facts about global povertyGlobal poverty has been a worldwide concern for the last 200 years. At the close of 2016, global facts about poverty showed that 815 million out of 7.6 billion people were suffering from hunger, equal to one in nine people. However, statistics reported at the conclusion of 2017 bring new hope for 2018. The fight against poverty is working, as these five positive facts about global poverty demonstrate.

Five Positive Facts About Global Poverty

  1. Facts about global poverty in China—previously a country with one of the largest populations in extreme poverty—reveal that it is set to lift more than 10 million people out of poverty in 2018. This positive news adds to the constructive changes that have happened over the past five years in China. By 2017’s end, the poverty rate dropped to 3.1 percent from 10.2 percent, encouraging China to continue its drive to help the poor. Millions will be relocated to better living establishments this year as well.
  2. Poverty in Ethiopia continues to decline. Once one of the most challenged nations regarding poverty, Ethiopia’s strong improvement in agriculture has brought about a decrease in the number of people living with hunger. In an end of the year report for 2017, it was reported that Ethiopia’s poverty rate dropped from 44 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent. The trend is expected to continue, marking more positive facts about global poverty.
  3. Indonesia continues on a positive economic course. Its poverty level, both relative and absolute, remains on a steady decline. Indonesians suffered terribly during the Asian Financial Crisis, leaving millions suffering in poverty, at a rate of 19.9 percent in 1998. Some 20 years later, Indonesia continues to slash its poverty rate. The poverty rate has declined to the country’s lowest ever at 10.2 percent, and plans are in place to drop that number to less than 10 percent through social assistance measures.
  4. Pakistan’s poverty rate once reached 64 percent. According to the World Bank, that rate has declined to 29.5 percent, making it the second lowest in South Asia. While challenges to Pakistan’s economy still remain, as well as many social concerns, the government is hopeful the poverty rate will continue to drop.
  5. Myanmar reduced its poverty rate from 32.1 percent to 19.4 percent in just under ten years. A report from the Myanmar government and the World Bank notes that the decrease in people living in poverty has to do with the improvement of the overall standard of living. Agricultural and rural developments have made this possible, setting one more positive trend concerning facts about global poverty.

Positive changes are happening, but society must never forget that one person being hungry is already too many. Together, the world can continue to move the needle in the right direction: the end of global poverty.

– Naomi C. Kellogg

Photo: Flickr

How to Solve Poverty in 10 Steps
The fight against global poverty can be a discouraging one. The number of people suffering is hard to imagine for most middle-class families. While there is a multitude of poverty-stricken individuals, things are not entirely bleak. Poverty rates have been falling in recent years, and the word is getting out. People can make a difference in this fight with the right approach. There are answers on how to solve poverty, and time is showing us just how effective they are.

