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Universal Basic Income in Kenya
Imagine if one received free money from the government every month, directly into their bank account with no one asking any questions. It may sound too good to be true, yet that is the main premise behind universal basic income or UBI. Universal basic income in Kenya is going a long way toward fighting the results of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Universal Basic Income?

With UBI programs, governments, organizations or private funders deposit direct cash payments to citizens monthly. These deposits occur regardless of status or circumstance with no strings attached. This means no interest and no expectation to recipients to repay the money. UBI programs intend to supplement or even entirely replace other financial social programs and help those struggling financially. The goal of this financial aid is to prevent vulnerable groups from falling deeper into poverty. In addition, it works toward alleviating national poverty on a wider scale.

The idea of universal basic income has long been under debate with skeptics insisting that providing free money to the impoverished would only lower the incentive to work, bankrupt any government who would give it an honest try and fail to address the root causes of poverty. While these criticisms are well grounded, UBI has nonetheless collected a growing base of supporters. Early supporters of a UBI program date back to the Enlightenment, including political activist and philosopher Thomas Paine and French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. In more recent years, supporters have included Silicon Valley giants Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and South African billionaire Elon Musk. Others range from author Milton Friedman to Pope Francis.

UBI in Practice Globally

Perhaps surprisingly, countries all over the world have experimented with UBI programs. What may come as an even bigger shock is that it has been in use in the United States for the last four decades. Since 1982, Alaska has implemented the Alaska Permanent Fund, an investment fund that disperses a dividend of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to every Alaskan resident including children. The results have virtually eliminated extreme poverty in the state. Extreme poverty refers to those living on $2 or less a day.

Outside of North America, UBI programs have undergone implementation in every continent except Antarctica, from Brazil to Japan with a varying degrees of success. This highlights the widespread capabilities and applications that are possible with basic income systems. However, 2020 introduced a new variable to the theory of UBI. How would a basic income system affect communities dealing with the adverse health and economic effects of a global pandemic?

UBI and COVID-19

The longest-running and most ambitious attempt at a universal basic income system is currently underway in Kenya. Since 2016, nonprofit GiveDirectly has been sending direct cash payments to more than 14,000 households in the Siaya and Bomet Counties of Kenya. The mission is to continue the program through 2028. In doing so, it will collect decades worth of data on the effects of UBI on poverty-stricken communities.

However, the unprecedented arrival of COVID-19 has brought disastrous effects to Kenya’s economy and will likely send millions into poverty. The unpredictable addition of a global pandemic has enabled researchers to examine the effects of an established universal basic income infrastructure. This situation provides invaluable insight into how a basic income system might help vulnerable communities cope with a large-scale crisis.

Based in the Siaya and Bomet Counties of Kenya the program split the recipients of cash payments into four groups. These groups included long-term, short-term, lump sum and a control group. For long-term recipients, every adult for the duration of the 12-year program is to receive $0.75 per day. This amount sufficiently covers food expenses and basic health and schooling needs.

The short-term recipients received the same amount for basic needs, $0.75 per day, for two years. The third group received a lump sum that amounted to a one-time payment of $500. Finally, the control group did not receive any payments at all. This allowed an honest comparison amongst villagers to evaluate the significance that UBI payments had on individuals who received payments.

The Results

Those receiving universal basic income in Kenya experienced better food security and were less likely to report experiencing hunger in the past 30 days. This resulted in a widespread improvement in overall rates of hunger. Hunger rates fell from 68% to 57%, with the strongest improvements coming from the long-term group of recipients.

Looking at general health including mental health, UBI recipients showed promising results. Results indicated that payments reduced the probability that an individual would seek medical treatment. Furthermore, households were around six percentage points less likely to report that a household member was ill. Research also suggests that payments reduced hospital utilization, which helped preserve hospital capacity. Having the peace of mind that at least one stream of income would remain steady certainly played a factor in improving the well-being of Kenyan’s facing economic uncertainty.

Universal basic income payments helped individuals stay resilient through the devastating effects of COVID-19. Nevertheless, basic income is still far from a silver bullet for fighting poverty. In Kenya, UBI was not effective at completely protecting recipients from economic hardship, and by nature, a UBI program will expose individuals to economic volatility and cannot guarantee complete financial protection.

However, payments allowed individuals a crucial advantage in holding on to basic needs such as food and healthcare in comparison to those without any basic income payments. This demonstrates that putting the infrastructure in place for universal basic income in Kenya can provide much-needed relief and security to citizens when they need it most.

