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Poverty Rates in MexicoA few weeks ago, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) boarded a commercial flight with constituents on his way to meet President Donald Trump. Many viewed it as a rare presidential moment, considering the poverty rates in Mexico of 52.4 million people living in poverty. However, AMLO has justified his unique transportation method as a small gesture to those in poverty by saving government money.

Cause of Rising Poverty Rates

Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to ravage Mexico’s globally-dependent economy and unequipped health system. Simultaneously, this massive group of people living in poverty is only going to expand. Addressing this growing crisis is not only our humanitarian duty as one of its major allies. Rising poverty rates in Mexico will also inevitably threaten the American people in two key ways.

A Persisting Opioid Epidemic

In 2017, President Trump declared the Opioid Epidemic as a national emergency, citing the rising cases of fentanyl overdose deaths. Despite the domestic focus on the problem, it has become more evident that a solution to save the tens of thousands of Americans dying in this crisis requires us to look to the source of the epidemic– Mexico. According to the acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) director, Mexican cartels have been responsible for the vast majority of synthetic drugs entering the U.S., including fentanyl.

Problematically, these cartels have been fueled by rising poverty rates in Mexico. In many places, economic hardship has allowed cartels to thrive. They have used protection and basic necessities as a powerful incentive to recruit historically poor populations. Also, vulnerability within many communities has allowed cartels to grow their influence through hollow gestures of aid. This turns cities towards helping their cause; because of this, despite growing civilian casualties in cartel wars, Mexican cartels have seen massive growth in influence and prowess, allowing for them to grow their opioid trade on the US-Mexican border. In order to minimize the cartel’s fueling of the Opioid Epidemic, the American government needs to do more to fight poverty within Mexico. It also needs to find a long term solution to curb the rooted influence most of these cartels have found.

Growing Human Trafficking Concern

Additionally, rising poverty rates in Mexico have pushed many Mexicans towards other illicit industries. According to the London School of Economics, sex trafficking and exploitation is incredibly profitable. As a result, rising economic inequality has pushed many Mexicans towards this industry.

Many people within Mexico have had no choice but to turn to these alternate industries to survive. This is due to a lack of opportunity. As a result, human trafficking has grown within Mexico, with 21,000 minors falling victim to this horrid industry. This problem is not an isolated one. According to the Human Rights Watch, as a result of this industry, Mexico has become one of the largest sources of human trafficking in cases in the U.S. Simply put, rising poverty rates are only fueling a major threat to the U.S. They hurt women and children alike in one of the world’s most horrid illicit industries. Action needs to be taken in order to curb the rising poverty rates in Mexico that have been paramount in causing this crisis.

Mexico has always been a critical economic and geopolitical ally to the U.S. However, as it falls into a growing poverty crisis, the U.S. cannot turn a blind eye. Luckily, positive progress is being seen. Countless organizations such as Freedom from Hunger, Un Techo para mi País (TECHO) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have all been working to mitigate the crisis. In 2018, the U.S. also pledged $4.6 billion to bolster development in Southern Mexico. By continuing on this path and pushing for even more developmental assistance in the future, we cannot only effectively curb the growing poverty crisis. Instead, we can also provide a more secure America for generations to come.

 

Andy Shufer

Photo: Flickr

Millennial Celebrities Fighting Global Poverty
The term “millennial” is one that has garnered some negative attention in the past decade in that many associate the generation with adjectives like “lazy” or “entitled.” While there are people of all dispositions and work ethics in every generation, the following is a list of five millennial celebrities fighting global poverty and challenging stereotypes about their age group.

