Example

As the figurehead of a major global entity, Pope Francis has a tremendous influence on a significant number of people. Even before his election as pope, as the first pope from Latin America, Pope Francis had been exposed to poverty as a youth in his homeland. Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants. Growing up in his native land of Argentina, Pope Francis saw the gap between the wealthy and impoverished widening drastically. This issue, occurring in several areas of the world, is a topic of concern for Pope Francis.

Poverty Reduction Efforts

Speaking on poverty, Pope Francis says, “There is such a large number of people who are on the margins. And we don’t see them because poverty is bashful. They have become part of the landscape; they are things.” As far as religious figures go, Pope Francis is notably unconventional. He calls on world leaders to fight poverty and hunger by readjusting the budgeting of tax dollars and redistribution of immense wealth in order to provide for the most at risk.

He also preaches about remaining true to an ascetic lifestyle, which means possessing the discipline to reject modern luxuries in the name of equality. For example, the title of cardinal is a tremendous honor in the Roman Catholic Church and is often cause for celebration. Practicing what he preaches, Pope Francis requested that those wishing to travel to the Vatican to witness his appointment to the position of cardinal not do so. Rather, Pope Francis suggested donating these travel funds to people most in need.

In March 2021, the Pope donated $350,000 while in Iraq, $250,000 of which went directly to families living in poverty. The Pope has also made significant donations toward the fight against COVID-19, particularly with the purchase of ventilators sent to several countries in need. Additionally, the Pope contributed to funding for medical supplies through donations to Colombia in April 2021 and Brazil in August 2021.

Calls to Action

Regardless of one’s belief system, it is easy to recognize the Pope’s humanitarianism simply by considering Pope Francis’ view on poverty. It is inspiring to have a leader who so valiantly fights for those in poverty. The Pope typically follows the teachings professed in the Gospel of Matthew, verse six, which states, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward…” This means that the Pope does not make public the nature of his charity. The known instances of his charity are only public knowledge because of public statements made out of gratitude by the recipients. The Pope’s empathy and authenticity are notable features that are changing the world for the better.

It is easy to recognize injustice in the world, however, it is not always easy to remain steadfast in ethics and intervene in global poverty with bravery. In his speeches, Pope Francis declares that even the most ordinary individual can play a role in global poverty reduction.

– Michelle Schwab
Photo: Unsplash

Poverty In Denmark
Denmark has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world, and it is important to look at what allows the nation to have such a low rate. With aggressive public health programs and a well-rounded social welfare program that
brings aid for unemployment, disability and old age, the people of Denmark can often receive proper help and assistance in times of need.

Social Welfare Aid

Widespread access to welfare in the country stems from a systemically upheld belief that welfare is a right of the people and not a privilege as it is all paid for through taxes. The benefits received by those who are unable to properly support themselves or their children work to lower poverty in Denmark. Furthermore, while the Danish have access to assistance programs, one poll suggests that nearly 60% of respondents believe that the economic gap between the upper and lower classes needs to be reduced.

Social responsibility is a large key ideal held by many people in Denmark. Social responsibility carries into the ideas of the social welfare programs and correlates to funds allocated toward helping members of the community. Because of governmental and social efforts, the level of poverty in Denmark is able to stay relatively low. For instance, funds and programs go to help parents raising new children, allowing a year of paid paternity or maternity leave.

The Poverty Rate

As of 2018, Denmark had a poverty rate of around 0.30%, which was a 0.1% increase from the previous year. Those living with fewer than $5.50 U.S. dollars per day are counted within the poverty figures. This is one of the lowest poverty rates in the world, around 10% less than the United State’s poverty rate in 2020. With a high poverty rate in the late 1980s of around 1.2%, the decline has occurred steadily over the years. While the poverty rate tends to fluctuate from year to year, it remains relatively low. Currently, Denmark is often compared to nations like the Netherlands, Malta, the Czech Republic and Norway. However, changes in social spending correlate to the fact that poverty seems to be been rising despite the high levels of support offered by the system.

