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Causes of Poverty in ComorosAlthough 44.8 percent of Comorians were below the poverty line in 2004, a few organizations have fought causes of poverty in Comoros to reach satisfying results. In 2009, the Comoros Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) was approved and implemented from 2010 to 2014. Its goals were to stabilize the economy, improve health and promote education. In light of these efforts, among others, the island nation’s GDP grew 3.17 percent between 2000 and 2014, with 1.22 percent of that growth occurring from 2010 to 2014.

Agriculture
After merely a year of the CPRS influences, Comoros saw progress in agricultural production. Luckily, CPRS was not alone in its efforts. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provides four loans and two grants to Comoros to protect and increase agricultural production. Because of IFAD’s efforts in cultivation, 60,855 households benefit each year.

Due to an increased level of agricultural production, food prices increased. Thus, the Gross National Income responded with a one percent increase from 2010 to 2014. With the higher food production rates came a higher labor demand, establishing a need for more women in the labor force. By attacking one cause, like farming, CPRS was able to improve multiple aspects of the economy.

Health
Another focus of the CPRS is Comorian health and safety. Combating disease is a major implementation of the CPRS, as it prevents death and strengthens Comoros’ economy. One of the strategies was to “ensure appropriate allocation of resources by levels of service and equality of access to health services.” This led to a decrease in infant and maternal mortality rates. Cases of malaria also decreased from 42 percent in 2006 to 36 percent in 2011 as a result of the malaria ACT and efforts to grant free bed nets. Comorian life expectancy steadily rose from age 60 in 2006 to 63 in 2014.

Education
The CPRS envisions a basic education plan in place until 2020 to alleviate future causes of poverty in Comoros. The strategy emphasizes gaining high enrollment and completion rates, but battles with gender inequalities. The Gross Enrollment Ratio decreased favorably from 107 percent in 2008 to 103 percent in 2014 because of the increase in students completing basic schooling. The quality of education in Comoros has also been a focus of the CPRS by encouraging proper training for teachers, but also by holding teachers accountable for students’ performances.

The combined efforts to improve agriculture, health and education within Comoros has ignited a motivation for change. With continued efforts on behalf of the government and other organizations, soon the people of Comoros will have the opportunity to rise above the poverty line.

-Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in El SalvadorEl Salvador is a country about the size of New Jersey, with a population of just over six million. In the past decade, poverty levels in this Central American country have dropped significantly. But 36 percent of rural Salvadorians still live in poverty. Why? These are three of the biggest causes of poverty in El Salvador:

1. An Unproductive Economy
Levels of poverty in countries are nearly always tied to the vitality of that country’s economy. And while El Salvador’s economy has made strides in recent years, it still suffers from stagnation. This is particularly evident in the agricultural sector. Salvadorian coffee crops have been damaged by coffee rust, a fungus that kills coffee beans. As coffee exports decreased, the economy suffered. Many rural Salvadorians were plunged into poverty. This sluggish economy is particularly detrimental for youth populations, who struggle to find employment. Fortunately, organizations like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are offering help. Between 2015 and 2021, IFAD plans to invest 41 million US dollars into El Salvador’s agriculture community. IFAD’s strategy is a community-based approach, another sign of their commitment to Salvadorians. In short, IFAD’s intentional aid is helping eradicate the causes of poverty that plague El Salvador.

2. Crime
El Salvador is the most violent country in the world. Much of El Salvador’s crime is attributable to rampant gang violence and drug trafficking. According to World Finance, “approximately 70 percent of businesses in El Salvador are subject to gang-related crime.” This extortion stunts the El Salvadorian economy, leading to widespread poverty. The World Bank estimates that in 2011 alone, crime cost El Salvador’s government over two billion US dollars, 10.8 percent of the country’s GDP. By 2014, the cost of crime increased to 4 billion US dollars, 16 percent of El Salvador’s GDP. These levels of crime lead to massive instability and cripple the economy. These outcomes inevitably increase poverty levels.

3. Climate Change
Climate change is the most silent of all the causes of poverty in El Salvador, but is just as dangerous. El Salvador is highly susceptible to changes in weather due to its location. As the Earth’s temperature’s rise, El Salvador’s crop yield is expected to drop by 30 percent by 2050. Salvadorians are already beginning to feel the effects of climate change. Drought has affected over 80,000 people. As climate change continues, farming in El Salvador will become harder and harder. Agriculture accounts for 17.3 percent of total employment. As farming becomes less viable, more rural Salvadorians will find themselves in poverty.