5 Millennial Celebrities Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Harry Styles: Former member of the hugely successful group One Direction, Styles is showing that he is not only a talented singer but also a generous philanthropist. Styles’ “Treat People with Kindness” slogan is proving to be a mantra that he takes seriously as he raised $1.2 million in donations for 62 charities around the world during his 10-month tour in 2017. Styles’ 2020 tour is also supporting various charities worldwide including Freedom from Hunger and Help Refugees. He will be donating proceeds from exclusive merchandise purchases and a portion of ticket sales to various charities across the globe.
  2. Rihanna: Singer and businesswoman Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty founded the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012 in honor of her grandparents. CLF supports and funds education and emergency response programs in various parts of the world including Malawi and Barbados. Rihanna is also an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness. Through her lipstick campaigns with MAC Cosmetics, she helped raise $60 million in 2013 to benefit women and children affected by the disease.
  3. Drake: Record-breaking hip-hop artist Drake has been involved with a number of philanthropic efforts. In 2010, Drake visited a poor community in Kingston, Jamaica, and became inspired to give back. He donated $30,000 to a learning center in the community, stating that “I went there and they had ‘Drake’ all over the walls, spraypainted, and all the kids were running after us. So I donated $30,000 to build computer schools for the kids.”
  4. Emma Watson: Former star in the Harry Potter franchise and more recently in the film “Little Women,” Emma Watson is not only a talented and intelligent actress but also an active philanthropist. Watson, a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, recently visited Malawi to celebrate achievements that U.N. Women and the Malawian Government made including the annulling of child marriages to allow many women to return to school. Watson stated that “It’s so encouraging to see how such a harmful practice can be stopped when communities work together to pass laws and then turn those laws into reality.”
  5. Beyoncé: Bestselling singer-songwriter Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is no stranger to poverty-fighting efforts. Beyoncé headlined the Global Citizen Festival in 2018 alongside guests like Ed Sheeran and her husband Jay-Z. Together, they raised $7.1 billion to aid Global Citizen in its fight to end global poverty. This money will go towards improving education, sanitation, health care and women’s rights around the globe.

These five millennial celebrities are breaking down negative stereotypes about their generation and serve as inspiring role models for the world when it comes to reducing global poverty. These celebrities’ efforts and generosity are changing the lives of countless impoverished people around the world for the better.

– Hannah White
Photo: Flickr

Helping People in Mexico
When people think about the country of Mexico, people reflect on some of its cultural features. These include the country’s food, music and clothing style. What people do not know about Mexico is that between the years of 2012 and 2014, the number of individuals living in conditions of poverty has increased by two million.

With this fact in mind, many people ask how to help people in Mexico. Due to the Mexican government spending many of its resources fighting the growing problem of cartels within its borders in conjunction with helping grow its economy, private solutions to poverty in Mexico appear to be much more adequate solutions to this issue.

This article highlights some NGOs that address the problem of how to help people in Mexico. Below are two NGOs that are currently doing this.

Children International

Drug violence and drug trafficking has transformed the cities of Mexico — essentially into war zones — and has taken hold of every section of the country’s state and national politics. The people most affected by the influence of the cartels in Mexico are the nation’s child populations. The NGO, Children International, is helping people in Mexico by focusing on the child populations living in the country’s cities.

Children International is helping people in Mexico by creating community centers that act as safe havens for the kids residing in this region. These centers contain books and computers for educational purposes, and toys to keep them entertained. On top of this, these centers also serve as a hub for child program activities that teach kids they can have a better life, and how to achieve that life.

One way to begin helping people in Mexico is to either donate to this NGO or to do volunteer work with their organization. Although volunteering is the most effective way of helping these people, any donation made makes a great difference.

Freedom From Hunger

Freedom From Hunger is an NGO that is helping people in Mexico by creating programs that aim to reduce the country’s food insecurity issue. Food insecurity gets defined as the inability to meet one’s basic nutritional needs for some or all of the year. On top of having 53% of the country living in poverty, and having 24% of the population living in extreme poverty, many people outside of these two groups struggle with food insecurity.

Freedom From Hunger is partnering up with local organizations in Mexico’s major cities and food banks. This partnership is being done to reach out to the needy in the country and give them access to a better food supply.

On top of this, Freedom From Hunger is helping people in Mexico by creating savings and loan programs for the people living under conditions of poverty. Although the incomes of these groups may be low, the issue of poverty only gets exacerbated when families fall further into debt or make poor financial decisions with what little money they do have.