Andrew Eckas
Photo: Flickr

Financial inclusion can fight povertyRoughly 1.7 billion adults around the world are unbanked and most unbanked adults live in developing countries. Unbanked people have limited political, economic and social power and influence. For roughly half of the world’s unbanked who come from the most impoverished 40% of households in their economies, inaccessible financial services compound problems of poverty. Financial inclusion can fight poverty as it opens doors for people to improve their lives. The pace of technological advancement around the world is bringing universal access to financial services closer to fruition.

The Global Unbanked

Unbanked people are not connected to any type of financial institution. The most commonly cited reasons for being unbanked are not having enough money, account expenses, the distance of financial services and insufficient documentation. Nearly half of the unbanked population falls into just seven economies. The highest numbers of unbanked people are in China and India. It can be clearly noted that banking and poverty are closely related.

“Financial tools for savings, insurance, payments and credit are a vital need for poor people, especially women, and can help families and whole communities lift themselves out of poverty,” says Melinda Gates. Without a bank account, people cannot sufficiently save and the cash is not well protected. The digital economy also has the benefit of keeping a clear record of financial activities, which banks can use when underwriting loans. Loans are among the financial tools that are essential to financial growth and stability.

The Gender Gap

Women make up the majority of the unbanked population in most developing countries. Women may face deepened or additional gender-based barriers to account ownership, rooted in financial institutions, governments or society.

Financial institutions often lack products and policies that are gender-inclusive. For instance, women may find it difficult to obtain the identification or the assets needed to open and maintain an account, sometimes due to government-enforced barriers. Additionally, banking-related expenses are also a burden for women looking to enter the formal economy. Finally, the responsibility of unpaid household labor, along with barriers to education, keep many women from earning enough money to access financial services.

The Societal Roles of Women

Women may earn sufficient money but could be part of society that does not allow for them to connect to a financial institution.

For instance, the tradition of men being the head of household and in control of the finances leaves some women with little to no influence in matters of money. Approximately one in 10 women in developing countries are not involved in spending decisions involving their own earnings.

Women’s Empowerment for Poverty Reduction

Women must be part of financial inclusion efforts as they are integral to fighting poverty. Bill Gates explains that women are most likely to be behind the decisions that benefit the family. More women-led businesses and reduced inequalities are ways that an emphasis on financial inclusion for women can further a nation’s development.

Financial Inclusion Using Fintech

An emerging industry is making strides in financial inclusion. Financial technology (fintech) can be described as technological innovations in the processes and products of financial services. Fintech offers solutions to many of the problems at the root of financial exclusion. A fundamental problem is the lack of time or money to travel to distant financial institutions. Fintech has given users the convenience of accessing their accounts and financial services on a mobile device.

Fintech development has been gaining momentum since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Touchless transactions and banking reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and have led many to embrace digital payment, in business and in personal practice. Fintech leaders are proving that underserved communities can be reached through financial technologies. Significantly, this helps foster financial stability for the formerly excluded.

Female-led fintech, Oraan, is working toward financial equality in Pakistan because women make up 48% of the population but only 6.3% of the formal economy. Oraan developed a platform that allows for digital savings groups. Savings groups can help empower women and ensure financial equity as they are well-established financial tools.

The Road to Universal Access

Because financial inclusion can fight poverty, digitized financial services are an effective way to improve access and inclusion. Online banking communities are empowering individuals and opening up opportunities for economic growth. By facilitating conversations about finances, informing underserved groups on the best financial practices and ensuring digital finance infrastructure is accessible, the world can make greater strides toward financial inclusion.

Payton Unger
Photo: Flickr

Stem Cells Fight Hunger Meat is everywhere in modern-day life, found at food trucks, the local grocer and luxurious restaurants alike. As ubiquitous as conventional meat seems, lab-based stem cell techniques continue to show promise in developing alternative sources of protein for the world’s carnivores. Along with plant-based substitutes, these cell-based alternatives are an innovation that seeks to reduce the known consequences of mass meat consumption. Perhaps one day, society may see stem cells fight hunger on a global scale.