Understanding the causes of poverty in El Salvador is vital for discovering routes towards change. Organizations like IFAD and Salvadorians themselves have already begun the work of development. But more needs to be done, and you can help! All it takes is a phone call or email to your representatives. Urge them to support aid and investment in developing countries, including El Salvador.

Adesuwa Agbonile

Photo: Flickr

China's Poverty Reduction Plan
The 11th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction took place in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. During the meeting, over 120 government officials, experts and scholars from China and ASEAN countries gathered together. They discussed China’s poverty alleviation plan and most successful practices.

The Country Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Cambodia, Nick Beresford, praised China for their poverty-reduction methods, which have lifted “hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” According to the China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, more than 700 million Chinese citizens have transitioned out of poverty. In addition, the rural poor population in China has declined to 43.35 million in December 2016.

The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Houngbo, also believes that China’s poverty reduction plan presents an excellent model for other countries to implement within own their economies. China’s economy is the second largest and accounts for 14.8 percent of the world economy, right behind the U.S. economy. With 1.38 billion people, China also has the largest population in the world.

“Even as a symbol,” President Houngbo stated, “China’s economic transition offers hope to other developing countries that want to do the same thing.”  The primary component of China’s poverty reduction plan is steady income growth for the bottom 60 percent of households in rural China. This plan has four underlying factors:

  1. Increased industrialization and urbanization throughout the country has transformed an agricultural surplus labor force into urban employment in China.
  2. Equally distributing land between the bottom “quintile households” and the top income households is another goal. The equal distribution of land enables the lower income households to proportionally benefit from the payments the state provides to support agricultural development.
  3. Universal social development programs are making contributions to increase income growth for bottom households. China has successfully implemented several social development programs designed to improve educational, medical and income growth.
  4. Targeted poverty reduction programs will develop the physical infrastructure and increase social development. They will also generate income to assist poor households.

A global market research and consulting firm called Ipsos conducted an international survey titled, “What Worries the World.” The 2017 survey documented answers from 26 different countries. They asked a random sample of 18,557 adults, aged 16 to 64, if they believed China had been making the right decisions for its citizens.

China has the highest percentage (87 percent) of people believing their country is going in a positive direction. In the survey, China was the only country to list “moral decline” as their top issue. A majority of the other 25 remaining nations listed “health care” or “unemployment” as their country’s top issue.

In a distant southern Chinese village, China’s poverty reduction plan is being tested. The Yi ethnic group has a unique language and culture from mainstream China. They reside in a geographically remote location. Many of them are illiterate and have a value system distinct from traditional money and prospects. Years of government intervention have failed to alter the Yi ethnic groups way of life.

In the village of Liangshan, more than 400,000 people are “classified as poor, meaning their yearly income is less than 340 dollars.” The Communist Party of China believes that lifting the Yi ethnic group and others out of economic hardship is critical to achieving the country’s goal of ending poverty by 2020.

While insufficient schools and language barriers present large issues, many locals believe that job creation for minority groups would be more successful than simply giving them money.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About the IFAD
The IFADs work is a critical component for addressing food security across the globe and helping to reduce poverty.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency under the umbrella of the United Nations. It works to educate families in developing regions and to provide them with access to resources for sustainable agricultural practices.

Here are 10 facts about the IFAD:

  1. The fund started in 1977 as a specialized agency of the United Nations. The framework came out of the 1974 World Food Conference in Rome.
  2. Continuing to pursue the vision of five presidents before him, Gilbert F. Houngbo has been leading the fund since April 2017. A Togo native, Houngbo has dedicated 30 years to working with the world’s poor in rural areas. Houngbo led field operations in over 100 different countries as the deputy director-general of the International Labour Organization. He served as prime minister in the Republic of Togo from 2008 to 2012.
  3. The IFAD currently has staff members in over 40 countries and subregional offices. There are more than 600 people on staff.
  4. The agency works to provide developing nations with low-interest loans and grants used to fund agricultural projects in developing rural areas. It focuses on passing on integral skills and essential access to natural resources to individuals and families in developing nations.
  5. The agency falls under the jurisdiction of a governing council and an executive board. A president and vice-president manage it, including an array of departments such as financial operations and corporate services.
  6. Rome, Italy houses the IFAD headquarters.
  7. The fund is one of three multilateral institutions working to improve agricultural practices in Africa. It is also the only institution that has an exclusive focus on smallholder development — meaning a focus on farmers who cultivate small plots of land and rely on family for labor. IFADs outreach stretches across five continents, where impoverished rural areas benefit from a focus on smallholder development.
  8. Ongoing projects are located in areas of Asia and the Pacific, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, North Africa, Europe, Central Asia and West and Central Africa. These areas receive financial support and agricultural technologies.
  9. Thus far, IFAD has distributed over $12.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans, leading to 860 different projects, and impacting more than 370 million people. Those benefiting from the fund’s efforts have been able to achieve better food security for their families.
  10. IFAD is working to mobilize more funds and resources to be invested in developing rural areas and to improve the quality of its programs through partnerships with other nations. The fund looks for the best ways to address each country’s evolving needs with Agenda 2030, a global initiative working to eradicate poverty and hunger. Agenda 2030 will work to further expand IFADs outreach, starting in 2016 and continuing through 2025, and will focus on sustainable agricultural models.


Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr

Desertification
According to the U.N., desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges people face today. Often a poorly-understood phenomenon, desertification can mean hunger, economic crisis or death for those living in poverty. Below are the answers to common questions about desertification.

Desertification FAQ’s

  1. What is desertification? Desertification refers to the process of fertile land becoming unproductive. This means that the land struggles to grow any type of vegetation due to lack of minerals and nutrients in the soil.
  2. What causes it? Desertification can be caused by many factors, including deforestation, overpopulation, poor agricultural practices or climate change.
  3. What are some misconceptions about desertification? Although the word “desert” is normally associated with sand, desertification does not necessarily mean the land is becoming sand-covered. Instead, desertification occurs when a dryland ecosystem, or ecosystem that lacks water, becomes unproductive due to the tolls of the environment or human beings.
  4. Where does it happen? Desertification can happen anywhere as long as there is land with soil. Typically, the phenomenon is seen in drylands that suffer from droughts or heavy amounts of migration.
  5. How are desertification and poverty connected? According to the U.N., there are roughly two billion people who live and depend on dryland ecosystems, and up to 90 percent of those live in developing countries. These dryland ecosystems are prime environments for desertification to occur.
  6. How does desertification affect poverty? A population in poverty that suffers from desertification can become further impoverished due to the lack of sustainable land. Desertification can lead to starvation in developing countries.
  7. What does it mean for everyone else? When desertification threatens those in poverty, it also threatens global security. It can influence war, political unrest and mass migration.
  8. What can be done to prevent it? To prevent desertification caused by humans, it is beneficial to work with farmers to apply sustainable farming practices before desertification occurs. Preventing overpopulation is also important.
  9. What can we do to aid those in poverty who suffer from desertification? According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the most efficient way to aid those in poverty is to work with them to restore their own land. This restoration includes three approaches: resting, reseeding and planting.
  10. Can desertification be reversed? Reversing desertification is challenging, but it is possible with dedication. In 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was established in order to manage and develop land that has succumbed to desertification. Strategies such as reforestation, soil hyper-fertilization and water management have been implemented in order to begin salvaging lands affected by desertification.

In 2003, then-U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan declared desertification to be “both a cause and a consequence of poverty.” Using sustainable farming methods, we can fight the consequences of desertification and work to end poverty around the globe.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) generated an innovative program, FARMS (Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability), to address the needs of host communities and increase economic opportunities for displaced individuals.

The IFAD is an international financial institution created to provide assistance during global droughts and famine. Since 1978, IFAD has contributed more than $10 billion in grants and low-interest loans that have aided more than 300 million people living in poverty. The loans and grants are used to increase household incomes and provide essential needs for families. The IFAD is primarily a U.N. agency in partnership with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and various developing countries. Currently, the IFAD supports more than 200 programs and collaborative projects in 81 developing countries.

According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the total number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people has reached 65 million globally. In the Near East and North Africa region, 10 percent of agricultural communities consist of men and women who have been displaced and were forced to relocate. Most displaced individuals originated from rural areas and are currently living in host communities outside their native country. Global financial and medical assistance has vastly increased due to recent years of extreme violence and other violations of human rights.

At the U.N. World Summit on Migration, held in September 2016, the IFAD announced the creation of FARMS to counter the escalating and ongoing displacement crisis. Khalifa Bouzar, director of the NENA division, controls FARMS. She confirmed that FARMS will cover “both international refugees (people displaced across borders) and internally displaced people (forced to flee their homes due to conflict or other extraneous factors but remaining within their country).”

Specifically, Bouzar will focus on host areas and support local communities as they adjust to the influx of displaced men and women. The FARMS mission is to promote agricultural sustainability and increase crop production. As a result, the program will provide displaced individuals with financial grants to help them contribute back to their host communities.

Another portion of FARMS mission focuses on the creation of “One Million Days of Work,” which will generate a minimum of 20,000 job opportunities for local youth. This will be achieved by implementing 500 community infrastructure projects, strengthening community and regional governments’ ability to manage agricultural and economic development. Once initial development is stabilized, FARMS aims to improve the management of natural resources, primarily land and water.

