Brightlife Brings Financial Inclusion
BrightLife is a program from FINCA, the microfinance organization. The program is a Uganda-based, social enterprise that pairs access to finance with access to energy. This allows for connections to financial inclusion for the “unbanked.” BrightLife brings financial inclusion to Ugandans and clean energy products to poor and impoverished areas through multiple initiatives and products. BrightLife ensures financial inclusion and wellbeing for those areas. People pay for their BrightLife products with a system called PAYGO. This allows people to pay for only the electricity they use as they go. This then allows BrightLife to build credit profiles for “unbanked” people and connect them with FINCA.

The Situation in Uganda

There are currently 1 billion people in the world living without electricity and 73% of the Ugandan population does not have access to electricity. People living without electricity must often use insufficient fuels to heat, light and energize their homes. This can then lead to indoor air pollution causing premature death. These energy uses are also dangerous in homes since they can cause fires.

Lack of energy in any area can cause a cycle of poverty since so many people cannot access the most basic necessities. This is why BrightLife brings financial inclusion to Ugandans. As FINCA states, the program “provides last-mile distribution and end-user financing for products that create healthier and safer homes, increase productivity, reduce household expenses and provide additional income-generating opportunities.”

BrightLife’s Impact

To date, BrightLife has impacted over 202,000 lives with clean energy. By providing education, distribution, financing and after-sale support, BrightLife is able to bring clean energy products like home appliances to people who cannot acquire them. However, access to energy is just the first step in FINCA’s BrightLife enterprise.

BrightLife announced a new product called “Prosper” in March 2019 to further its impact on the Ugandan people. Prosper is an initiative that helps Ugandans access the clean energy that BrightLife provides. Then, Prosper helps people transition from unbanked to FINCA Uganda where they can access savings and credit opportunities, increasing their financial inclusion.

A Better Tomorrow with BrightLife

Now, BrightLife is working to better understand the solar energy needs of their clients and is positioning itself to serve communities more efficiently. Through COVID-19, it has been able to grant access to solar lanterns and give students the ability to still get the education they need from home. Since BrightLife brings financial inclusion to Ugandans, it also won the Smart Communities Coalition Innovation Fund grant. As USAID reported, this grant will allow for the development of “a solar-powered hatchery” and small-scale solar systems used for poultry farming in Kiryandongo, Uganda.

– Grace Aprahamian
Photo: Flickr

4 innovative solutions that are helping refugees

In the world today, there are nearly 26 million refugees who have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution and ongoing conflict. Refugees are among the world’s most vulnerable populations and are at risk of severe physical and mental health repercussions. Despite the limited access to resources and the substandard conditions that refugees face daily, advancements and innovations in refugee camps have eased these burdens. In times of strife and hardship, people can create something extraordinary and beneficial for society. Here are four innovative solutions that are helping refugees manage life in refugee camps.

4 Innovative Solutions Aiding Refugees

  1. Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS), a World Vision program, was created to improve efficacy and accountability in humanitarian service delivery. This innovative technological solution ensures that aid recipients are tracked without error, rations are precisely calculated and dispensed and online reports are immediately accessible for stakeholders and donors who are at the base of key operations. LMMS also helps address issues affecting aid deliverance, including prolonged wait times, inaccurate tracking of supplies and inventory and errors in allotments to families. This program has been established in more than 30 countries by 20 different humanitarian groups, registering more than 10 million aid recipients.
  2. In Jordan’s Za’atari camp, Syrian refugees are converting caravans into serviceable facilities, such as shops, homes and furniture. A 2014 study asserts that nearly 64% of Za’atari’s businesses work from caravans. It is also estimated that approximately 10% of women in Za’atari are operating craft-making and other businesses from these adaptable vehicles. Most of the shops’ shelving, signs, and general household items are made from the same wood paneling that comes from these caravans’ flooring. Through the conversion and adaptive use of caravans, Syrian refugees have shown that there are creative ways to use the resources available to them to obtain a higher quality of life.
  3. Community kitchens in camps such as the Kutupalong refugee camp are equipped with gas stoves, allowing many refugee mothers to feed their families nutritious food and minimizing the dangers of cooking with an open fire. This innovative solution is a frugal choice when it comes to getting daily meals. Because of its implementation, refugees do not have to buy firewood and can better allocate their money toward food and other necessities. Beyond this, community kitchens are much more than safe areas to cook and affordable cooking alternatives. These are places where women get together and empower each other to become leaders in their communities, help each other solve problems and make informed decisions for their families’ well-being.
  4. Hand-made dynamos have changed the tides in Kenya’s Kakuma camp. Kakuma is not connected to the national power grid, so homes and businesses depend on solar power and generators to generate electricity daily. William, a Burundian installation expert, has been the go-to mechanic for dozens of business owners who need electricity in the camp. He once used an old treadmill to build a dynamo and has been redesigning the devices based upon the accessibility of resources, including fans and condensers from trashed air conditioners. In his workshops, William trains refugees so they can bring a set of general skills to meet the challenges in refugee camps.