Traditionally Sourced Meat

Meat, in all potential forms, is essential because of the proteins and nutrients it contains. This is particularly true for lower-income families. Due to its availability in many regions, meat serves a vital role in composing people’s diets. In fact, a 2018 article observes that “Both the global average per capita consumption of meat and the total amount of meat consumed are rising, driven by increasing average individual incomes and by population growth.” Thus, meat is a valuable resource due to the nourishment and food security that it can provide. Yet, the livestock requirements for an exponentially growing human population are significant.

The Rising Consumption of Resources

As of the last decade, 92% of all the freshwater that humanity consumes goes toward agriculture. About 33% of that is used for animal products. Not only do cattle, poultry and other livestock need water to drink, but their plant-based food sources need large amounts of water to grow. At the same time, the land devoted to supporting livestock raised for consumption takes up nearly 80% of all available agricultural land. Barring any major change, animal farming will likely continue to be extremely resource-intensive. This poses problems in a world that constantly demands more.

Memphis Meats

One company that recognizes the global need for sustainable meat is pursuing a new avenue of development: using stem cells to fight hunger. Memphis Meats, a startup founded in 2015, has received capital from investors like Bill Gates and Richard Branson. The company focuses on growing stem cells as meat alternatives. Pre-selected animal stem cells, when grown in Memphis Meats’ cultivators, can turn into real meat. While the company is still refining and enhancing its process, it shows promise.

Furthermore, the company has raised $161 million after its most recent call for investment. These funds will go toward further development and a new production facility. According to the Memphis Meats website, “At scale, our process will create less waste while dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Memphis Meats therefore reaffirms that despite the potential problems of the animal agriculture current system, practical, sustainable business solutions do exist. Their work provides the possibility that stem cells could fight hunger in the near future.

A Look into the Crystal Ball

As concerns over livestock and agriculture stack up alongside concern over feeding a population of billions, these priorities may conflict. Easy answers are rarely easy to find. However, cell-based meat could provide an entirely new, sustainable source of food. At the same time, it could allow for a large-scale change in the management of the Earth’s land and water. Growing investments in this startup industry can also be a powerful force for change on a large scale.

Moreover, meat made from growing stem cells carries with it the potential to allow for important reallocations of currently available protein sources. This could one day substantially increase the international food supply while keeping it environmentally and socially conscious. It may sound farfetched that stem cells could fight hunger, but the necessity of a solution and initiatives like Memphis Meats suggest that this idea is not so far-off.

Alan Mathew
Photo: Unsplash

'Developed' and 'Developing'While the categories of ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ to describe countries may have been useful in the 1960s, Bill Gates and Hans Rosling—author of the book “Factfulness”—have begun using a new categorical system; four distinct income levels are now recognized as a more accurate way to describe countries and the range between them.

‘Developed’ and ‘Developing’ Countries

The terms ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ have become almost universal terms to describe the economy or wealth of countries. However, there is not one specific definition for these terms. Organizations such as the United Nations use the terms colloquially. However, they never introduced a specific, measurable definition for what actually classifies whether a country is developed or still developing.

In the 1960s, the terms were mostly based on infant mortality and birth rates. Developed countries had lower mortality and birth rates while developing countries had higher infant mortality and birth rates.

But ‘developed’ and “developing” have become outdated in this way, as just about every country in the world has improved infant mortality rates since the 1960s. In fact, some ‘developing’ countries of today have lower infant mortality rates than ‘developed’ countries in 1960.

Overall, the two terms are incapable of separating countries beyond ‘rich’ and ‘poor.’ This is a problem because the majority of people in most countries live somewhere in the middle. In fact, one can label 85% of countries as ‘developed.’ Meanwhile, 15% are in between and one can consider only 6% as “developing” in terms of fertility and mortality rates. That is why Hans Rosling uses four income levels to describe all countries instead.

The Four Income Levels

  • Level One: The majority of people live in extreme poverty on a daily income of $2 or less per day. Countries such as Lesotho and Madagascar are currently level one countries. For many people in level one, the main mode of transportation is walking. Some may not even have their own pair of shoes to travel in. In these countries, infant mortality, hunger and preventable disease prevalence are high. Approximately 1 billion people live at this level.
  • Level Two: People in countries such as China, Nigeria and Bangladesh generally live on $2 to $8 per day. They may ride a bicycle instead of walking, and they have their own pair of shoes. An estimated 2 billion people live at level two, which is more than any other level.
  • Level Three: In countries such as Egypt, Rwanda and the Philippines, about 2 billion people live on $8 to $32 per day. Transportation may include electric bikes, scooters, public transportation and cars. About 2 billion people live at level three.
  • Level Four: The wealthiest countries make up level four. The average person having an income of more than $32 per day. There is a large market for nice cars and houses. Simple necessities like clean water and nutritional food are widely available. The United States, Mexico, much of Europe and South Africa are some examples of countries at this income level.