  1. Improve the training of farmers
    It is so important for developing countries that their agriculture is not only thriving but is sustainable. Teaching sustainable techniques to farmers is one of the ways that demonstrates how to solve poverty, because when a country’s natural resources are at their top potential, so is its economy. Teaching methods to sustain agriculture, investing in proper equipment and instructing farmers on more efficient practices will also improve the quality of life for the farmers themselves.
  2. Establish gender equality
    When asking how to solve poverty globally, a trend keeps popping up: many poverty-stricken countries lack gender equality. The fact is that when women are allowed to participate in the economy through new laws, social acceptance and proper child care for their family, the country thrives. Since roughly half of any country’s population is made up of women, it is not only arguably a moral obligation, but a practical solution for how to solve poverty. Gender equality can mean getting religious leaders involved, spreading awareness through the country’s media with women depicted as capable and even educating the women themselves on their rights.
  3. Ensure clean water
    Having access to clean water is a huge factor in a country’s welfare. Not only does it need to be safe to drink, but it needs to be closer to people’s homes. While most middle-class citizens can just turn on a tap for clean water to pour out of, many poor families spend hours just trying to find water, and it is not always entirely clean. Investing in clean wells and water systems can not only ensure the safety of a country’s citizens but can free up their time, allowing them to better participate in the economy
  4. Reinstate good healthcare
    When a person is healthy, they can go to work, participate in community events (like voting or meetings) and can better contribute to society. Making sure a country has good healthcare is essential to alleviating poverty. This involves widespread vaccinations, investing in better hospitals and resources, training medical professionals and improving hygiene on a national level.
  5. Make education a priority
    A huge factor in how to solve poverty involves education. Lifting a country out of poverty means educating its citizens not only on basics like math and science, but on proper hygiene, gender equality, educating females equally, economic factors and investing in resources for schools. To better the school system in developing nations, not only do the resources and school building need to be improved, but the teachers need to be trained properly and paid. Encouraging school attendance and teacher certification will create a more conscious society, more jobs and better-equipped citizens in the fight against poverty.
  6. Make international aid a bigger part of legislation
    Not all countries can lift themselves out of poverty without help. Most will need aid from wealthier nations. Making that happen through legislation will ensure that funds go towards the struggle against poverty and will improve the global quality of life.
  7. Involve all sectors of the government in the developing country
    When it comes down to it, a nation struggling with poverty needs all hands on deck to resolve it. They need to have educators, businessmen and lawmakers all involved. This will help identify problems in a range of areas and will ensure that as much support as possible is being given.
  8. People abroad and domestically need to speak up
    People in struggling countries need to vote if they can for initiatives to help solve poverty (things like education funding and gender equality laws), and those abroad need to vote to make poverty a focal point of legislation. The government looks to the people for what is important, and if enough people vote on something such as international aid, then it will become a focus.
  9. Direct aid needs to be given
    Throwing money at a problem will never solve anything. Funds need to go to a direct cause. Rather than giving a foreign government money for clean water, fund a well-building project. Rather than giving money to a country to hire more teachers, send teachers in to train some. Do not give money for a solution; give them the solution. This helps sidestep corruption and delay.
  10. Keep the national market open to trade
    Ensure that the governments abroad are staying open to trade with developing countries. This will help fuel the struggling nation’s economy and create more jobs for that country. In the end, the wealthy country gains a new trading partner, and the developing country gains a sustainable way to grow its economy.

While the questions revolving around how to solve poverty are complex and face dead ends at times, there are solutions to the problem. Making sure that a solution is not only effective but sustainable is a priority that always needs to be met. The fight continues and will continue to be fought until all necessary steps are taken.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

Solar Power in the Fight Against PovertyHunger, lack of education, conflict, disease, war; these human calamities have a common factor: poverty. One word to define a worldwide phenomenon which unfortunately hits 2.8 billion people on earth, or near half of the total entire population.

So, what are the solutions to fight this burden? Investment, innovation, technology and education are all viable options. But more and more multinational companies, associations and even simple citizens are now engaged in the fight against poverty, using a very special tool: solar power. As a source of renewable energy that is good for the environment, solar power can also help people get out of poverty by giving them access to electricity.

Today, most inhabitants of developing countries rely more on kerosene than on electricity for their basic needs such as household lighting. This is not only because the cost of electricity is extremely high, as the poorest people in the world pay 40 times more for the same energy services, but also because, most of the time, the nearest outlets are located miles away from where poverty is striking.

Because of this poor resource distribution, 15 percent of the global population still lives without access to electricity, and it is this inequality that solar power is attempting to balance by giving people easier access to electricity, information and education. For example, in Bangalore in India, families using solar panels can save $100 a year, money they tend to invest in their children’s education.

According to Simon Bransfield-Garth, Azuri’s CEO, a leading company in solar power in emerging markets in Africa, “a child spends an extra [two] hours per day doing homework if he has electricity.” But giving people access to electricity, and thus to information and education, is only one advantage this form of energy has to offer developing countries.

First, using solar power requires only one natural resource: the sun. This free, nonpolluting and unlimited
generator makes solar power one of the most environmentally friendly energies in the world. Furthermore, green energy is reliable and cheaper in the long run than kerosene or generators. It is also safer and easier to preserve in case of natural disasters, as solar panels are detachable and can be put indoors.

Helping in both the fight against poverty and climate change, solar power seems to be the perfect solution for those who still don’t have access to electricity. But there is much more at stake here: every year, more than four million people are killed by indoor air pollution, more than AIDS and malaria combined. Developing clean energy is, now, a matter of life or death.