Refugees and allied partners have shown their resourcefulness and resilience when placed in challenging situations. Many refugees do not allow the substandard living conditions they must reside in to hold back their desire to change the unfavorable systems and their circumstances. Refugees have demonstrated that innovative solutions come in many forms and that building community is key to improving refugees’ quality of life.

—Sarah Uddin
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in Israel
Israel has one of the highest poverty rates among developed countries. In 2016, approximately 21% of Israelis were below the poverty line. Despite this prevalent issue, the country has yet to adopt a system for combating homelessness. The Israeli Association for Civil Rights reported 25,000 homeless people residing in Israel, though the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services accounted for just 1,872 people living on the streets. Due to social services’ stringent standards for qualifying people as “homeless,” thousands of street dwellers and otherwise vulnerable people are unable to find permanent housing and meet their basic living needs. These three organizations have acknowledged the housing crisis and are fighting homelessness in Israel by providing positive communities, social support and safe housing opportunities to those most in need.

 3 Organizations Fighting Homelessness in Israel

  1. Homeless World Cup Foundation. This organization works in Tel Aviv to support Football for the Homeless, a program that coordinates weekly training sessions for homeless adults. The Homeless World Cup Foundation organizes an annual week-long soccer tournament with over 500 players from countries around the world, all of whom have experienced homelessness. In 2019, the Cardiff 2019 Homeless World Cup attracted over 80,000 spectators as well as millions of online viewers. Participants’ social workers typically refer them to the Football for the Homeless training program. In addition to playing soccer, participants can gain coaching qualifications to help maintain the program’s sustainable business structure. In 2019, Israel sent three teams (two from Tel Aviv and one from Jerusalem) with four players each to the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff, Wales.
  2. Israel Homeless Association. The Israel Homeless Association (IHA) supports young professionals and families who have become homeless due to economic upheaval in the Middle East and diminishing social services in Israel. Examples of such beneficiaries include young parents living in tent cities or those unable to afford public transportation to work outside of their neighborhood. For three consecutive years, IHA has provided clothing to every person registered with the Homeless Offices in Beer Sheva and Eilat. The organization also collaborated with members of the Knesset to relocate seven families subject to forcible evacuation in Beer Sheva, and later distributed over $7,500 worth of toys to 130 displaced children in the Negev region. Such accolades have contributed to IHA’s ranking as one of the premier micro-charities in Israel.
  3. ELEM / Youth in Distress in Israel. ELEM / Youth in Distress in Israel aims to “treat and transform” the lives of vulnerable young people in Israel. ELEM’s 285 professionals and 2,000 volunteers make the organization one of the region’s leading nonprofits. ELEM serves 21,000 youth on an annual basis and cites the 100,000 children seeking its services as evidence for the urgent need to support Israel’s young people in crisis. This year, ELEM funded 82 youth programs that provide services such as mentoring, counseling and vocational training in 42 cities across Israel. To help protect highly vulnerable young women living on the street, ELEM founded The Shelter for Homeless Young Women in Jerusalem. The shelter serves 18- to 26-year-old women struggling with substance use disorders, prostitution and estranged family members. This space offers these women unconditional humanitarian aid, clothing, hot food, showers and legal advice. In 2018, the shelter succeeded in increasing street patrols to protect vulnerable women in the neighborhood, developing a professional training course for new volunteers and moving to a renovated new building. In the future, ELEM hopes to further develop the shelter to allow for extended opening hours and continued support for young women following their stays at the shelter.