This four-tiered system does not completely account for the variations within countries, but it provides more information than the previous terms. For example, some people living in level one countries are significantly richer than the $2 per day average, and many people living in level four countries experience poverty.

However, organizing countries in this way allows for a more accurate measure of progress. Bill Gates has argued that “It’s hard to pick up on progress if you divide the world into rich countries and poor countries. When those are the only two options, you’re more likely to think anyone who doesn’t have a certain quality of life is ‘poor.’” It is important to properly track global progress and development. We can then use the information to understand where further action must be taken.

A New Official Classification

It is difficult to distinguish between various countries with only two terms. The World Economic Forum stopped using the terms ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ in official reports. Instead, it has used a similar four-tiered categorization since 2016. The World Economic Forum states that it will now collect data “for the whole world, for regions, and for income groups – but not for the ‘developing world’ (or the sum of low and middle income).” Similarly, in 2016, the World Bank released a working paper looking into classifying countries by income as well.

According to Bill Gates, “Any categorization that lumps together China and the Democratic Republic of Congo is too broad to be useful.” Using these levels in data analysis creates a better understanding of variations between countries and their incomes.

Sydney Bazilian
Photo: Unsplash

Gates Foundation Poverty China
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have used their private organization, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to aid China in its goal to eradicate poverty by 2020. Meanwhile, China has had several issues that have contributed to its problems with poverty, including its transition to becoming a more urbanized country back in 2012. The urban population has risen to 52 percent, which is more than the rural population at 48 percent. People continue to move into urban sections of the country in search of better-paying jobs. This becomes a problem as poverty increases as people end up taking underpaying jobs while the cost of living also goes up. Another problem was that 170,000 students attended school in 2010 in Shanghai, while more than three times that amount worked on farms in that same city.

The Game Plan

The Gates Foundation Poverty China project launched a campaign called Goalkeepers to help quicken the process towards ending not only poverty but also inequality and injustice. This coincides with helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include gaining quality education, clean water and sanitation, along with universal health care for all.

Despite the issues that a more urbanized China has, it has produced positive results during the past 70 years by lifting over 850 million people out of poverty over a span of 40 years. Meanwhile, others have developed their own plans to get themselves out of poverty by using business sense. One example is when a local Shibadong farmer named Shi Quanhou worked his way out of poverty by running an agritainment farm. Agritainment is a compound word for farms that include both agriculture and entertainment. These farms might include pumpkin patches, petting zoos and corn mazes, among other attractions for a family-friendly atmosphere. Although one cannot say this about other farmers, Quanhou underwent this plan in a desperate measure to help him provide a more secure and prosperous life for his family. Farmers have also found a 12.1 percent increase in their income by transitioning their farms to agritainment farms.

China’s Success

Furthermore, assigned teams have gone to farms and villages to investigate how those areas are performing, making sure that those with struggling land receive assistance. China has also promoted poverty alleviation, which includes e-commerce and providing employment opportunities for over 2.5 million people. It also originated more than 30,000 poverty reduction workshops and classes in order for attendees to gain employment close to home.

With many people still underprivileged, The Gates Foundation Poverty China project also offered its support during this stretch with three solutions that incorporate working with government agencies, advocating for financial services, health care and childhood nutrition. The organization also added a partnership with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development to research how to remedy these issues through experience within China and also between China and other countries. Establishing stronger platforms that encourage participation in the relief efforts to end poverty has also been part of its long term plan. The Gates Foundation Poverty China is closing in on completing what could very well be the largest turnaround of this global issue in the world’s history.

Helping Health

The Gates Foundation Poverty China plan includes a $33 million grant to combat tuberculosis to the Chinese Ministry of Health. This partnership intends to better detect tuberculosis cases and find a cure for those suffering from it. With over 1.5 million cases each year, this partnership is providing innovative tests, along with patient monitoring strategies to deliver improved treatment and diagnoses across the country.

Additionally, China has developed a plan to decrease TB by creating The Chinese Infectious and Endemic Disease Control Project (IEDC) back in 1991. The World Bank partly funded $58 million to it and the World Health Organization developed it in 1989. The IEDC was a booming success, curing 85 percent of identified patients within two years of its implementation. TB cases decreased by over 36 percent between 1990 and 2000, about 4.1 percent each year.