As concluded Justin Guay, associate director of Sierra Club’s International Climate Program, “Just providing a few hours of solar lighting alone improves the human condition.”

– Léa Gorius

Photo: Flickr

Fight extreme poverty
Super PAC ONE Vote asked candidates of the 2016 presidential election to go on record regarding what they would do to fight extreme poverty if they were elected.

At this time, three of the 12 Republican candidates have responded: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (who has since dropped out of the race). So far, none of the Democratic candidates have responded to ONE Vote’s inquiry.

A ONE Vote 2016 organizer spoke with Cruz at a town hall event in Guthrie Center, Iowa on Jan. 4, 2016 and asked what he would do about extreme poverty in Africa.

Cruz stressed the importance of continuing investments in research and development to stop preventable diseases like AIDS. However, he did not comment on what legislation or organizations he supports that are working to reduce global poverty.

Huckabee created a video response affirming ONE Vote’s significant impact in the fight against extreme poverty. The former governor also noted that he personally visited Rwanda a few years ago with the organization and saw their work in action.

Huckabee also commends ONE for supporting the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was created under Former President George W. Bush’s administration to save the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. He said he feels this is something the U.S. should continue to support.

“It’s a very small investment for an incredibly large result,” Huckabee told ONE Vote regarding PEPFAR. “That result being the saving of human lives from AIDS and to make sure that there is a healthy environment, climate and safe water to drink for the people of those areas.”

A majority of the video Huckabee submitted focused more on ONE’s influence than any action he would take to alleviate extreme poverty.

Graham, who has dropped out of the presidential race, gave the most comprehensive response to how he would fight extreme poverty in his video for ONE.

Graham pledged to support PEPFAR, grow the Global Fund, grow the Millennium Challenge Corporation, increase assistance to Africa and the developing world, fight poverty and create conditions where radical Islam cannot thrive.

“To me, the one percent we spend on foreign assistance has the best return of any one percent of the entire budget,” Graham said in his video for ONE. “I am completely committed as president of the United States to growing this account and being a partner with ONE.”

Summer Jackson

Sources: CNN, OneVote16 1, OneVote16 2, OneVote16 3, PepFar
Photo: Flickr

Orange_the_worldPrevention was the central theme of the 2015 UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign. From the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to Human Rights (November 25 – December 10), UNiTE called on people worldwide to “orange the world” for a brighter future without violence.

At the campaign’s official commemoration in New York, the United Nations (U.N.) presented the very first U.N. Framework on Preventing Violence Against Women. The document recognizes violence against women as not only a public health concern but also a breach of basic human rights. Women, according to the document, have a right to “physical integrity, agency, and autonomy”. These rights, according to the framework, lay at the crux of prevention efforts.

The proposed framework outlines a multi-level approach, discussing methods to prevent violence before it occurs, the recurrence of violence and the negative repercussions of violence against women. Perhaps most importantly, the document recognizes intervention must be informed by the particular social structure, culture and norms of a given setting.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 35 percent of women across the globe have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence against women has also been shown to increase the likelihood for homelessness, unemployment and depression.

Orange the World was in line with goal five of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched this past September, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The campaign also linked up specifically with target two, which seeks “[to eliminate] all forms of violence against women and girls” by 2030.

Prevention of violence against women may also be vital to the attainment of other SDGs. WHO, for instance, cites lower levels of education as a risk factor connected to sexual violence perpetration. Achieving goal four of the SDGs, which looks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education”, could alleviate this risk.

Addressing violence against women is also necessary to the fight against poverty, the World Bank said. Ede Ijjasz -Velasquez, Senior Director at the World Bank, said violence against women “has very important economic consequences” that could negatively impact any given nation.

Geraldine Terry, a research associate at the University of East Anglia, also found “[poverty] and violence against women interact in complex cycles of causality.” Poverty can lead to violence against women, and violence against women can also play a causal role in poverty.

Over 70 countries participated in Orange the World. Major world landmarks such as Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada/New York) and the Palais de Justice (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) were lit up in orange to honor the campaign.

Jocelyn Lim

Sources: U.N. Women, Geraldine Terry, “Poverty reduction and violence against women: exploring links, assessing impacts,” , U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, U.N. Women 2, World Bank, WHO
Photo: Google Images