It only takes a quick look at the headlines about global poverty in major media outlets to realize that media often prioritizes bad news over the good. Over the years, this has led to social psychologists deducing that humans have developed a “negativity bias,” meaning that humans typically pay attention to bad news over the good. Of course, in the fight against global poverty, it is reductive to solely focus on the bad news as this is likely to significantly destroy morale.
At times, it seems that all hope is lost, and it is easy to just throw in the towel and give the fight up, however, this is a morally unthinkable option. This article sets out five crucial ways in which anyone, no matter their age, job or background, can join the fight and help eradicate poverty across the world. Here are five ways to fight global poverty.
- Be Kind – This is the first, easiest and most important step when joining the fight against global poverty. Setting a foundation of being kind to others can help people see the fight against poverty in a more optimistic light, incentivizing them to be more altruistic and empathetic. This will then allow people to move on to more specific and time-consuming steps in the fight against global poverty.
- Fundraise – It may seem remarkably simple and too good to be true, but studies have shown that fundraising for outstanding charities and organizations that are instruments to fight poverty is one of, if not the most effective ways to help vulnerable people. The school of thought called “Effective Altruism” prioritizes the idea of Giving What We Can (GWWC) to the fight against global poverty, and has a useful charity evaluation guide to help you discern which charity is going to use your fundraising to do the most good to alleviate poverty across the world.
- Contact Local Representatives – Of course, very few institutions have the amount of funding and resources as national governments, and getting in contact with your local government representative can prove a very easy way to make a big difference. Contact can be in any form, from an email, a handwritten letter or attending a local surgery, and could be used to persuade your representative to lobby the government to increase foreign aid to countries adversely impacted by high levels of poverty. This could be particularly effective in the U.K., where the foreign aid budget was recently slashed from 0.7% of GNI to just 0.5%, and calls for a restoration of the budget are growing in significance.
- Volunteer – Yet, another simple way to join the fight against global poverty, volunteering your time for a charity or organization dedicated to the cause can be an extremely effective method of supporting poverty reduction programs across the world, as well as providing an extremely rewarding experience for the volunteers themselves — from something as local as a food bank to something as international as joining the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) program that has a vast network of volunteers and collaborators across the world to locate and help the most vulnerable people suffering in poverty. For example, the Women Economic Empowerment section of the UNV does fantastic work for women and children in Malawi, providing them with entrepreneurship skills and allowing them into the workforce.
- Spread the Message – In the fight against global poverty, people are far stronger together than they are alone. Of course, one person can make a difference, but just think about what 10, 20 or even 100 people could achieve by following these steps! Spreading the message, especially in the age of social media, has never been easier. When the world fights global poverty together, it creates a great synergy that can be of great use.
While eliminating poverty may seem impossible, the above steps can go a long way. Through making efforts to reduce poverty like volunteering, fundraising or advocating for charitable endeavors, everyone can make a difference.
– Tom Lowe