Infinite Improvement

People have widely recognized China for its dramatic improvement. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out that China has contributed the most to its cause over the last decade. This turnaround means that the livelihoods of many will boost China’s economy and build a more prosperous nation. With that plan in motion, China has almost eradicated rural poverty by refocusing on areas where the poorest live in places with poor infrastructure and have special needs. China went from a staggering 97.5 percent in 1978 to a meager 3.1 percent among the rural population at the end of 2017. With 2020 already underway, President Xi Jinping has informed the Chinese people that anyone in an impoverished state should receive medical benefits, such as insurance, aid and allowances. With the Gates Foundation Poverty China plan and China’s campaigns and multiple partnerships with local governments, China’s ability to avert its national catastrophe will not only gain global attention from other suffering countries or have more fortunate nations lend a hand, but will be able to lend help of its own.

Tom Cintula
Photo: Flickr

 

transportation impacts poverty
Transportation impacts global poverty in ways that are both obvious and subtle. If the job market is centered in an urban area and potential workers live in a distant, rural area, their immediate survival depends on access to transportation. On a larger scale, the ability for a developing country to transcend poverty and become productive and prosperous depends a great deal on the transportation systems that are implemented with the help of foreign aid. This article analyzes five ways transportation impacts global poverty.

Five Ways Transportation Impacts Global Poverty

  1. Rural isolation arguably deserves its own list of ways transportation impacts global poverty because it has so many consequences that perpetuate continued destitution. For example, farmers in isolated rural environments often fail to reach their economic potential because they cannot easily access marketplaces that offer seeds, fertilizers and other tools for agricultural success.
  2. Other casualties of rural isolation are the elderly or otherwise infirm. Healthcare services are usually in centralized urban locations. Even if the poor and sick or even the old, pregnant or injured can afford the costs associated with health services, they are often unable to get to where the providers are if they live in rural communities. World Bank has helped to address this in developing regions of India, Georgia and Vietnam by subsidizing travel costs and making health professionals available in more remote areas.
  3. Investing in basic infrastructure is often one of the most significant ways in which transportation impacts global poverty. The building of roads, trails and bridges creates greater accessibility even for those who can only travel on foot. Jobs are created to facilitate these developments, and there are often new modes of public transportation implemented to make use of newly created roads or railroad tracks. This helps to minimize the travel time between rural and urban regions. Bill Gates asserts that while domestic resources can and should be utilized for infrastructure investment, global aid is a critical component as well. An investment in a developing country ultimately benefits the entire world, including the wealthiest nations.
  4. It stands to reason that the more easily a population can access educational facilities, the more educated that population is likely to be. People living more than an hour’s walk from the main road in Papua New Guinea were shown to be experiencing twice as much poverty as those living closer to the road. Building new roads and providing greater access to transportation resulted in an increase in education enrollment and literacy as well as an overall decrease in poverty.
  5. A theory known as “spatial mismatch” describes a phenomenon in which those who can easily pay for transportation, whether by automobile or public means, move away from congested urban regions. This creates a problem for the poor because the market often follows the wealthy as do the jobs. In developing countries, this is especially problematic since it feeds a cycle of poverty in which cheap housing options are only available in areas where there are few amenities, poor transportation options and limited jobs.

Writer Wilfred Owen asserts, “Continuing global prosperity is contingent on the very large volume of trade with developing countries and on the foreign investment opportunities they provide.” This will not be feasible without a short-term investment in the infrastructure and transportation systems of those developing countries. While the governments of the developing nations play a vital role in upgrading transportation options in their countries, foreign aid must also play a part. As this article shows, transportation impacts global poverty; therefore, it is not a simple matter of charity but rather a wise investment in our global future.

