Education around the world is imperative, but especially in developing countries where education can improve communities and the lives of people who are a part of them.

In 2015, 91 percent of children across the developing world were enrolled in primary school. Although there are more children in school now than ever before, there are still millions of children around the world that are not enrolled in school.

The best ways improve enrollment rates for children in poverty is to focus on the issues that cause children to drop out of school, which includes social, economic and health issues.

According to Dr. Cantor, a psychologist who specializes in childhood trauma, students in schools can do well if the issues they face are dealt with head on.

In addition to fundraising campaigns that provide for school buildings, supplies and uniforms it is also important to target the underlying issues above. Here are some innovative ways to help keep children in poverty enrolled:

  1. School-based deworming programs. According to the Huffington Post, an 80-cent deworming pill reduces students’ absence by 25 percent. These pills keep students healthy while also increasing their attendance in school.
  2. Malaria prevention. Another innovative way to keep children in poverty enrolled is through malaria prevention. Malaria infection has a direct impact on students’ attendance. A study found that a student who suffers from five or more malaria attacks scores 15 percent lower on school-based tests.
  3. Emergency and disaster response. When a natural disaster occurs it is usually difficult or unsafe for students to travel to school, especially if the infrastructure of the school is damaged or does not have running water. Finding effective ways to respond to disasters will increase the likelihood that students attend school during these instances.
  4. Contraception and family planning services. Each year 15 million teenage girls become mothers. Pregnancy is the reason young girls drop out of school in 50 percent of cases. Providing contraception is an effective way to keep young girls from getting pregnant and staying in school.

These innovative ways to keep children in poverty in school focus on issues children may face outside of school, but they can make a huge difference in students’ attendance and ability to stay in school.


Jordan Connell

Sources: Huffington Post, A Life You Can Save, The New York Times
Photo: Flickr

Although multiple studies have found that worm infections in developing countries should be treated with deworming pills, there is some debate within health organizations as to who qualifies for treatment. Currently there are 280 million children that are being treated for worms worldwide, but some experts believe that this is excessive.

When people are infected by worms, they suffer multiple ailments, primarily internal bleeding, which can lead to a loss of iron and anemia. Worms also cause diarrhea and malabsorption of nutrients. Compounding the problem, people also suffer a loss of appetite, which means they ingest less food overall. People most at risk are children and women of childbearing age.

Deworming people, especially children of a young age, has shown to be an effective measure to ensure that they stay in school for longer periods of time. A study conducted in Kenya after a deworming program showed that school absenteeism decreased by 25 percent. Even improved attendance in schools in which no children were treated within a three kilometer radius was remarked.

However, diagnosis is relatively expensive in developing countries because it involves a lab analysis of fecal matter, costing four to ten times the price of treatment. Some experts therefore recommend that mass deworming programs be carried out where a large number have been found to be infected.

This is currently the World Health Organization’s policy. Some scientists have challenged this practice, claiming that the available evidence is not enough to assure the safety or necessity of mass treatments. They believe that a lack of teachers, rather than absent children, are the cause of most problems in education in developing countries.

The deworming medication itself is extremely cheap, at just 30 to 40 cents per child. Many studies have suggested that this is a cost effective way of getting kids to go to school. These children also performed better at academic tests eight year later and at cognitive tests ten years later. In the southern United States, a deworming campaign in the early 1900’s had the same effects.

Radhika Singh

Sources: The Conversation, Harvard University, Voxeu, WHO
Photo: Answers


The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 billion people, 24% of the world’s population, have a worm infection. Infected people usually have soil-transmitted helminth infections caused by the most prevalent worm species: roundworms, whipworms and hookworms.

These worms are spread through direct contact with contaminated soil caused by open defecation in impoverished, usually tropical, regions. The contact with human feces is a result of poor sanitation, feces contaminating crops and children walking barefoot.

The worm’s eggs can be ingested on food that has not been properly washed or cooked as well as through the consumption of food when people eat with dirty hands. Some worm larvae are also able to work their way through a person’s skin to enter into the body, especially through the soles of children’s bare feet.

When a child has a worm infection, his or her health is compromised. Symptoms are not always pronounced, but rather show up slowly and can sometimes be hard to detect. The worms leech essential nutrients away from a child’s body causing malnutrition, anemia, lethargy and cognitive repression due to lack of nutrients. These issues can cause children to be so physically weakened that school is missed and absenteeism rises.

Thankfully, even though worms are one of the most prevalent infections in poverty stricken areas, it is also has one of the easiest and most cost-effective forms of treatment. Several organizations are working toward deworming children. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Deworm the World Initiative are two that have teamed up in this effort. Together they were able to deworm over 35 million children in 2012!

Deworming school-age children was possible through school initiatives. They have found that deworming children at school with a pill is highly effective for two reasons.

1. It is so easy that teachers can be trained to administer the medicine, which relieves the costs of needing medical specialists on site.

2. The medicine is safe even if a child is not currently infected. If 20% of the children in a region are known to have worms, then every child can be dewormed safely without the possibility of side effects. This will reduce any possible infections.

The medicine cost is very low as well. The actual medicine only costs a few pennies per child; factoring in all the costs associated with administering the medicine, the cost is still less than 50 cents per child. To be the most effective, the medicine needs to be administered twice a year. Since costs are so low, that goal is financially feasible.

A trial conducted in the early 2000s in Kenya found that by administering the medicine, school absenteeism fell by 25% and younger children were found to have cognitive gains. A separate study found that through deworming children’s bodies were better able to fight off other diseases, such as malaria, because essential nutrients were not being depleted by the worms.

Currently, Deworm the World is working quite intensely in India’s Bihar State, Delhi State and Rajasthan State, as well as in Kenya. The organization is able to work through the schools in those areas, treating millions of children. Those children are now given a much greater chance to excel in school since worms are not stealing their body’s resources.

Deworming children cannot be the sole answer, since the source of the worms needs to be addressed in the regions as well. Proper sanitation, clean water, uncontaminated food and children wearing shoes are still needed to ensure new worm infections do not occur.

But while those issues are being worked on, deworming children is giving infected children a chance to thrive in their education, since they are more energetic and focused during their studies and missing much less school than before.

Megan Ivy

Sources: CDC, Evidence Action, Innovations for Poverty Action, WHO
Photo: What Gives

Extreme poverty is an issue many have tried to solve. Typing  in how to solve world poverty on Google retrieves a multitude of the same results. But Policymic has provided an interesting take on innovation and the impact it can have on ending poverty. Below are the five ways Policymic believes progress can be made.

  1. Deworming: Helmiths, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms all reside in places with over 270 million preschool children and 600 million school age children. These worms create nutritional deficiencies, which can stunt the growth of children. Polymic projects that a 20 cent pill targeting these parasites can improve a child’s future wage by nearly 20%. Clearly this is a valuable investment.
  2. Give Away Free Money: It’s simple. Walk up to a person who is suffering from poverty and hand them over money. Why? Studies show that the money handed over will create a sizeable investment return. Doing something nice like this can go a long way.
  3. Give Communities Microgrants: The investment of a microgrant, which is non-refundable, into a community can help a local economy get started. A significant amount of money can create serious development and help the citizens of a community flourish.
  4. Minimize Travel Restrictions: International citizens traveling to wealthier countries improve their developing countries economy. $400 billion were sent home from international workers in 2012. This money serves a variety of purposes and is an important source of funding.
  5. Improve Developing Countries GDP: The best way for developing countries to escape poverty is to improve their economic growth. Poverty has been cut in half due to developing countries gross domestic product being boosted six percent annually.

– William Norris

Sources: Policymic WHO