A Long-term Solution

Due to the dynamic and diverse nature of homelessness, Israel’s policies governing social and housing services struggle to account for a significant portion of this population. The aforementioned organizations work to fill the housing gap that the government left by creating positive and sustainable living experiences for Israel’s homeless population; however, additional work is necessary to reduce homelessness in Israel.

In response to the city’s homelessness crisis, the Tel Aviv municipality is planning to implement Housing First programming. Housing First is an innovative model for addressing urban homelessness that multiple cities across the United States has already adopted along with countries including France, Denmark and Finland.

In exchange for 30% of their income and coordinated check-ins from program representatives, Housing First residents have 24/7 access to a one-room apartment and other long-term benefits. Following their transitions into permanent housing, residents receive supportive services and swift connection to opportunities within their local communities.

In January 2020, Housing First was still in its very early planning stages and some have noted the significant need for government funding; however, Tel Aviv City Hall states that its social services department continues to closely investigate the model. Despite the financial and political challenges of implementing a new strategy for managing homelessness in Israel, city officials reported that “the existing solutions are short-term and in too many cases don’t free the homeless from the circle of suffering…we are not giving up and are examining innovative methods used around the world.”

– Lindsay Rosenthal
Photo: Wikipedia


Clean Water in Papua New Guinea
Nestled on the eastern coast of the Island of New Guinea, just north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is home to the third-largest rainforest, over 839 spoken languages and countless commodities like cocoa, coffee and palm oil. The country boasts a diverse topography ranging from coastal towns and river valleys to mountainous highlands. The tribal communities within its borders are as diverse as the landscapes they inhabit. However, there is a lack of clean water in Papua New Guinea.

Lack of Clean Water and Sanitation Facilities

Despite its ecological diversity and recent economic development, the country still lacks one of the most vital resources of all: clean water. The consequences of the clean water and improved sanitation facility shortage are both dire and systematic. This affects current populations and the future prosperity of the country. The country ranks second-lowest in access to safe water in the world because of its wide range of challenging geographies which make accessing some rural areas nearly impossible. According to the World Bank Systematic Diagnostic, only 13 percent of rural areas have access to improved facilities. In addition, only 33 percent of rural areas have access to clean water in Papua New Guinea.


Rural areas experiencing substantially lower levels of access are more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses such as dysentery, cholera, malaria and diarrhea. These illnesses are leading causes of the high infant mortality rate, which according to UNICEF’s most recent estimate is about 38 deaths per 1,000 live births. According to 2016 estimates, the mortality rate of diarrheal diseases from exposure to unsafe WASH services is 16.3 per 100,000.

Even in less severe instances, these shortcomings cause malnutrition and stunted growth. It is also a cause of socioeconomic obstacles such as lack of education due to infection. Additionally, this leads to reduced social mobility for communities in rural areas.

Water Access

The prevailing means of getting water is to carry it up from the river in jerry cans. This can be time-consuming and often dangerous for the women and girls burdened with the task. Some larger institutions with adequate roofing such as the Madan Coffee Plantation, hospitals and various schools are equipped with rain catchment systems. Those institutions will occasionally allow surrounding communities to access the water reserves at certain times during the day. The dry season lasts from June through September, during which even these communities rely on the river to supply their water. Larger water systems may also include sky hydrants. The sky hydrants utilize piping to bring water up from the river before sending it through a filtration system. Then, it will send the water back down to the communities in need. These systems are far less common as they require substantial financial resources for initial investment and cost of maintenance.

Sanitation Facilities

Lack of improved sanitation facilities is even more widespread and arguably more detrimental to the health of Papua New Guineans since many will take to the river as an alternative. When the Borgen Project interviewed Laura Elizabeth Combee, a nurse who volunteers with Water Hands Hope, about the water conditions in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, she said that “You just see people living in bamboo walls and you see people carrying water from the side of the mountain. And maybe the water is fine, but what are the people on top of the mountain doing? Do you know? So, you don’t know what is contaminating the water.”

One of the most effective alternatives is ash and hay toilets or composting toilets. This catches excrement in two separate compartments before respectively covering them with either ash or hay. This process allows for more sanitary water sources and allows populations to use the remnants as a fertilizer for agricultural purposes. While highly efficient, the use of these is not widespread as there is a lack of information and knowhow.

