Currently, 1.3 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. These people live on less than $1.25 per day, which roughly equates to enough money to purchase food, clean water and fuel for two meals.
The Development Committee of the World Bank set the goal of ending extreme poverty by the year 2030 and there has been some progress toward helping those who live in poverty. In the last 30 years, the proportion of the world’s population that lives below the global poverty line has been cut in half.
This was a steady decline, going from 52 percent in 1980, to 43 percent in 1990, 34 percent in 1999 and the latest numbers state that the percentage of people living in poverty was last at 21 percent.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people living in poverty has declined from 58 percent in 1999 to 49 percent in 2010.
“Eradicating poverty in a generation is an ambitious but feasible goal,” stated the United Nations General Assembly.
The decline from 1.9 billion to 1.3 billion is a great change, but there are still 1.3 billion people living without the means to properly support themselves and their families.
However, there are tools that can help elevate people from poverty, including education, health care, water and sanitation, economic security and child participation.
When children receive a quality education, they gain the knowledge and life skills that they need to break the cycle of poverty. Studies have shown that a better-educated workforce, along with a highly trained workforce, is more likely to enjoy higher earnings. This can also allow them to access better healthcare.
Poverty and poor health are “inextricably” linked. The causes of poor health for those around the world can be rooted in political, social and economic injustices. Poverty increases the chances of poor health, which then in turn can trap communities into poverty. Marginalized groups and individuals who may be vulnerable are often affected the worst, deprived of information, money or access to health services that can help them prevent and treat diseases.
Diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria account for nearly half of all child death globally, and many other diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, have affected over a billion people worldwide, thanks in part to poor water and sanitation.
“Sanitation is a cornerstone of public health,” said World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. “Improved sanitation contributes enormously to human health and well-being, especially for girls and women. We know that simple, achievable interventions can reduce the risk of contracting diarrhoeal disease by a third.”
Preventing the spread of diseases also helps improve education for children, allowing them to be an added asset to their community. When children take part in their community, it helps engage them as citizens and aids them toward a higher economic prospect.
Allowing people to grow by giving them what every person should have allows them to grow economically, but by also providing ways to prevent and treat preventable diseases, the economies of developing countries will grow as well — thus shrinking the number of people who live in extreme poverty around the world.
– Monica Newell