Child Poverty

Despite Denmark’s reputation for strong welfare programs, child poverty rose in the country from 2016 to 2017. In the span of that year, the number of children recognized as living in poverty rose from around 40,000 to more than 60,000. Despite the level of social welfare benefits, employment rates have remained largely unchanged among certain groups. Among those affected by reduced social spending are refugees and minority groups in the country. As of 2017, the number of children under the poverty line accounts for more than 5% of the child population. Programs like the Integration Benefit are targeted to those living in extreme poverty in Denmark.

With many different social programs, poverty in Denmark has been able to stay relatively low in recent years, notably due to social programs and community mentalities. Despite the rising poverty rates among those in danger of falling below the poverty line, the Danish government has been implementing programs to try and reduce these issues like the Integration Benefit. Lastly, the programs afforded to parents allow for a stable environment for parents to raise their children. The solutions to these issues through more aid and higher access to aid stand to lower the poverty rate further.

– Jake Herbetko
Photo: Flickr

Eliminating Poverty in MozambiqueLocated on the southeastern coast of Africa, Mozambique is home to approximately 29.5 million Mozambicans. With a 52% female and 48% male population growing at a rate of 2.5%, high child mortality rates, increased 12.6% HIV prevalence, low life expectancy and low literacy rates, Mozambique is struggling with most of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Mozambique ranks 136 of the 162 countries measured by the Sustainable Development Index. The first SDG is eliminating poverty in Mozambique.

Poverty in Mozambique

According to Mozambique’s Household Budget Survey, 46.1% of the population lives below the poverty line. There exists multidimensional poverty measured by the quality of family, nutrition, education, work, health, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), resulting in 46% of children 17 years and below living in poverty.

The country’s location makes it vulnerable to many natural disasters that often stunt its economic growth, making it difficult to eliminate poverty in Mozambique. Mozambique faces a combination of tropical and dry climates, an abundance of natural resources ranging from renewable energy sources to agro-ecological regions, forests and wildlife. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate fell from 7.4% to 3.7% between 2007 and 2017 as a result of drought, flood and cyclone natural disasters.

Barriers to Eliminating Poverty in Mozambique

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought an additional burden to Mozambique, coming just as the country was recovering from major economic shocks related to its recent debt crisis and the devastating 2019 cyclones. Since the onset of the pandemic, Mozambique has already experienced a 4% decline in its economic growth expectations with significant adverse effects on its already struggling economy. Mozambique is expected to feel the lasting effects of this shift in the coming years, facing even larger external and fiscal financing gaps than previously anticipated. Further, there is concern that large numbers of Mozambicans are on the verge of re-entering poverty, erasing much past progress and setting the country back on the SDG to eliminate poverty.

One of the main barriers to eliminating poverty in Mozambique is its long-standing exclusion regarding gender and other vulnerable groups and regional public policy imbalances. In order to have sustainable poverty reduction, Mozambique must give special attention to eliminating these key issues.

Current Efforts and Solutions

The Nation Basic Social Security Strategy (ENSSB) was developed to help achieve the government’s five-year plan (2015-2019) to implement actions aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerability. Between 2016 and 2024, it seeks to ensure impending economic growth is of benefit to all its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable. A strategy based on the Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the U.N.’s SDGs, the ENSSB was designed to build an efficient and effective social security system in Mozambique. It directly aims to sustainably support and strengthen Mozambique’s most impoverished population’s capacity to defend themselves against social risks such as violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and social exclusions due to their elevated vulnerability.

The World Bank Group (WBG) currently supports a wide and diverse lending portfolio for the benefit of eliminating poverty in Mozambique. Focusing on Mozambique’s most vulnerable and underserved populations, the WBG has lent its resources to 27 operations with contributions of $3 billion funded by the International Development Association (IDA). The International Finance Corporation additionally has existing investments of up to $176 million, with $15 million in advisory services alone as of June 2020. The WBG’s portfolio consists of two Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency exposures of up to $89.1 million as well.