Raquel Ramos
Photo: Flickr

Gates Plans to Eradicate Malaria

Bill Gates is currently the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $95 billion. But he also has a reputation for humanitarianism. As one of the world’s leading philanthropists, Gates is widely considered to be the most prominent humanitarian public figure. Together, he and his wife established The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a private, charitable foundation that globally combats poverty and enhances healthcare. Now, Gates plans to eradicate malaria by 2040.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite, commonly transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. While malaria occurs in roughly 100 countries, it is most common in tropical and subtropical regions. To this end, the disease is common in regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Upon contracting malaria, a person will exhibit symptoms resembling the flu. And if left untreated, malaria can be fatal. However, this is largely preventable.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 207 million cases of malaria reported in 2012. Approximately 627,000 of these cases resulted in death. Significantly, roughly 90 percent of these estimated deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and 77 percent in children under 5 years of age. Given these statistics, the mortality rate of malaria is incredibly slight, at around 0.003 percent. Therefore, malaria does not have to result in death and, moreover, may be prevented entirely. And as Gates plans to eradicate malaria, this possibility may soon become reality.

What’s the Plan?

At the Malaria Summit London 2018, the Gates Foundation pledged to invest $1 billion through 2023 to end malaria. To date, the Gates Foundation has committed $1.6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Additionally, it has committed almost $2 billion in grants to eradicate the disease. At the summit, Gates states, “It’s a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable. We hope today marks a turning point against the disease.”

Malaria is not a mystery anymore. Cures and vaccinations already exist to combat the disease. There is a solution, it simply needs funding. Between 2000 and 2012, malaria incidence rates declined 25 percent globally. By establishing protocol, proper resources can render malaria a manageable issue. While this is no small order, Gates plans to eradicate malaria and has the capability to fund it. Undoubtedly, this will leave an indelible, positive mark on the fight for better healthcare and war against global poverty.

Lacy Rab
Photo: Flickr

Notable Humanitarians
Improving the world is no small task. It can take great amounts of resources and effort to drive global change. And even with the proper tools, global change can still seem like a distant vision rather than a reality. Usually, this is where the thought process ends. Inspiring change is too daunting a task for most people. But not for everyone.

Notable humanitarians show the world a different way of thinking. They see the complex problems of the world and begin to push towards a solution. In doing so, they set an example for everybody else. So who are these notable humanitarians?

Three Notable Humanitarians

  1. Bill GatesThe Microsoft co-founder knows about humanitarianism. In 1994, Gates and his wife Melinda began a decades-long mission to improve the world, founding what would become the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization is a strong force for global health, development and policy advocacy. Since its founding, the organization has contributed billions of dollars towards global issues. This money has funded many global initiatives, especially relating to health and education. The foundation cites continuous collaboration with partners as a key to being effective.Gates has made humanitarianism his sole focus. In 2014, he stepped down from his chairman position at Microsoft to concentrate on the foundation.The Lesson: Improving the world requires everybody working together.
  2. Kristine PearsonAfter doing research in parts of rural Africa, Kristine Pearson noticed a problem. Despite the spread of community radio stations, many people still did not have radio access.  Much of this was because of issues with electricity coverage. Armed with this knowledge, Pearson set out to make a change. That change came in the form of wind-up and solar-powered radios. Given the energy poverty suffered by many in rural Africa, this was a perfect fit. Using this technology, Pearson has been able to spread radio access to more than half a million people. For those that otherwise would be unable to afford this access, Pearson is a hero.When she founded her charity, Lifeline Energy, in 1999, Pearson became a catalyst for change. She was able to help combat poverty through radio. With access to radio broadcasts, rural Africans are better equipped to deal with emergencies, and their day-to-day lives benefit as well. Educational content, news and weather broadcasts are all useful for rural citizens. Pearson made these benefits attainable for many through her notable humanitarian work.The Lesson: Social entrepreneurship can improve quality of life in developing countries.
  3. Norman BorlaugNobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug is the definition of a notable humanitarian. Borlaug developed a wheat cultivation method that increased crop yields in Mexico. His background in agronomy allowed him to create innovative ideas for the country. Mexico faced complex agriculture problems, and Borlaug’s work was a breath of fresh air.After his original work in Mexico, Borlaug took his methods across the world. His work throughout the 1940s and 1950s created what was later called the “green revolution”. Because of his methods, several countries were able to rise out of famine. In fact, by the end of his career, Dr. Borlaug had saved more than a billion people from starvation.The Lesson: Reducing global poverty requires innovative thinking.

Being a humanitarian can take many forms. Creating a charity, spreading radio access and increasing crop yields are just a few of the numerous ways to help others. As seen from the stories of these three notable humanitarians, they can be very effective. Whatever the method, the end goal is the same: to make the world better.