Water Hands Hope

One of the organizations working to remedy the shortage of clean water in Papua New Guinea is Water Hands Hope. Founded in 2014, the mission of this small Honolulu-based NGO is to use a network of local communities and volunteers to develop and implement WASH infrastructure, deliver community-based educational services and provide medical assistance and clinical work.

Laura Elizabeth Combee uses her medical knowledge to promote, educate and report on water sanitation in rural areas of Papua New Guinea. Two regions in which she volunteers are the Wagi Wan community surrounding the Madan Coffee Plantation and the town of Kundiawa, both located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Participants in Water Hands Hope

During educational sessions, Water Hands Hope advises participant groups to boil water. This process would rid it of any parasites, viruses and protozoa. Additionally, it is the leading cause of waterborne illnesses.

Returning participants aware of the risks associated with unsterilized water grieve that without electricity, they often have to complete other more pressing tasks during the limited daytime, such as tending to the gardens for nourishment or working on the plantation. Lack of electricity is one of the main developmental obstacles that people in the country face.

Even if water systems are in place, there are plenty of hindrances that might deny people access to clean water in Papua New Guinea. Sometimes people have limited water access due to a lack of maintenance or a piece going missing and causing the whole system to be dysfunctional. Other times, the reasons might be because of culture or tradition.

Victoria-Maxine Haburka
Photo: Flickr

10 Charitable Subscription BoxesFrom comics to coffee, there is a myriad of subscription boxes on the market today. Whether it is the theme or the surprise inside, it is all part of the fun. But, what if purchasing a subscription box could benefit people in need. This article will focus on 10 charitable subscription boxes and how they are giving back to people in needs around the world.

10 Charitable Subscription Boxes

  1. The Bookworm Box: Founded by young adult author Colleen Hoover, the Bookworm Box boasts “good deeds, great reads.” Depending on the subscription, the box includes one or two autographed books, bookmarks, pens, journals, keychains, coffee cups and more. The best part is that the proceeds from each box are donated to charities that focus on supplying clean water, disaster relief and more to nations in need. It costs between $29.99-39.99 per month.

  2. Anchor of Hope: Refugees, survivors of human trafficking and others in unsafe situations are crafting items for Anchor of Hope. Each month, the curators meet with women, teach them a new skill and pay them for their work. The artisans are from around the globe, including India, Asia and Haiti. Anchor of Hope includes two to four handmade items, such as jewelry and ceramics. The proceeds go directly towards the artisans and their families. It costs $33 per month.

  3. Happy Rebel Box: Happy Rebel Box is a seasonal subscription box directed toward women with an edgy sense of style. Besides fashion, Happy Rebel Box also includes beauty and lifestyle pieces. With each purchase, 10 percent of the proceeds will go toward non-profit organizations that specialize in helping women across the globe. These organizations provide women with access to healthcare and education as well as relief for those affected by abuse, poverty and trafficking. It has a quarterly subscription of $100 or an annual cost at $380.

  4. BuddhiBox: Founded by yoga teacher Maxine Chapman, BuddhiBox is designed to complement the “yogi lifestyle.” Containing cruelty-free and ethically sourced products, BuddhiBox is intended to enhance the practice of yoga and the spiritual lifestyle. Each month, BuddhiBox selects as a different global charity and donates a portion of their sales. The cost $16.95 per month to $49.95 every three months.

  5. KirillsTea: Love tea? KirillsTea offers a variety of loose-leaf teas in three different monthly subscriptions. Using only fresh ingredients and whole herbs, KirillsTea supports enjoying a cup up tea while giving back. With each purchase, KirillsTea donates to global humanitarian aid organizations, such as The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It costs $21.66 to $47.08 per month.

  6. My Be Better Box: My Be Better Box is exactly as it sounds. This subscription box is targeted for ambitious individuals looking for self-guided improvement in their daily lives. Through wellness products and the Be Better Movement campaign, My Be Better Box encourages buyers to complete challenges. With each completed challenge, My Be Better Box will donate to Every Mother Counts. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization that focuses on making pregnancy and childbirth safe around the world. It costs $39.95 every two months.