Ultimately, the FARMS mission is to assist in the implementation of long-term peace and development of dividends. “It is paramount,” Bouzar states, “to create a healthy climate for economic opportunities, and enable displaced people to return to their communities.” The program has secured $20 million of its $100 million goal.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Turkey
Turkey has a rich history of being a global leader in humanitarian efforts to reduce poverty. The nation is now one of the World Food Program’s (WFP) largest contributors despite needing aid about ten years ago. 

However, Turkey still has a long way to go to reduce poverty and hunger domestically — malnutrition is prevalent in its rural regions.

The rural poverty rate in Turkey is 35 percent compared to the urban poverty rate of 22 percent. The extreme poverty rate in rural households is at the root of growing hunger in Turkey.

Living in poverty impacts food security, secure employment, education and healthcare — all of which are easier to attain in urban regions of Turkey.

The recent influx of Syrian refugees also placed pressure on food security in Turkey. Turkish communities hosting Syrian refugees have expanded by up to 30 percent, which increased competition for employment and increased rent prices.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) implemented a plan in 2006 that focused on job-creation to bolster economic prosperity and improve living standards in rural areas to address hunger in Turkey.

The IFAD plan aims to increase participation in Turkey’s labor force by supporting small businesses and encouraging self-employment that generates incremental income.

This strategy also works to improve agricultural initiatives in remote areas of Turkey through the spread of farm mechanization and processing plants.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project (AKADP) to further reduce poverty in Turkey.

By working with local farmers from rural, eastern provinces of Turkey, the AKADP would introduce and encourage sustainable agricultural practices to reduce rural poverty and hunger in Turkey.

The AKADP claims to benefit those living in rural Turkey by increasing livestock and crop productivity, improving knowledge of farm management and strengthening both economic and social infrastructure.

Turkey is making remarkable advances toward reducing hunger because of the UNDP and IFAD projects. The WFP recently acknowledged Turkey for reducing its total undernourished population by half.

The IFAD also recognized Turkey as one of the 79 developing countries that achieved their hunger target of reducing malnutrition and the proportion of underweight children under five years old.

The Turkish government and humanitarian organizations have made it a priority to continue to uplift those in rural areas out of poverty. It is possible to reduce hunger in Turkey by investing in the rural areas, which will help its inhabitants forge brighter futures.

Mariana Camacho

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Malawi
Poverty in Malawi has been at critical levels for decades. Of the 15.9 million Malawians, about 12 million are living below the international poverty line ($1.25 a day) and approximately 14.3 million are living on less than $2.00 a day, according to the Rural Poverty Portal.

Many Malawians work in agriculture, and it is hard for them to produce enough crop to maintain an income above the international poverty line. With parental death, disease and crop failure, the obstacles that many Malawians face are abounding. Discussed below are the leading facts that thoroughly explain and illuminate the pressing issue of poverty in Malawi.

 

Top 10 Facts on Poverty in Malawi

 

  1. Over 90,000 Malawi individuals live with HIV/AIDS, which accounts for every one in ten adults.
  2. Only 65.8 percent of Malawi’s population can read and write by the age of 15, according to the CIA.
  3. Due to poverty, poor access to health care, disease and food shortage, the average life expectancy for a Malawian is 63 years, which is 25 years more than it was in 1960, according to The World Bank.
  4. There is only one doctor for every 50,000 individuals, according to the World Health Organization.
  5. Malawi’s economy is mainly agricultural, constituting of 80 percent of the population living in rural areas.
  6. The median age for Malawians is 16.4 years old.
  7. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is working in harmony with Malawi’s government to promote agricultural growth in rural areas. This is an effort to reduce poverty throughout Malawi.
  8. About 30 percent of children in Malawi do not start primary school (which is free in Malawi). Secondary and higher education is mostly attended by those of households above the international poverty line, predominantly due to the enrollment fees.
  9. Malawi is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, ranking 173rd out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index.
  10. More than one million Malawi children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.

The people of Malawi face great hardships; however, with the help of NGOs like IFAD, there is hope for an increased economy and better school systems. This in turn will lead to a decrease in disease, orphaned children and overall poverty in Malawi.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Flickr

World_hunger_statistics
A recent collaboration among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD, and the World Food Programme  yielded a publication titled, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” This document analyzes the current statistics regarding the number and location of the world’s hungry and these ten statistics reflect the most updated state of the world’s hungry populations.

