10 Facts About COVID-19 in Impoverished NationsThe COVID-19 pandemic is affecting countries worldwide, but it has created an additional burden for impoverished nations. The novel coronavirus is creating new concerns for vulnerable communities and is making current issues much worse. Here are 10 facts about COVID-19 in impoverished nations.

10 Facts About COVID-19 in Impoverished Nations

  1. The global poverty rate is projected to increase due to COVID-19. Globally, 71 million people are going to be forced into extreme poverty because of the effects of the novel coronavirus. This is a 0.59% increase in extreme global poverty and the first increase since 1998.
  2. Only 0.01% of people in low-income nations have been tested for COVID-19. In contrast, high-income countries have a test rate of 5.2% and upper-middle-income countries at 2.2%. Due to the lack of healthcare funding and infrastructure, low-income nations cannot meet the high demand for testing. With little access to testing, people in lower-income nations are at a much higher risk of complications with COVID-19 going undetected.
  3. More people in low-income nations are experiencing an income decrease than high-income nations. According to a poll by BBC World Service, 69% of people in poor countries received a pay decrease while 45% of people in high-income countries reported a pay decrease. More specifically, 91% of people in Kenya, 81% in Thailand, 80% in Nigeria, 77% in South Africa, 76% in Indonesia and 74% in Vietnam reported negative financial effects due to COVID-19.
  4. Developing countries may not get the number of vaccines needed to vaccinate the population. The United States, Japan and the European Union pre-purchased a minimum of 3.7 billion COVID-19 vaccines. Developing nations do not have the funds to purchase these vaccines. However, with $5.4 billion, impoverished nations will have sufficient vaccines for their people. The international community has only given $1 billion to this cause, meaning only 10% of people in low-income nations will get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. The number of food-insecure people will double this year because of COVID-19. This means 265 million more people are going to have food insecurity by the end of this year because of the novel coronavirus.
  6. Millions of children do not have access to education due to COVID-19. Half of the students in sub-Saharan Africa have not had access to education since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, about 1% of students in the most impoverished countries have access to the internet for remote learning. As a result, the poverty cycle will continue in developing nations because children do not have access to education.
  7. COVID-19 is causing more conflicts in developing countries. Many conflicts have arisen in developing countries. Riots over food shortages, extremists using COVID-19 to gain control and violent protests against governments are just some conflicts happening because of COVID-19.
  8. Low-income nations do not have enough supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Impoverished communities lack masks, hospital beds, ventilators and other necessary supplies to treat and prevent COVID-19. Lack of healthcare funding causes low-income nations to not have enough hospital beds. Also, the high demand in high-income nations causes masks, testing kits and other supplies to be sent there first, thus leaving developing nations behind.
  9. Death tolls for COVID-19 in developing nations may be much higher than reported. The vast amount of people who live in remote areas in developing countries causes a lack of reported deaths. Hospitals are few in low-income nations, so many people die at home and are buried in remote areas without being recorded.
  10. Of $4.4 billion dedicated to a COVID-19 response by U.S. Congress, only 0.1% is being used for an international response. More monetary funding for developing nations could help these countries get COVID-19 prevention and treatment supplies. Also, funding could help low-income nations feed vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 is yet another barrier to ending global poverty and will be a struggle for impoverished nations to recover from. With the help of the international community, low-income nations may recover from COVID-19 and its secondary effects sooner.

—Hannah Drzewiecki
Photo: Flickr

Facts about Sudan refugees
Historically, Sudan has been the site of great conflict and famine since the mid-twentieth century. As a result, a constant outflow of refugees streamed into neighboring countries and all around the world. Here are ten significant facts about these Sudan refugees.

