What is Poverty?
There are two types of poverty that affect millions of people worldwide: relative poverty and extreme poverty. Relative poverty refers to the levels of social poverty of a community, while extreme poverty defines the standard of living throughout the world. There is a global deficiency line set at $1.90 per day. The limitations of the poor determine the ability to pay for medical care, food, clothing and the essentials of daily life. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have established goals and targets to help the poor have equal rights to economic resources, basic services, microfinance and land ownership. By teaching the poor about finance and resilience, there could be potential to build the community and slowly grow the economy of poor countries like Southeast Asia and Africa.

It is very important for a low economic class to obtain financial knowledge because although people are living in harsh conditions, learning ways to escape poverty will ultimately allow people to be able to support their families. Parents would be able to afford basic necessities for children and the materials needed to send each child to school and obtain an education.

Women’s Hygiene

Another issue that plagues the poor is the lack of hygienic products. Many women struggle from a lack of proper care for their menstrual needs. In the United States, there are millions of women who go without having adequate menstrual products. Is someone who is simply running low on funds in poverty? Or does poverty mean not having the means of providing for oneself at all? The difference is that while in one scenario the individual has a recurring income and may fall under relative poverty, the latter is when the individual does not have an income and is accustomed to finding other ways to take care of daily needs. There are organizations, such as Freedom4Girls, #HappyPeriod and Pads4Girls, that focus on providing areas, like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, with pads, tampons and any other form of hygienic products so that women can have sterile and clean forms of personal care.

Education to Reduce Poverty

High levels of poverty in communities affect developing countries the most. Many people, organizations and companies work together to eliminate radical conditions. Charities, like the Build Africa Organization, understand that returning education to children suffering from economic limitations could eradicate poverty because they would receive the basic knowledge necessary to succeed. The organization focuses on providing children and teens with core knowledge and works in countries in rural Africa to teach students the basics they require to lead a healthy life.

Agriculture and Poverty

An appropriate way to help those in need is to educate people on how to grow their own food through agriculture as well as promoting local farmers. As a result, farmers may be able to improve their financial standing by selling crops to supermarkets and local restaurants. Organizations, like the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IAFD), finance agricultural development projects worldwide. Some of the projects that the IAFD put into place include reducing vulnerability to climate change, food and nutrition security and making family farmers the forefront of the world’s agriculture transformation.

If older teens and adults could learn about farming as a trade, they might be able to grow crops for food as well as gain a form of income. Local farming would promote healthier lifestyles as well as feeding those who are malnourished. The fact that people would be eating healthier could help eliminate diseases and even deaths that starvation causes. The World Food Programme provides food for men, women and children during emergency situations in over 80 different countries.


Furthermore, there are people in underdeveloped countries and developed communities that fail to meet the primary needs of their families, making it difficult to have a stable home. Fortunately, there are organizations like The Salvation Army that help people provide for those who do not have a place to live, food to eat or clothing to wear. The Salvation Army provides those in need with resources and avenues to get back on the right path to a successful life. Aside from shelter, The Salvation Army also provides counseling services, educational support and vocational services. Parents with young children also are able to use the shelter’s address to apply for jobs and to send children to school.

Although those in poverty may experience limited food, shelter or access to materials for hygiene, there are several organizations attempting to help. With the continued work of IAFD, The Salvation Army and The World Food Programme, hopefully, people will continue to rise out of poverty.

Paola Quezada
Photo: Flickr


Build AfricaBuild Africa is a nonprofit organization that believes “in the power of education to help end poverty. [We] work to give children the education they need and fight the inequalities that stand in their way.” The organization believes that all children have the right to an education for a prosperous and happy life. Education ends poverty by building opportunities and growth, and Build Africa provides the schools and the resources necessary for education to become a top priority.

Build Africa currently works in Kenya and Uganda. Some of its accomplishments include:

  1. Helping vulnerable girls gain access to a better education in 72 schools.
  2. Improving 65 schools in Uganda in early learning for young children.
  3. Giving 4,000 parents access to vital basic financial services.
  4. Establishing 11 farmers’ networks throughout Kenya.

On the grassroots level of Build Africa, the ultimate goal is to have “every child learning.” Learning the skills they need in order to thrive, such as basic reading and writing, can oftentimes be difficult for children, particularly if that child faces challenges such as working to improve household income, long distances that could potentially be dangerous, or just being a girl. With Build Africa, locals are trained to be staff members to work personally with the children in the schools, meaning they can adjust perspectives and truly get to know the child they are helping. Lesson plans can range from math and reading to basic financial skills and growing sustainable crops.

Applying real-life scenarios in classrooms allows for the students to connect and relate school with their own lives. In other words, they are actually retaining and repeating what they have done in school in their everyday lives. Emphasizing life skills like cooking and doing taxes, rather than making children memorize ordinary academic standards, better prepares these children for the real world.

Build Africa strives to “improve access to education for children and improve the quality of education received.” Quality education on basic life skills leads to independence and more opportunities. One of Build Africa’s most recent projects is called the Parallel Learning Project, a literacy program for young mothers in Western Uganda, where there is a very low female literacy rate. According to the Director-General of UNESCO, if a mother is able to read, her child is twice as likely to survive beyond five years of age.

The outcomes the organization hopes to achieve are:

  1. Communities actively supporting young mothers
  2. A safe area where young mothers have access to healthcare services and trainings
  3. Young women learning to read and write as they learn childcare techniques.

Build Africa is creating change within communities by simply providing education. Whether it be in a school or in a daycare center, knowledge is knowledge, and its long-term effects are nothing but positive.

– Irimar Waters

Photo: Flickr