1. There are 795 million people around the world who are undernourished, down by 167 million in the last decade.

According to the publication, 780 million people out of the 795 million are located in underdeveloped regions, namely Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, two areas in which severe hunger is most prevalent.

2. WFP estimates that $3.2 billion is needed each year to feed all 66 million hungry school-age children.

Hunger is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, particularly in young children under the age of 5. Increasing the U.S. foreign aid budget could drastically improve the lives of millions of hungry children.

3. About 1.3 billion tons of food, roughly one-third of all food produced, is wasted.

When all of this food is not consumed, the one in eight people in the world who go hungry every day are stripped of the chance to get a life-saving meal.

4. This year, 29 countries have achieved the World Food Summit’s goal to halve the number of undernourished people in their populations.

The countries who reached this goal: Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.

5. More than 80 percent of the world’s most food-insecure people live in countries prone to natural disasters with high levels of environmental degradation.

Areas that are likely to have hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other destructive events are consequently more prone to collapsed cities, destroyed farmlands and polluted water sources. These consequences directly impact the availability of food in these regions.

6. A total of 72 developing countries out of 129, or more than half the countries monitored, have reached the Millennium Development Goal 1c hunger target.

The MDG relating to hunger takes into account both the prevalence of undernourishment in the specified country, as well as the proportion of underweight children under the age of 5. According to the FAO report, “In many countries that have failed to reach the international hunger targets, natural and human-induced disasters or political instability have resulted in protracted crises with increased vulnerability and food insecurity of large parts of the population. In such contexts, measures to protect vulnerable population groups and improve livelihoods have been difficult to implement or [are] ineffective.”

7. Western Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the only two regions in the world where the number of hungry people has increased since the 1990 study by the WFP, according to “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.”

In Western Asia, there were eight million people undernourished in 1990, and this number has increased to 19 million this year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of undernourished people has increased from 176 million in 1990 to 220 million in 2015.

8. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 percent) of deaths in children under 5, or 3.1 million children each year.

It is estimated that nearly 8,000 of these deaths are tied to hunger. Approximately one child dies every 10 seconds.

9. Nearly one in every five people survive on less than $1.25 a day.

Approximately 80 percent of this small amount is used to buy food for an entire family. This leaves very little room for buying other necessities such as health care, clothes and shelter.

10. The main cause of hunger is poverty.

According to The Hunger Project, “Poverty, food prices and hunger are inextricably linked. Poverty causes hunger. Not every poor person is hungry, but almost all hungry people are poor. Millions live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods or cannot afford the farming supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own. Hunger can be viewed as a dimension of extreme poverty. It is often called the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty.”

– Hanna Darroll

Sources: Food and Agricultural Organization, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, World Food Programme 3, 30 Hour Famine, The Hunger Project
Photo: Cross Catholic Field Blog

azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is a small Central Asian country about the size of South Carolina bordered by The Caspian Sea, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, and Russia. Similar to Russia, Azerbaijan’s heritage is derived from both Eastern and Western civilization, making her a distinctly Eurasian entity.  In the years initially following the Russian revolution of 1917, the victorious bolsheviks invaded Azerbaijan, integrating it into the Soviet Union.  This was an effort by Lenin to capitalize on the oil reserves of the Azerbaijanis.

Consequently, agriculture in Azerbaijan was collectivized.  This caused agricultural workers to become dependent on a very specific, prescribed method of farming in which success depended upon the survival of the Soviet system.  When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990’s and farms were privatized, agricultural workers were completely unprepared to grow crops on their own.  This resulted in a situation in which uneducated farmers with limited resources were unable to maximize the productivity of their land.

Like other nations that declared independence after the fall of the USSR, Azerbaijan’s rural communities have struggled immensely to stand on their own two feet economically.  Rural poverty is widespread, but it is especially concentrated in the desolate northeastern part of the country, with pockets also appearing in the mountainous north western region of  Sheki-Zagatal where the poverty rate is over 50%.  The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) describes the severity of the economic conditions there, stating:

“Remote areas and upland or mountainous areas show high rates of poverty. These areas often lack basic infrastructure and services, including irrigation, adequate road access, a reliable drinking water supply and health services.”

Fortunately, IFAD has invested almost $200 million in development projects in Azerbaijan over the last decade and a half.  These projects focus on improving food security through practical education (such as irrigation tutorials) and the establishment of business connections between rural farmers and lucrative markets.  With support such as this, agriculture in Azerbaijan has the potential to rise out of poverty in the coming years.

– Josh Forgét
Source: Rural Poverty Portal via IFAD,Glenn E. Curtis
Photo: Azerbaijan News