Such large and varied contributions and investments have the following primary goals: diversification for economic growth and development, human capital development, and increased sustainable development, prosperity and resilience.

COVID-19 Relief Support in Mozambique

As a result of the onset of the pandemic, Mozambique is struggling with a growing fiscal gap and economic fallout. In order to prevent deepening long-term economic effects, the WBG approved a $100 million grant from the IDA on October 22, 2020. This funding aims to mitigate the pandemic’s adverse impact by providing emergency government financing, supporting affected businesses and households and improving fiscal sustainability reform.

This effort of the WBG will serve as part of its existing plans to aid Mozambique in post-crisis recovery in the form of improving health services, access to water and sanitation, extending social protection and labor, improving business, job creation and retention and economic management. These goals will help push Mozambique forward, improve Mozambicans’ quality of life and lift people out of poverty. These investments will be implemented through a two-pronged approach. First, the health sector will be addressed, along with social security, safety and water access for all Mozambicans, with a particular focus on the urban poor and vulnerable populations. Secondly, supporting small and medium enterprises’ (SME) access to financing and liquidity will help catalyze economic growth in the financial sector and industry reform and strengthen Mozambique’s fiscal and debt framework.

Though Mozambique has faced many setbacks in its economic development in recent years, the above strategies will hopefully set the country on its way to achieving the very first Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating poverty in Mozambique.

– Rebecca Harris
Photo: Flickr

SDG 1 in New Zealand
World leaders adopted the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the first of which is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” in 2015. In 2019, New Zealand leaders published the findings of the Voluntary National Review as New Zealand’s Progress Towards the SDGs – 2019. Through this report, others can learn the challenges facing the people of New Zealand, the strides the country has made thus far and improvements to come for each SDG, including updates on SDG 1 in New Zealand.

A key challenge New Zealanders face comes in the form of the inequities that can exist in poverty-related measures. According to New Zealand’s 2018 Census, 16.5% of the population are Māori (indigenous New Zealanders) and 8.1% are Pacific Islanders, who poverty disproportionately affects. Poverty is also worse among those living with disabilities. The updates on SDG 1 in New Zealand to follow, contextualized by the challenges the country faces and the goals for the coming years, yield a broad picture of the nation’s approach to poverty alleviation and successes thus far. Here are seven updates on SDG 1 in New Zealand.

7 Updates on SDG 1 in New Zealand

  1. Child Poverty Reduction and Wellbeing Acts: This legislation requires that the New Zealand government sets targets for three predetermined child poverty measures at both three- and 10-year intervals. The New Zealand government is also responsible for publishing annual reports on those measures as well as relevant indicators. For example, the 2020/21 target for the reduction of material hardship is from 13% to 10% of children, whereas the 2027/28 target stretches that to just 6% of children.
  2. Families Package and Wellbeing Budget: Through changes to tax credits, free school lunches, and more, the Families Package and Wellbeing Budget aimed to boost incomes of 62% of households with children in New Zealand, by 2021. According to a 2020 report, the Families Package had already improved the situation of 18,400 children enough for them to no longer live in poverty.
  3. Increase in the Minimum Wage: One of the clearest cut strategies for alleviating poverty was to increase the country’s minimum wage, with the expectation that the country will continue to increase it as the economy permits. New Zealand applied a 7.2% increase in 2019, followed by a 6.3% boost in 2020.
  4. Establishment of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group: The Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) has the task of advising the New Zealand government as to how and why the nation’s welfare programs should change in order to provide the most benefit to its people. Just a year after its establishment, WEAG completed a report detailing how the nation’s social security system ought to evolve. The report, Wakamana Tāngata – Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand, includes 42 recommendations for the nation to move from simply providing a safety net to restoring dignity to its citizens. WEAG’s approach emphasizes problem-solving through collaboration with researchers and stakeholders across the country.
  5. Public and Affordable Housing Expansion: Not only is work underway to provide additional options for public and affordable housing, but the New Zealand government also aims to improve the conditions for those living in rental housing. Housing costs are of particular importance when considering how to reduce inequities and poverty in general. In fact, data revealed that 14.9% of children lived in poverty in 2019 even beyond taking housing costs into account, whereas that proportion jumped to 20.8% after factoring in housing costs.
  6. Disability Action Planning: With a new Disability Action Plan having taken effect since the publication of the Voluntary National Review, it is pertinent to look at the most recent plan for 2019-2023. Through the detailing of 25 programs with the primary design of narrowing the gap in employment between disabled and non-disabled people, this plan serves to move New Zealand forward in line with the Disability Strategy 2016-2026.
  7. Broader Sample for Household Economic Survey: In the hopes of capturing a holistic picture of the financial situations of all its people, the New Zealand’s Household Economic Survey expanded its sampling to 20,000 people. With this more inclusive understanding of the impact of the economy on individual households, the nation’s leaders hope to be better equipped to address the challenges faced therein. As mentioned above, it is of vital importance that New Zealand not only combat the inequities among its citizens but also accurately measure them.