  7. The Wordy Traveler: Love to travel? The Wordy Traveler is a quarterly subscription box dedicated to adventurous explorers. The box contains carefully selected travel books, limited edition artwork and even tea. With each subscription, a portion of the proceeds will go to supplying women and children with healthcare and education. This box costs $38-$89.99 for three months depending on the package level.

  8. GlobeIn: GlobeIn is discovering “the soul of craft” by traveling around the world in search of craftwork that is disappearing. Working directly with artists around the world, GlobeIn offers a variety of different items in their boxes, such as woven baskets and coasters. Each month, an artisan, or a group of artisans, is featured within the box. By supporting these artisans, not only are they receiving aid to fight poverty but also a better future through the use of their skills. In 2018, GlobeIn invested $3.5 million into artisan communities and provided nearly 2 million hours of work. This box costs $43-48 a month.

  9. Pura Vida: Pura Vida or “pure life”, was founded by two friends, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman. After falling in love with Costa Rica and its struggling local artisans, the two were determined to make a change. Today, Thall and Goodman have teamed up with many Costa Rican artisans to create unique handcrafted bracelets. Pura Vida has expanded and now considers more than 650 artisans their family. Pura Vida has donated nearly $2 million to charity. The Pura Vida Bracelet Club contains three unique and colorful bracelets. Each month costs $14.95 or $132 per year.

  10. CauseBox: CauseBox is a seasonal subscription box created for women. Each item is carefully selected with the intent of creating jobs or empowering artisans. CauseBox has partnered with numerous organizations, such as Freedom Firm, Speak Your Silence and Trees for the Future. For example, in the Summer 2018 box, the Symbology Kimono was crafted by artisans in Jaipur, India. Through this partnership, more than 150 women were given jobs. It is not just the box that is giving back, but the products inside of the box. It costs $49.95 quarterly or $199.80 per year.

There’s a variety of subscription boxes on the market today, but only a select few give back to those in need. By supporting charitable subscription boxes, more than just one person benefits from the purchase, and the effects can last a lifetime.

Emily Beaver
Photo: Flickr

solve global povertyAccording to the World Bank, living in extreme poverty means living on less than $1.90 per day. Although the number of people living in such conditions has been cut in half since 1990, now at less than one billion people, strategies to solve global poverty are still needed. The World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) think the answer can be found in trading.

A developing country’s increased participation in trade has a positive correlation with its decline in poverty. Developing countries now make up 48 percent of world trade, a rise from 33 percent in 2000. Trade has also shown to stimulate economic growth, improve productivity and increase the number and quality of jobs in developing nations.

The joint report provided by the World Bank and the WTO, called “The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty,” provides several examples of the increase in economic growth directly related to an increase in trade. It has also found five areas of focus to solve global poverty:

  1. Lower trade costs
  2. Improve the enabling environment
  3. Intensify integration policies
  4. Address risks faced by the poor
  5. Better understanding to inform policy

Lowering trade costs for deeper integration of markets would allow simpler means for deconstructing barriers restricting economic growth. With these barriers gone, growth and poverty reduction would surely follow.

The organizations assert improving the enabling environment. The environment can be strengthened through policies related to human and physical capital, access to finance, governance and institutions and macroeconomic stability. Solidifying the qualifying environment can be done through pioneering policy contexts that improve discussions with the poor, and target their needs more carefully.

Intensifying the poverty impact of integration policies would help bring greater focus on facing inaccessibility of markets. Reforms to challenge costs created by a lack of competition and other sources of domestic costs are another integral aspect of integration. There is also a key focus on the aspect of women’s challenges in smaller, poverty-driven communities as opposed to those faced by men.

The report tackles managing and mitigating risks faced by the poor. Those within global poverty are already at a higher disadvantage when trade risks arise than those of wealthier, developed countries. By addressing these issues, the report sets forth prioritizing resilience for the poor in order to strengthen the prospects of economic growth and make gains to solve global poverty.

Improving data and analysis to inform policy is requested in order to better understand and implement design and effective policies to maximize the poverty reduction gains from trade. The understanding of global poverty and the nature of the informal economy is essential to address trade-related restrictions.

Though all these assertions are quality actions, there is an overriding theme omitted. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports how global poverty creates environments of ill-health due to inadequate sanitation. For this reason, the WHO’s work includes global advocacy, regional initiatives and direct support to ministries of health in developing countries.