Between helping the poor in Mexico deal with food insecurity and their economic issues, Freedom From Hunger is making great strides in fighting poverty in Mexico. In their first year, they reached out to 14,000 people in villages and cities where these services are needed. To support this group, and to begin helping the people in Mexico, volunteering one’s time or donating is a great way to start.

Private institutions are not always as efficient at making the substantive change needed to begin eliminating poverty, and at the current moment, the Mexican government is unable to make real change for its people dealing with poverty. With time and commitment, these organizations offer solutions for how to help people in Mexico and can continue to make the change needed in the country.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Charities

Activists often participate in endless debates about what they think will be the key to unlocking a world without hungry children and families. There are numerous charities that work to stop world hunger, and many of them are making real, sustainable impact in countries all over the world. One way to take a step towards a world with healthy, well-fed families is to spread awareness of these foundations. By spreading awareness, there is a higher chance these charities will get the funding they need to continue to meet their goals.

Five Charities Looking to End World Hunger:

1. Action Against Hunger

With more than 6,500 staff workers all over the globe, Action Against Hunger’s programs have been able to reach more than 13.6 million people as of 2014. Its programs not only save lives but also teaches impoverished people how to live safely long-term. With more than 35 years of experience in food crises and disaster, this foundation knows how to keep children healthy and understands where and when to expect malnutrition.

Regarding nutrition and health, Action Against Hunger has treated 5 million people around the world. This includes almost 3 million people from Nigeria, over 104,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over 93,000 people in South Sudan. They are able to impact millions of hungry people by evaluating nutritional needs, treating acute malnutrition, preventing acute malnutrition and building local capacity. This is done by collecting data on nutritional indicators like geography, infrastructure, local capacities, resources and cultural practices.

2. Bread for the World Institute

The Bread for the World Institute is a voice that urges national leaders throughout the world to end hunger in their own countries and others around the globe. The foundation has been able to help the hunger epidemic in the United States, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The institute works with members of Congress on issues that affect world hunger including immigration reform, incarceration and child nutrition. Basically, Bread for the World Institute wants the goal of eliminating world hunger to be a priority and believes that by doing so, world hunger can be eliminated by 2030.

Through their Vote to End Hunger campaign, Bread for the World Institute encourages voters to make world hunger one of their top priorities during the 2016 election campaigns and in the ballot box. Their goal is to elect a leader who will make ending world hunger a priority in congress.

3. Freedom from Hunger

Freedom from Hunger provides families the resources necessary to build a healthy future. By equipping families with the proper resources, they can live sufficiently on their own and build healthy lives without continuous aid. Freedom from Hunger believes in educating and empowering communities to fight world hunger. Education modules are influenced by the needs of chronically hungry women, a demographic deemed a priority during the research phase. Group activities, training sessions, guidance counselors and interactive discussions are implemented to inform and encourage the women in safe health practices, like HIV/AIDS prevention or breastfeeding practices and hygiene.

4. The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project focuses on ten principles fundamental to ending world hunger: human dignity, gender equality, empowerment, leverage, interconnectedness, sustainability, social transformation, holistic approach, decentralization and transformative leadership.

The Hunger Project believes there are three essential pillars their foundation must follow in order to make an impact on impoverished communities: empowering women as key change agents, mobilizing entire communities into self-reliant action and fostering effective governments to engage local government.

In Africa, India, Bangladesh, Mexico and Peru, The Hunger Project has supported community development and empowered local entrepreneurship.

5. Heifer International

Heifer International works with various impoverished communities to help boost their economies. Their approach focuses on developing income and assets, food security and nutrition, and the environment. They then work on empowering women and social capital in order to multiple the success of their efforts. The foundation has seen much success in bringing sustainable agriculture and commerce to families without food.

Heifer International supports the “passing on the gift” model. By giving a family a goat, a cow or even a water buffalo, a family can build a sustainable life. Cows produce milk, fertilizer for crops or the capacity to plow fields. When these animals create offspring, families are encouraged to pass on the first female baby to another family. This family then does the same with the offspring of their animals.