As with many countries, these updates on SDG 1 in New Zealand serve to share measures of the success achieved thus far, and as motivation to continue this important work. Other nations and leaders can also consider these points inspiration for strategies to combat poverty worldwide.

– Amy Perkins
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in WalesWales, one of the four scenic countries that comprise the United Kingdom, has 25% of its population facing poverty. Around 200,000 children live in poverty in the country too, with 90,000 of these children enduring extreme poverty. As Wales struggles with poverty on a daily basis and searches for improvement, NGOs in the country are doing their part to combat poverty.

5 NGOs Fighting Poverty in Wales

  1. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an independent NGO working to solve poverty in the United Kingdom and Wales. Through research, policy, collaboration and practical solutions, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation aims to inspire action and change inside the United Kingdom. By shining a light on poverty in Wales while offering solutions for potential change, poverty in the country can be clearly addressed and better managed.
  2. The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD). CAFOD is an international NGO that reaches out to people living in poverty with practical help in the overall pursuit of campaigning for global justice. Through donations, campaigning and calling upon individuals to volunteer in both their local communities and internationally in Wales, CAFOD looks to immediately impact poverty with positive results. CAFOD is also a member of Caritas Internationalis, one of the largest humanitarian, development and social service networks in the world.
  3. The Trussell Trust. This is an NGO that supports a nationwide network of food banks that collectively provides emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. The Trussell Trust handed out 70,393 emergency food parcels from April through September through its 117 food banks that comprise the Welsh network of the NGO. Across the United Kingdom, the Trussel Trust’s network distributed more than 1.2 million emergency food parcels during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Save the Children. An NGO founded in 1919, Save the Children combats child poverty worldwide with the mission of keeping children safe, healthy and learning. The Wales sector of Save the Children works with education, social care and health partners to deliver a range of programs that directly benefit the lives of children in Wales. Children growing up in poverty in Wales face deep impacts, and as they fall behind in school due to the limited income of their parents, the cycle of poverty continues. Save the Children directly combats this cycle in Wales by advocating to the Welsh government about the importance of childhood education.
  5. The Bevan Foundation. Located directly in Wales, this NGO is on the constant lookout to reduce poverty in the country through innovation and ideas. Working alongside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to find new solutions to poverty, the Bevan Foundation has presented evidence to the Welsh Parliament’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee inquiry on the impact of COVID-19 on communities, poverty and housing. The evidence will be beneficial for implementing anti-poverty strategies in Wales. The Bevan Foundation has also advocated consistently for social security benefits that would alleviate poverty.