10 Facts about Sudan Refugees

  1. According to the U.N. Refugee agency, there are currently 666,000 displaced Sudanese. Sudan has recorded high numbers of refugees since 1990.
  2. Major causes for the Sudanese exodus are prolonged civil war and famine. There have been three major Sudanese conflicts and ongoing hostilities since 1969, with the most recent South Sudanese Civil War beginning in 2013.
  3. A major spike in refugees from Sudan occurred following a famine in 1998. In the subsequent six years, Sudan’s refugee numbers doubled before decreasing rapidly during a period of relative stability.
  4. Refugees fleeing Sudan were about half as numerous in 2009, but large-scale ethnic conflicts displaced hundreds of thousands in the 2010s, particularly in the Darfur region.
  5. Neighboring South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, houses many Sudanese refugees, despite the ongoing conflicts in the region. The opposite is also true, with many South Sudanese fleeing north to Sudan, an area that is regarded as slightly safer by the Global Peace index.
  6. Despite the split of Sudan and South Sudan, the Sudanese have continued to seek asylum in other countries since 2011. The number of Sudanese refugees steadily increased through 2014, before decreasing ever so slightly in 2015.
  7. One of the most interesting facts about Sudan refugees are the final places where the migrants eventually end up. The U.S. Census estimated there were about 41,000 Sudanese Americans in 2012, many of whom left Sudan in the 1980s and 90s during civil war. Australia also hosts many Sudan refugees, reporting almost 20,000 in their national census.
  8. The ongoing hostilities and large numbers of refugees have decreased Sudan’s annual population growth rate to less than 1 million per year, lower than Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
  9. While current numbers of refugees from Sudan and South Sudan are undoubtedly high, (both above 600,000) there have been significantly more Sudanese displaced in the past. For example, during the second Sudanese Civil War, approximately 4 million people were forced to leave Sudan.
  10. Despite the extremely complex and difficult nature of the Sudanese exodus, the UNHCR was able to assist 39,470 Sudanese refugees, with 2/3 of them living in adequate dwellings through almost $75 million in aid.

These facts about Sudan refugees are not all-encompassing, but they do offer great insight into the critical Sudanese refugee situation. Fortunately, there’s hope that current peace talks in South Sudan may help stabilize the region, despite the failure of previous regimes to put an end to Sudanese violence.

In the meantime, the UNHCR and refugee-hosting first world countries continue to be an ally for the huge numbers of displaced Sudanese.

John English

Photo: Flickr

Ending Hunger in Italy

In the past few years, remarkable progress has been made toward ending hunger in Italy and throughout Europe. However, there are still 836 million people living in poverty worldwide along with 795 million people struggling with chronic hunger.

By looking at Italy’s approach to addressing hunger and poverty–both domestically and internationally–the achievements and shortcomings of Italy’s social policy reveals the complexities of the fight to end global hunger by 2030.

10 Facts About Ending Hunger in Italy

  1. The rate of undernourishment in Italy is at 5 percent, according to the Global Food Security Index. This low figure is in part due to Italy’s food safety net programs, school lunch programs and high nutritional standards.
  2. Italy has one of the highest child poverty rates in Europe. Children are subsequently more at risk of living in a food insecure household. About 15.9 percent of Italian children live in relative poverty, according to UNICEF. Relative poverty is defined as living in a household where disposable income is less than 50 percent of the national median income when adjusted for family size and composition.
  3. Over one in four Italians are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to Italian news agency ANSA. In 2015, Italy’s poverty risk rate rested at 28.4 percent versus the European Union average of 24.5 percent after years of facing an economic crisis.
  4. According to UNICEF, an estimated 13.3 percent of children in Italy are deprived of some basic necessities even if they don’t live below the poverty line. UNICEF included 14 items on the deprivation index including whether or not children had access to three meals per day, fresh fruits and vegetables every day, and at least one meal with a rich protein source.
  5. If you’re homeless and hungry, it may not be a crime to steal food from a supermarket in Italy, according to an Italian court ruling this year. The Supreme Court of Cassation revoked the conviction of Roman Ostriakov, a homeless man from Ukraine, attempting to leave a supermarket with cheese and sausage in his pocket after only paying for some breadsticks. The circumstances under which Ostriakov stole was enough for the court to decide that he stole in a state of immediate and essential need which does not constitute crime, according to ANSA.
  6. Social welfare resources in Italy, such as the Social Card, are inadequate for alleviating poverty and ending hunger in Italy. According to a national report by Combatting Poverty in Europe (COPE), the Social Card is a debit card charged on a bimonthly basis – financed by public resources and private donations – and is used to purchase groceries and pay basic utilities. The Social Card has been subject to heated debate due to the strict and very limited eligibility of getting a card, and the inadequate financial assistance the card provides to low income families.
  7. In response to the apparent need for improving social welfare programs in Italy, organizations like the Costa Crociere Foundation formed to provide humanitarian assistance. The Costa Crociere Foundation addresses the main causes of poverty by “giving people the tools they need to lift themselves out of hunger” in the long term while working to ease the short-term effects of hunger and homelessness. They do this through food assistance programs and providing shelter for the homeless.
  8. In 2015, Expo Milano was hosted in Milan, Italy centered around the theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life.” The exposition’s primary objective is to foster international dialogue on the challenges concerning food security, malnutrition and sustainable agricultural practices. Expo Milano was visited by an estimated 20 million people, according to the Brookings Institution.
  9. While the Italian government and local organizations continue to grapple with alleviating poverty and ending hunger in Italy, the country is also a top donor for international hunger relief programs. According to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Italy is as a generous donor and partner with IFAD in their shared mission to make food security a reality worldwide. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also recognizes Italy’s contribution to 39 projects that have been implemented in 85 countries “with the aim of addressing poverty and improving food security by enhancing agricultural productivity.
  10. Ending hunger in Italy is not Italy’s only goal. The United Nations, including Italy, aims to end world hunger by 2030. The UN and partner organizations plan to end world hunger by primarily focusing on increasing investment in rural infrastructure and agricultural resources in developing countries and reforming food security policies worldwide.