It is important to raise awareness and donate to these foundations, seeing that they have been making real-time change and investments. Like these vastly different organizations, ending world hunger does not take a single fix-all approach. Different strategies, supported by generous gifts, provide hungry people with the tools and willpower they need to stop world hunger.

Casey Marx

Photo: Flickr

freedom from hunger
As the Mexican economy continues to recover from the most recent recession, social concerns still remain.

Specifically, low wages, underemployment and inequitable income distribution are the causes of suffering in the impoverished southern states.

According to the Ministry of Social Development, 54% of all Mexicans live in poverty. Poverty standards in Mexico equate to $4 per day. However, 32% of the population lives on $2.50, and 24% live on less than $2.00. Characteristics of poverty include the lack of access to basic human needs such as nutrition, clean

Characteristics of poverty include the lack of access to basic human needs such as nutrition, clean water and shelter.

In 2005, nonprofit organization, Freedom from Hunger created Alcance. The organization’s principal focus is to assist financial institutions to integrate education and health protection services that specifically address women and their families.

Alcance works in conjunction with the Mexican government to coordinate microfinance networks. The purpose of these networks is to provide financial education and to equip financial institutions to disseminate funds.

As of 2014, Alcance launched a Saving for Change programs in two Mexican states where traditional microfinance has not reached the rural communities of the chronically poor.

The aim is to help institutions successfully manage social objectives and increase their ability to provide high quality, client-responsive services.

Organizations such as Mastercard also help create programs as global partners. The current program they fund will develop, test and document innovations in the integration of financial services. In addition, education will be provided for youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in Mali and Ecuador.

The program’s focus is to build a range of microfinance providers to offer products and services for youth living in poverty. The goal is to utilize these services to guide youth financially, in order to increase options for their future.

Youth participants’ parents and community leaders will be educated on how to be supportive of youth in ascertaining financial education building.

Programs to address education, health care, social security, quality of basic services in the household and income and social cohesion are necessities in helping to address the nation’s poverty.

Erika Wright

Sources: Freedom from Hunger, The Mastercard Foundation
Photo: ChildFund.org

Poverty_Crisis

Recent data by the Mexican government has revealed that close to 50 percent of the Mexican population is currently living in poverty. This poverty crisis represents a major blow to President Pena Nieto’s pledge to alleviate close to 15 million Mexican citizens in poverty throughout his six year electoral term.

As it stands, 46.2 percent of Mexicans live in poverty, with two million Mexican citizens falling below the poverty line from 2012 to 2014. Despite a steady economy in recent years, the Mexican government is struggling to enact any meaningful relief to its population. Contrary to the woes of the administration, global relief organization Freedom from Hunger has emerged as a beacon of hope for millions of displaced Mexicans.

Freedom from Hunger is a nonprofit organization that operates by going into poverty stricken areas and meeting with already existing local groups to provide technological aid as well as training in a variety of crucial survival skills. As per Freedom from Hunger’s website: “We learn from our partners about the unique challenges in their service areas and how, together, we can overcome them. By training partner organizations to deliver the services—and training them to train others—we ensure that the programs become locally owned, spontaneously shared and sustained beyond our original collaboration.” This group provides immediate aid as well as long-term sustainability to developing zones across the globe.

Freedom from Hunger has recently launched an initiative to address poverty in Mexico. The plan is simple: focus the bulk of effort on helping the poor in rural areas of Mexico, as these people are the most in need of aid. Freedom from Hunger plans to bring banking and healthcare infrastructures to the areas of Guanajuato, Chiapas and Hidalgo, where the number of those in poverty is reportedly in the tens of thousands. At the same time, the organization plans on instituting a headquarters in Mexico City to provide year-round training for local Mexican relief agencies.

By launching this initiative, Freedom from Hunger is estimating that “by the end of the first year, Freedom from Hunger and its collaborating partners could be reaching as many as 14,000 people in villages where financial services and health education are desperately needed.” This immediate success could provide a spark for the Mexican government to piggy-back some of Freedom from Hunger’s ideas and create substantial government aid. It is inconceivable that almost half of a country with a population of roughly 123 million people lives in poverty, but it is inspiring that one organization could be the difference in changing this nation forever.