With all these actions put into motion to the fullest extent, the work to solve global poverty can have great success.

– Richard Zarrilli, Jr.

Photo: Pixabay

One of the most innovative technologies used to combat poverty, particularly in places where climatic conditions and rising sea levels impair local agriculture, are floating gardens. Areas such as Bangladesh, which are now below sea level in many places, do not have the land to grow crops; thus, floating gardens allow farmers to grow crops in the absence of arable land. Here is how floating gardens can tackle poverty.

Floating Gardens

Floating gardens were first used by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan, and consisted of a raft woven from water hyacinth on top of which soil and manure were placed. From this structural orientation, farmers have been able to grow crops without the need for adequate farming land.

Today, farmers in many countries, such as Bangladesh, suffer from poor growing conditions due to flooding from monsoons and rising sea levels. It was reported in the New York Times that “the country’s climate scientists and politicians have come to agree that by 2050, rising sea levels will inundate some 17 percent of the land and displace about 18 million people.”

When water saturates soil and air — which plants need for nutrient uptake — growing and cell division are restricted; this process is referred to as waterlogging and is a major concern for farmers in Bangladesh.

Mitigating Obstacles

Farmer productivity is also weakened by lengthy dry periods. According to Practical Action, an organization that fights to mitigate these obstacles for farmers, “Growing conditions are already challenging as the clay soil becomes hard during the dry season (November to March) while prolonged rain during the monsoon (June to October) causes flooding.”

Floating gardens are a way for farmers to adapt to climate conditions and gain control over the production of crops for selling for both their productivity and for their own families. In this way, floating gardens can tackle poverty because they are economically beneficial to farmers who would otherwise have great difficulty doing their jobs.

Practical Action

Practical Action works on aqua-geoponics — special contraptions that combine floating gardens and fish farming — to help secure income for poor families in Bangladesh.

These contraptions increase efficiency and raise income levels for farmers. In addition to raising household incomes, floating gardens also save households money by reducing amounts spent on vegetables as households can now grow their own. According to the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC-Davis, one floating garden provides a family with pesticide-free vegetables for a year.

Food Security

Another benefit of floating gardens is food security. According to the Independent, thanks to the efforts of the Practical Action residents of rural villages in Bangladesh now get at least 1,800 calories per day. In this way, floating gardens have reduced hunger and by growing their own crops, households now have pesticide-free vegetables.

A flyer published by Penn State asserted that potential effects of long-term exposure to pesticides include birth defects, tumors and blood or nerve disorders; in mitigating these effects, there are also health benefits to growing a floating garden.

Floating Gardens Tackle Poverty

There are numerous ways in which floating gardens can tackle poverty, including increased income and efficiency for farmers, and improved health for consumers of the crops. According to the World Bank, agriculture has been a key step in fighting poverty in Bangladesh. Poverty dropped from 48.9 percent to 31.5 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Additionally, over 87 percent of rural people receive some income from agricultural activities. In this way, finding a dependable method of crop production will be key in fighting poverty in countries such as Bangladesh.

– Olivia Booth

Photo: Flickr

solutions to global poverty
Nearly half of the world’s population lives at or below the poverty line; out of the 2.2 billion children in the world, one billion of them live in poverty. Though this issue may not be as prevalent or visible in the U.S., it is an issue that affects everyone. Small steps can be taken to better this problem, leading to possible solutions to global poverty.