Daniela N. Sarabia

Photo: Pixabay

Child labor, as defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO), is “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” The persistence of child labor is one of the biggest obstacles to human rights globally. Child Labor perpetuates poverty by depriving children of education and leaving them without the skills needed to secure the future of themselves and their communities. This article sheds light on key child labor facts and the countries where child labor prevails.

Top 10 Child Labor Facts

  1. Much of Indonesia’s tobacco is produced by thousands of children as young as eight. Tobacco cultivation is extremely labor intensive and children are often subjected to serious health risks including nicotine poisoning.
  2. According to the ILO, 168 million children worldwide are engaged in child labor as of 2013.
  3. Of these 168 million children, 85 million are engaged in what the ILO deems “hazardous work.”
  4. According to a study conducted by the ILO in 2004, the benefits of eradicating child labor would “outweigh costs by nearly six to one.”
  5. The sub-Saharan African region has the second highest number of child laborers in the world; about 59 million in 2012. According to the Pew Research Center, 21.4 percent of children aged five to 17 are involved in child labor while 10.4 percent are engaged in hazardous work.
  6. Agriculture accounts for 60 percent of child labor according to the ILO.
  7. Only one out of five children involved in child labor is paid for their work.
  8. The majority of children in child labor perform unpaid family work.
  9. The 10 countries that strategic consulting firm Maplecroft listed as the worst countries for child labor in 2012 were: Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi and Zimbabwe.
  10. About 60 percent of children in Ethiopia are engaged in some form of child labor. Many of these children work in the mining industry; an industry that poses some of the biggest dangers for child laborers.

Many parents in impoverished countries push their children into work out of necessity, unable to sustain their families on their own incomes.

One of the best ways to combat child labor is to provide fair wages and safe working conditions for parents so that they can provide for their families without being forced to depend on their children. To fight against child labor is the fight against global poverty.

– Matt Berg


Sources: Huffington Post, allAfrica, SMH, Rescue, Human Rights Watch, The Guardian, ILO 2, U.S. Department of Labor, Pew Research Center
Photo: Geneva Mission

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global poverty
Although it is true that poverty affects the United States, people often fail to notice how poverty ties the U.S. to the rest of the globe. Here are 10 facts about global poverty that will help you gain a better understanding of the specifics, and also earn you an A on your school report:

1. Poverty Does Not Just Affect Adults

People often overlook the fact that poverty affects a wide array of age groups, including both adults and in many cases, teens and adolescents. Children under the age of 18 are actually 60% more likely to be poor than adults. There are 2.2 billion children in the world, and approximately one billion of those children are currently living in poverty. Furthermore, 48% of the population in developing countries is comprised of impoverished children under the age of 18. In industrialized nations, the percentage of children living in poverty is 21%. Of this large population, approximately nine million children ages 5 and under will die each year from starvation, malnourishment and the inability to survive on $1.25 or less per day.