The Future of Wales

Wales, facing increasing poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finds its poverty worsening among children in the country more so than among adults. Amid this poverty, organizations are working to address the situation in different ways. With the help of more NGOs, poverty in Wales can reduce as the nation works to address the very core and cycle of it.

– Dylan James
Photo: Flickr

Suaahara II ProjectIn Nepal, 36% of children who are under the age of five remain underdeveloped in terms of growth and health despite progress in recent years. Through cooperation with USAID, the Nepalese Government and local private sector groups, Hellen Keller International (HKI) has provided impactful services that have helped rectify the systematic obstacles causing these health issues. Hellen Keller International is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce malnutrition. The Suaahara II project takes a pivotal role in these efforts.

What is the Suaahara II Project?

One of HKI’s most notable services is the Suaahara II project, which started in 2016 and was initially set to end in 2021. However, it will now extend to March 2023 due to COVID-19. Operating in 42 of Nepal’s districts with a $63 million budget, HKI partnered with these six organizations for the project:

  • Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE)
  • Family Health International 360 (FHI 360)
  • Environmental and Public Health Organization (ENPHO)
  • Equal Access Nepal (EAN)
  • Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG)
  • Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC)

Hellen Keller International’s primary role in the Suaahara II project deals with the technical assistance of child and maternal nutrition. This means that its tasks are oriented around building the skills and knowledge of health workers. This includes teaching health workers how to adequately measure and evaluate assessments; additionally, another technical facet relies on promoting governance that invests in nutrition.

A Multi-Sectoral Approach

Kenda Cunningham, a senior technical adviser for Suaahara II who works under HKI, told The Borgen Project that the Suaahara II consortium has taken a “multi-sectoral approach.” She believes in the importance of this as it pushes individuals to “learn and think beyond their sector.” The Suaahara II Project’s demonstrates its integrated strategy in the initiatives below:

  1. The WASH program focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene through WASHmarts, which are small shops dispersed across districts that sell sanitary products like soap and reusable sanitary pads. Kenda explained how this has helped “bridge a gap” so that poorer households can access hygiene enhancing products. This also allows assistance from private actors, who can expand their markets in rural areas.
  2. The Homestead Food Production program (HFP) encourages households to grow and produce micronutrient-rich foods through vegetable gardening and raising chickens, for example. As a result, 35 districts have institutionalized HFP groups.
  3. The Bhancchin Aama Radio Program is a phone-in radio program that runs twice every week. It hosts discussions among marginalized communities and demonstrations for cooking nutritious foods. It has encouraged the Nepalese to socially and behaviorally alter their health habits.

Advancements from Suaahara I

The Suaahara II project’s contribution to improved health and nutrition in Nepal is also illustrated in its progression from the Suaahara I project’s framework. In addition to understanding the changes made in household systems and at a policy level from Suaahara I, Cunningham told The Borgen Project that technological developments have elevated the Suaahara II Project’s impact in Nepal.

Specifically, smartphones expedite the data collection process when studying trends pertaining to the 2 million households across the districts. The development of new apps provided more households with access to smartphones and key information. This therefore allowed officers to transition from pursuing “a mother-child focus to a family focus” in terms of the Suaahara II project’s accommodations and services.

Challenges with Suaahara II

While the Suaahara II Project has led to institutional and social enhancements regarding health and nutrition, some districts had access to the project earlier. This created a dissonance in the rate of health improvements amongst the districts. Cunningham reported that “far western areas are much more remote and therefore disadvantaged and food insecure.”

This inconsistency was largely due to the “Federalism” that took place in Nepal in 2017, which was a decentralization process that created 42 municipalities for 42 districts. Since every municipality has a different political leader, some districts had the advantage of assistance from foreign NGOs while others did not because their leaders rejected involving foreign NGOs. In these cases, as Cunningham explained, it is like “you are creating your own NGOs from the ground up.”