  1. Properly Identifying Issues
    One of the largest issues involving poverty is the inability to properly identify contributing factors at the micro and macro level. Many organizations assume that local aid alone will better the problem, but it is only with the combined efforts of local, state and national governments that poverty will lessen.
  1. Allocating Proper Time and Resources
    Preventable diseases such as pneumonia claim the lives of nearly two million children per year. Without proper planning, which includes allocating enough time, money and volunteer work, global poverty will continue to exist. Currently, the U.S. spends only about one percent of the federal budget on foreign aid. By creating detailed plans and projects aimed at helping other nations, global poverty will begin to lessen.
  1. Creating organizations and communities to work locally
    Enacting policy is not the only solution to global poverty, as policy often does not affect those suffering directly. As previously stated, efforts must come from both local and federal domains. Essentially, while policy is created to change legislation, local organizations enact the changes, directly helping those in need. On top of that, working with entire communities instead of specific individuals has been proven to be more effective.
  1. Creating Jobs
    Creating jobs in poverty-ridden communities allows individuals to pull themselves out of poverty. This solution to global poverty is arguably one of the most effective. Federal governments can achieve this by rebuilding their infrastructures, developing renewable energy sources, renovating abandoned housing and raising the minimum wage.
    By raising the minimum wage in existing jobs, companies would combat recent inflation in both developed and developing countries. This change in the states (in places such as Seattle and Washington) has been shown to reduce poverty.
  1. Providing Access to Healthcare
    Unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Having access to free or affordable healthcare would allow families to allocate the money they would normally spend on healthcare elsewhere.
  1. Empowering Women
    Female empowerment in developing countries often comes from organizations that work to reduce poverty by allowing them to take leadership positions and advance socially and economically.
  1. Microfinancing
    Microfinancing provides improvements to socioeconomic status by providing access to more, larger loans, providing better repayment rates for women, as they are less likely to default on their loans than men and extending education programs for loan-payers’ children. It can also improve health and welfare by providing access to clean water and better sanitation, create new jobs and teach developing countries to be more sustainable.
    Microfinancing continues to prove that even the smallest amounts of credit can be one of the many solutions to global poverty.
  1. Provide paid leave and paid sick days
    Paid maternal and paternal leave allows families to save money after childbirth, as having a child is a leading cause of economic hardship. Furthermore, giving workers paid sick days allows them to properly get over their illness without worrying about missing a paycheck or receiving a paycheck with fewer funds than normal.
  1. Supporting equal pay for men and women
    Closing the wage gap between men and women would reduce 50 percent of poverty experienced by women and their families. This would also add money to the nation’s gross domestic product.

Global poverty has proven to be an unruly, frustrating cycle, but eradicating it is within our means. These solutions to global poverty can and should be implemented to begin the end of poverty.

– Chylene Babb

Photo: Flickr

How to Solve Poverty in 10 Steps
The fight against global poverty can be a discouraging one. The number of people suffering is hard to imagine for most middle-class families. While there is a multitude of poverty-stricken individuals, things are not entirely bleak. Poverty rates have been falling in recent years, and the word is getting out. People can make a difference in this fight with the right approach. There are answers on how to solve poverty, and time is showing us just how effective they are.

  1. Improve the training of farmers
    It is so important for developing countries that their agriculture is not only thriving but is sustainable. Teaching sustainable techniques to farmers is one of the ways that demonstrates how to solve poverty, because when a country’s natural resources are at their top potential, so is its economy. Teaching methods to sustain agriculture, investing in proper equipment and instructing farmers on more efficient practices will also improve the quality of life for the farmers themselves.
  2. Establish gender equality
    When asking how to solve poverty globally, a trend keeps popping up: many poverty-stricken countries lack gender equality. The fact is that when women are allowed to participate in the economy through new laws, social acceptance and proper child care for their family, the country thrives. Since roughly half of any country’s population is made up of women, it is not only arguably a moral obligation, but a practical solution for how to solve poverty. Gender equality can mean getting religious leaders involved, spreading awareness through the country’s media with women depicted as capable and even educating the women themselves on their rights.
  3. Ensure clean water
    Having access to clean water is a huge factor in a country’s welfare. Not only does it need to be safe to drink, but it needs to be closer to people’s homes. While most middle-class citizens can just turn on a tap for clean water to pour out of, many poor families spend hours just trying to find water, and it is not always entirely clean. Investing in clean wells and water systems can not only ensure the safety of a country’s citizens but can free up their time, allowing them to better participate in the economy
  4. Reinstate good healthcare
    When a person is healthy, they can go to work, participate in community events (like voting or meetings) and can better contribute to society. Making sure a country has good healthcare is essential to alleviating poverty. This involves widespread vaccinations, investing in better hospitals and resources, training medical professionals and improving hygiene on a national level.
  5. Make education a priority
    A huge factor in how to solve poverty involves education. Lifting a country out of poverty means educating its citizens not only on basics like math and science, but on proper hygiene, gender equality, educating females equally, economic factors and investing in resources for schools. To better the school system in developing nations, not only do the resources and school building need to be improved, but the teachers need to be trained properly and paid. Encouraging school attendance and teacher certification will create a more conscious society, more jobs and better-equipped citizens in the fight against poverty.
  6. Make international aid a bigger part of legislation
    Not all countries can lift themselves out of poverty without help. Most will need aid from wealthier nations. Making that happen through legislation will ensure that funds go towards the struggle against poverty and will improve the global quality of life.
  7. Involve all sectors of the government in the developing country
    When it comes down to it, a nation struggling with poverty needs all hands on deck to resolve it. They need to have educators, businessmen and lawmakers all involved. This will help identify problems in a range of areas and will ensure that as much support as possible is being given.
  8. People abroad and domestically need to speak up
    People in struggling countries need to vote if they can for initiatives to help solve poverty (things like education funding and gender equality laws), and those abroad need to vote to make poverty a focal point of legislation. The government looks to the people for what is important, and if enough people vote on something such as international aid, then it will become a focus.
  9. Direct aid needs to be given
    Throwing money at a problem will never solve anything. Funds need to go to a direct cause. Rather than giving a foreign government money for clean water, fund a well-building project. Rather than giving money to a country to hire more teachers, send teachers in to train some. Do not give money for a solution; give them the solution. This helps sidestep corruption and delay.
  10. Keep the national market open to trade
    Ensure that the governments abroad are staying open to trade with developing countries. This will help fuel the struggling nation’s economy and create more jobs for that country. In the end, the wealthy country gains a new trading partner, and the developing country gains a sustainable way to grow its economy.