2. Cutting Global Poverty Will Positively Affect the U.S. as Well

Poverty is slowly wearing away the fabric of the U.S. society. The less the U.S. does to support developing nations, the less support we will receive in the future. Moreover, the differences in income are a threat to the level of investment in the U.S., the level of security and the nation’s profits. By investing resources in poverty stricken countries, we are also investing money in the overall security of Americans. Less money will be needed to support military forces because there will be a severe drop in hostile threats and attacks by other countries.

3. Investing in Other Countries Will Increase the Employment Rate in the U.S.

Building strong economies in developing countries will not only protect the U.S., it will also grow new economic markets. There will be an increase in market consumers as well as a rise in jobs needed to support American exports. This is especially the case since one out of five jobs in the U.S. involves exportation to growing nations. A bigger need for exports means there is a greater request for employment.

4. Heightening Employment Rates Means Lowering Overpopulation

By establishing a rich economy in other countries, the U.S. will also see a decline in overpopulation globally and domestically. Resources will become more immediate and people who were once unable to support their families medically will see a decrease in child mortality rates. It has been proven that countries with larger infant and child mortality rates also tend to be countries struggling with overpopulation.

5. A Lack of Education and Poverty Work Hand in Hand

Research shows that children who are from low-income families are more likely to not attend school. Often times, in low-income households, education takes a backseat to working and caring for family members, but education is also a key determinant for creating progress and pulling developing countries out of poverty. Some families are not able to afford school uniforms and some countries, such as Haiti, require a school fee, which disables children from gaining an education. Students ages 16 to 24 years old who are in low-income families are seven times more likely to drop out of school than students from average to high-income families.

6. Geography Relates to Poverty in the United States

Poverty takes on a geographical pattern in the U.S., with a significantly larger percentage of people living in poverty in the southern states than anywhere else in the U.S. In fact, 41% of those who live in poverty within the U.S. are located within the South; this is as opposed to 24% in the West, 19% in the Midwest and 16% in the Northeast.

7. Poverty Does Not Necessarily Cause Death

The cause of death within communities faced with extreme poverty is most often a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water. As it stands, clean drinking water and sanitary conditions can lower the likelihood of disease and illness and can also help keep communities hydrated; this lowers the risk of dehydration, which can jeopardize immune systems. A failing immune system and lack of sanitary conditions combined can cause very risky conditions for younger children and infants who are already susceptible to disease.

8. Nutrition

Living in poverty often makes it difficult to eat a well-balanced and nutritionally rich diet; foods that provide the necessary ingredients to form a nutrient full meal are usually hard to afford. As such, poor affordability of healthy foods can lead to diets that do not consist of fruits, vegetables, grains and especially meat. The lack of vitamins and minerals found in these foods can cause nutrient deficiencies, which can have a negative affect on mental and physical growth. Food insecurity, as it is called when someone does not know where his or her next meal will come from, is found to correlate directly with poor nutrition.

9. Foreign Aid

Though the public believes that Foreign Aid receives 25% of the Federal Budget, in actuality, only 1% of the Federal Budget is going to Foreign Aid. As it stands, only .5% of the Federal Budget is helping to improve poverty conditions.

10. Cost Comparisons

The U.S. annually spends $28 billion on assisting the world’s poor, but approximately $660 billion on the U.S. Military. This gap within the U.S. funding is a huge indicator of where the nation’s priorities lie. If one in 10 Americans donated their weekly coffee budget towards poverty reduction causes, it could end global poverty.

Poverty is a global issue, and in order for the U.S. to better its population internally it needs to form a positive relationship with other countries. Hopefully these 10 facts illuminate important factors that contribute to poverty and show ways to help eliminate poverty globally.

Rebecca Felcon

Sources: Children’s Defense Fund,, Compassion, Food For the Poor, UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, The Washington Post, The Borgen Project, The Borgen Project
Photo: Mashable