Suaahara II Achievements

These obstacles, however, have not been pertinent enough to counter the consortium’s efforts in fulfilling the Suaahara II project’s objectives. For example, a primary objective for Suaahra II is to increase breastfeeding amongst babies under six months of age. Exclusive breastfeeding of children under six has increased from 62.9% in 2017 to 68.9% in 2019, according to data that Cunningham shared with The Borgen Project.

Expanding children’s access to diverse and nutritious foods is another objective that has been achieved under the Suaahara II project. The dietary diversity among women of reproductive age (WRA) has increased from 35.6% in 2017 to 45.3% in 2019, according to Cunningham. Given the efficient rate of improvement in women and children’s health, governance and equity in only the first two years of the Suaahara II project, it can be inferred that the consortium will continue to progress in achieving its targets among the Nepalese in the three years that remain.

Regarding how HKI has responded to challenges with the Suaahara II project, Cunningham said  “[We] don’t use a one size fits all approach.” The advancements in Nepal’s health and nutrition systems can be largely attributed to HKI’s multifaceted and integrated strategy, a model that could yield prosperity in the rest of the developing world.

Joy Arkeh
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in India
Millions of Indian children live in extreme poverty, putting their lives, as well as the development of their bodies and minds, at risk. Global efforts have made significant progress toward combating child poverty in India and further funding will allow this success to continue.

An Overview of Poverty in India

India is one of the most populated countries in the world, with a population of 1.366 billion. Second only to China, with a population of 1.398 billion (a mere 2.3% greater), India alone accounts for more than 17% of the world’s population. With a population of such magnitude, there are not enough resources to go around.

India has historically struggled with poverty, with 63.1% of its population living on less than $1.90 a day in 1977. Since then, this number has diminished drastically to 22.5% in 2011 – but this still equates to an astounding 296 million people living in extreme poverty.

Children in India feel the burden of extreme poverty the most. They are the most likely to endure impoverishment and to lose their lives due to poverty. Global efforts have made a substantial amount of progress in fighting child poverty, but child poverty is still not close to eradication. Here are six crucial facts about child poverty in India.

6 Facts About Child Poverty in India

  1. India accounts for 30% of all children living in extreme global poverty. South Asia accounts for 36% of children in extreme poverty, but India alone covers almost all of this. India is home to the greatest number of impoverished children on Earth.
  2. Children are more likely to live in extreme poverty than adults. A recent study that the World Bank Group and UNICEF conducted, titled “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children,” found that extreme poverty disproportionately affects children. Despite making up only a third of the studied population, children accounted for half of the extremely impoverished. Children are roughly 50% more likely to live in extreme poverty than adults.
  3. Children are also most damaged by the effects of living in extreme poverty. The development of the body and mind is stunted when a child endures the deprivation of basic needs. Children in extreme poverty generally lack more resources than others in extreme poverty as well —  a deadly combination. As UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake puts it, “They are the worst off of the worst off.”
  4. The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged millions more Indian children into poverty. Globally, 150 million additional children have ended up in poverty since the start of the pandemic. Since India accounts for 30% of children in extreme global poverty, this means that as many as (or even greater than) 45 million more children in India are facing poverty in the last several months.
  5. The United States government is fighting child poverty in India. The United States Agency for International Development has made it a priority to fight child malnourishment and child mortality in India. In the last 30 years, USAID funding has helped save the lives of more than 2 million Indian children by providing resources for extremely impoverished children.
  6. NGOs around the world are saving the lives of Indian children as well. Save the Children, a nonprofit organization with an aim of ending extreme child poverty across the globe, is one organization that prevents poverty-related child mortality in India. Thanks to its efforts in providing resources to India’s impoverished, the organization has managed to lift more than 86,000 children out of poverty.

While extreme child poverty in India continues to cost Indian children their lives every day, the situation is improving significantly thanks to these global efforts. In order to continue these efforts and eradicate child poverty from India, further funding for poverty-fighting programs, both current and new, will be necessary.

Asa Scott 
Photo: Flickr