– Robert Stephen

Photo: Flickr

global healthSince 1983, J.P. Morgan has hosted an annual healthcare conference to unite industry leaders, fast-companies, innovative technology creators and people willing to invest in these technologies. Though the company is known for being a global leader in financial services, J.P. Morgan has made global health a priority by donating nearly $200 million a year to nonprofits globally, leading volunteer services and using its access to capital to help local communities suffering from poverty.

J.P. Morgan has made the following its core values:

  1. Corporate responsibility
  2. Health initiatives
  3. Strengthening communities
  4. Environmental sustainability

In January 2018, Bill Gates made an appearance at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to discuss his thoughts. At the conference, Gates’ speech discussed recent progress in global health and what else still needs to be done. Initially, he pointed out how global health has been the focus of his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for the last eight years. He explained how child mortality has decreased by 50 percent and credited new vaccines to reducing deaths due to rotavirus, pneumonia and malaria.

Afterwards, he expressed the need for more innovation, explaining how funding research is the most elementary step in improving global health. He mentioned the current gap between the tools that are currently available to eliminate stubborn diseases and poverty and the tools that are needed, explaining that the only solution is innovation. He emphasized how “the tools and discoveries companies are working on can also lead to breakthrough solutions that save millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries.”

He concluded his speech by emphasizing the need for more research into preterm births, as they account for half of newborn deaths. It has also become clear that a child’s nutrition and the microbiome in their stomach, or rather the interactions between the two, are the largest factor in determining the child’s survival rate. The best solution to this is ensuring that children have the proper ratio of microbes in their stomach, a problem Gates and his partners have started to tackle.

Gates and his foundation have always made global health a priority. They work with partners globally to improve the following five program areas:

  1. Global health, which focuses on developing new tools to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and HIV.
  2. Global development, which aims to finance the delivery of high-impact solutions, providing people with healthy, productive lives.
  3. Global policy and advocacy, which promotes public policies and builds alliances with the government, the public and the private sectors.
  4. Global growth and opportunity, which works to break down economic barriers in an effort to lift people out of poverty.
  5. U.S. programs, which focuses on ensuring all students graduate from high school and have the opportunity to go to college.

Thanks to Bill Gates, his foundation and the J.P. Morgan healthcare conference, investors and advancements will continue to increase, alleviating the burden of global poverty and improving global health.

– Chylene Babb

Photo: Flickr

Why USAID Is Important and EssentialWhen the topic of foreign aid comes up it is common to see headlines such as “USAID brings relief to Haitians after the occurrence of Hurricane Matthew,” but what exactly is this acronym? USAID is a government-funded agency that works to make the lives of millions of people easier.

There are many reasons as to why USAID is important and essential. USAID stands for the United States Agency for International Development. Working side by side with the military, USAID uses its resources to encourage countries to resolve conflict and end violence, working to lessen the need to send soldiers to dangerous areas.

Not only does it help end conflict, but USAID also helps elevate the roles of women and girls, provides assistance in the event of a disaster, invests in agricultural productivity to help food production in other countries, promotes human rights, combats diseases and more.

One of the greatest things that USAID’s work contributes to is the ending of extreme poverty. USAID has come up with a plan entitled “Vision for Ending Global Poverty,” which recognizes what needs to be done in order to fix the commonalities that each country has that causes them to struggle with poverty.

Despite common misconceptions, USAID does more than contribute to countries outside the U.S. Not only is USAID beneficial to those struggling in other countries, but it is also a benefit to the U.S. as well.

In a recent interview, Bill Gates explains the dangers of cutting USAID by explaining that foreign aid projects keep the U.S. safe. “By promoting health, security and economic opportunity, they stabilize vulnerable parts of the world,” says Gates, promoting the truth that helping others is of benefit not only to them but to America as well.

He continues explaining that USAID helps to stop major diseases such as HIV and AIDS, create more U.S. jobs and protects military members. The money goes to contractors, companies and volunteer organizations, all going towards promoting each country’s own financial well-being. Out of USAID’s top recipients in 2011, Pakistan received $343,698,200, Haiti $133,601,639, and Indonesia $17,848,628.

Keeping in mind that USAID’s proposed budget for 2018 is $15.4 billion, the United States Agency for International Development is distributing its funds in ways that help those who need it the most.

This is what USAID is and why USAID is important and essential to the alleviation of global poverty. U.S. involvement in foreign aid is not only saving the lives of those who live in developing and impoverished countries, but it is also saving and bettering the lives of Americans and American soldiers.

Noel McDavid
Photo: Flickr