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What The News Does Not Tell You – 3 Poverty Reduction Stories

Poverty Reduction StoriesAlthough the news tends to highlight negative stories surrounding global poverty, The World Bank states that extreme poverty has “rapidly declined.” The following is an overview of stories that demonstrate successes in poverty reduction in the world.

Poverty Reduction in Japan

Established in the year 2000 after the Asian financial crisis, The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) provides “direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).” Furthermore, the JFPR works to encourage socioeconomic development for the long-term future. 

Targeting poverty reduction initiatives, the ADB’s mission is to turn Asia and the Pacific region into a poverty-free place. It strives to “help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.” Home to 66% of the world’s poorest population, 1.7 billion people in this area live on less than $2 a day. The main objectives the ADB occupies for supporting its developing member countries, including Japan, are “policy dialogue, loans, equity investments, guarantees, grants, and technical assistance.” As of March 2013, The JFPR received $615.4 million in contributions from Japan — sustaining project grants and technical assistance. Also, the JFPR encourages the participation of non-government organizations and other stakeholders — assisting the most vulnerable groups in Asia.

Poverty Reduction in Kenya

Good News Network revealed that the use of a mobile money system in Kenya “has lifted 200,000 Kenyan Families Out of Poverty” — especially households with a female-dominant demographic. M-PESA is a text message-based payment system used in Kenya. Good News Network reports that a study published in Science shows that this production raised “2% of households in the country” above the poverty line. 

Research highlights that, in 2007, this invention reached 96% of houses in Kenya. Using an SMS messaging service, sending money or withdrawing or depositing cash does not require complicated bank infrastructures — reaching remote rural areas, too. When discussing the project, Annie Duflo, the Executive Director of Innovations for Poverty Action, said that she hopes “these results will inform and encourage the targeted scaling of mobile money services in other countries. While many other countries have a system, too few have the kind of nationwide infrastructure that now exists in Kenya.”

Poverty Reduction in Tanzania

Ecologi, a climate action community, has a mission to “inspire and empower businesses to accelerate global climate action.” During a project in Tanzania, it installed 500,000 fuel-efficient cookstoves. Unsustainable deforestation is increasing due to many countries worldwide using non-renewable biomass as a source of cooking. Ecologi reports that, in Tanzania, “the primary fuel source for over 90% of the population of around 48 million people is biomass.” 

As well as avoiding the production of 18.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the course of 10 years, it reduces the time and energy spent gathering this fuel — which is a task children and women are most likely to complete. Also, Ecologi mentions that this project in Tanzania “brings several benefits for local people, including freeing up of time and money for other income-generating activities, health benefits due to reducing exposure to air pollution in the home and increased food security due to nutrient retention with decreased cook time.” It coincides with multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.”

Poverty Throughout the World

These stories suggest that poverty is on the decline. However, with 719 million people living in extreme poverty around the world (9.2% of the entire population), there is still a need for more efforts in the fight against global poverty. The U.N. has 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the first being to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” One of the ways it plans to achieve this is to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere” by 2030. This includes ensuring “significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources” and building “the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations.”

– Katerina Petrou
Photo: Pixabay