Diego Catala

Sources: Channel News Asia, Freedom from Hunger
Photo: Global Micro Credits Summit

Freedom_From_Hunger_Peru
Freedom from Hunger is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending world hunger as a means to end poverty. It is an internationally renowned organization that recently opened an office in Mexico City, Mexico. They focus on working with developing areas in the world that have a high prevalence of chronic hunger.

There are 24 countries that the organization currently works in: Bénin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Uruguay and Vietnam. The organization utilizes local organizations in the areas where they assist the poor to collectively organize methods that are efficient and effective in addressing chronic hunger in each specific location.

It is an organization dedicated to training in life skills and health education as a proactive method to reach out into the poor, especially those in the rural areas. The principles of the organization stem from the idea that ending hunger in the world is attainable through strategic and collaborative efforts. The key activities focused on are self help, collaboration, sustainability, innovation and research.

The organization was one of the first microfinance organizations to utilize research and evaluation techniques to illuminate the rate of success and program success. Freedom from Hunger has a plethora of types of research that it utilizes, both qualitative and quantitative. Freedom from Hunger relies on research regarding the quality and sustainability of development.

The types of research conducted range from randomized controlled trials to focus group interviews. The organization prides itself on honoring the results from all of their research and sharing them among their partners, the microfinance community and local partners.

In selection of local partners, Freedom from Hunger ascertains local knowledge and insight that provide relevant cultural, economic and social understanding of chronic hunger and poverty. Together with local organizations, it allows the organization to further asses the current challenges in providing services. It allows for realistic setting of goals and steps to combat these challenges.

The organization uses training and technical assistance as a method to support local organizations and to increase the amount of people they can reach. In addition, the education provided creates a continuous cycle of learning by ensuring the programs are locally owned and focused. Freedom from Hunger shares its information as a method to continue positive influence with local partners and nurture expansion by emphasis by adding value through microfinance.

Freedom from Hunger is an organization that encompasses the Millennium Goal number one, to help end extreme poverty and hunger. It is also an organization that demonstrates the seventh Goal of having global partnerships.

– Erika Wright

Sources: Freedom from Hunger, U.N. Millennium Project
Photo: Bag Standz

Freedom From Hunger
Established in 1946 for the purpose of ending hunger and malnutrition in developing nations, the nonprofit organization Freedom from Hunger was first known as “Meals for Millions.” What began as an operation to distribute nutrient-rich food supplement has evolved into a diverse organization that orchestrates malaria prevention, education, savings and credit programs.

Freedom from Hunger operates in 20 countries, all of which are classified as low- or middle-income. These countries include Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Togo and Vietnam. From its inception, Freedom from Hunger has been an innovative player in the field of philanthropy. The food supplement they began distributing in the 1970s is still widely used today in developing countries.

By tackling the causes of hunger and not solely its symptoms, Freedom from Hunger has managed to not only treat the malady, but has also worked to prevent it entirely. Giving options to those at risk, including preventative healthcare measures, access to education, pathways to save money and lines of credit, allows individuals to escape hunger and potential impoverishment.

Freedom from Hunger is also unique in its focus on women. The organization believes that the resources they provide will do more for families when put in women’s hands. Empowering women has long been a key development strategy, but no humanitarian organization commits more to this vision than Freedom from Hunger.

Another tactic practiced by the organization is partnering with local organizations. Working with communities that share the organization’s goals allows Freedom from Hunger to use the cultural knowledge of local agencies to teach people the skills necessary to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Giving communities the “self-help” tools they need to control their futures makes Freedom from Hunger’s programs truly sustainable. In its nearly 70 years, Freedom from Hunger has changed millions of lives for the better. Its continued efforts abroad are sure to change millions more.

Elise L. Riley

Sources: Freedom From Hunger, GiveWell, Charity Navigator
Photo: Huffington Post