While the questions revolving around how to solve poverty are complex and face dead ends at times, there are solutions to the problem. Making sure that a solution is not only effective but sustainable is a priority that always needs to be met. The fight continues and will continue to be fought until all necessary steps are taken.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

Beginning in the late 1980s with resistance to the military government, armed conflict and social disorganization have marked the lives of nearly two generations of Somalis. Because of the ongoing conflict, thousands of Somalis left their homeland due to the fighting and settled in expatriate communities around the globe. In recent years, however, a fragile stability has returned that sees locals and returnees rebuilding Somalia together.

While this remains good news, the return of Somali nationals who were raised or spent upwards of two decades abroad has generated new conflicts. Local Somalis often have a perception that they are entitled to more rights in their native land than those who have spent their lives abroad. Returning nationals often feel that their education and experience position them better to contribute to future peace and stability for Somalia. These preconceptions fuel disagreements regarding prime positions in government and other employment conflicts.

There is a significant culture gap between returnees and local Somalis, but efforts have begun recently to bridge this gap in the name of improving their war-torn country. A symposium was held in June 2017 to bring these groups together and foster an ongoing dialogue about incorporating all Somalis in the nation’s future. These new efforts hope to see locals and returnees rebuilding Somalia together.

One local participant explained, “It was an important workshop in that it brought together diaspora returnees and the locals. The engagements were amicable as the diaspora returnees and their local counterparts held discussions so as to get to understand each other.”

Returnees are a big part of rebuilding Somalia. One United Nations program in recent years has arranged for dozens of short-term positions in Somalia for expatriates with expert qualifications. Some returnees are keenly conscious of the problems incurred by bringing in outsiders. One American returnee who hosted a legal summit with Somali experts and politicians in 2015 was proud to have completed the project with a minimum of international interference.

Vocational and education programs that support returnees are opening opportunities for Somalis no matter their personal history. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees reported in December 2017 on a program in Mogadishu that is providing training through the country’s Returnee Support Center. Their training programs are increasing the quality of life in the Somali capital for both returning nationals and those who stayed through the wars.

Regional organizations are supporting efforts to integrate the diverse Somali population as well. AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, is participating in the talks to unite local and returning populations, and has endorsed their continuing work.

“One of the reasons AMISOM is supporting this great initiative is because cooperation and partnership between Somali Diaspora Returnees and Homeland community is critical for the stability and long-term development of Somalia,” said Dr. Walters Samah, AMISOM Political Officer to ReliefWeb.

Despite the fragility of the current situation, Somalia’s prospects have been improving for years. With luck and dedication, this trajectory will continue with locals and returnees rebuilding Somalia together for a better future.

– Paul Robertson

Photo: Flickr