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top ten facts about poverty in sierra leonePoverty has held a tight grip on Sierra Leone for as long as most people can remember. Sierra Leone remains one of the least developed low-income countries in the world. With a population of around six million people, the level of poverty is vast. The poverty status is well-known, although not many people know its extent or how it became this way. To clarify, here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Sierra Leone.

Key Facts About Poverty in Sierra Leone

  1. Sierra Leone’s social, economic and political unrest began around the time they gained independence from the British in 1961. This led to many economic and political challenges.
  2. In 1991, the state of Sierra Leone was devastated by extreme brutality when a civil war broke out as a result of a rebel group’s attempt to overthrow the government in power. Over 50,000 civilians were killed and an estimated two million were displaced.
  3. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, poverty alleviation has been a priority for the region; however, the level of poverty still remains high at its impact on 50-60 percent of the population.
  4. Most of Sierra Leone is rural communities with a few urban exceptions like the capitol, Freetown. Poverty levels in the rural areas have been gradually declining but remain relatively stagnant in the more urban communities.
  5. Sierra Leone has made considerable progress in the economy as a result of poverty alleviation efforts. The growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 4.5 percent to 5.3 percent in 2010. It has been projected that the economy will grow 6 percent on average every year.
  6. The impoverished conditions are also not always the people’s fault. The region is prone to natural disasters, climate change and epidemics. Climate change alone can cause an annual loss between $600 million and one billion. It also leads to heightened pollution and the devastation of critical crops.
  7. Another one of the top ten facts about poverty in Sierra Leone is that it is heavily dependent on aid. An estimated 50 percent of public investment programs are being financed by foreign sources.
  8. The progress of poverty alleviation was halted by the Ebola outbreak of 2014. The outbreak ravaged the area and hit the economy with a decrease of almost 3 percent in average growth rate.
  9. USAID, since the civil war, has been aiding Sierra Leone specifically in gaining political stability and strengthening democratic governance. Maintaining stability will help ensure the proper development of the region as well as maintain peace and security.
  10. The educational completion levels are low in the region with more than half of the people over the age of fifteen having never attended school. In general, the access to public services such as education is very low.

Projected Progress

Sierra Leone, while being underdeveloped, is still a very young country. There is progress each year that will only continue from here. Many foreign aid agencies are invested in the progression of poverty alleviation in Sierra Leone and wish to assure peace and security.

– Samantha Harward
Photo: Flickr

Mandela

Nelson Mandela is known internationally for his great activism for equal rights for all. Mandela was a South African political leader, beginning his career as a lawyer determined to free his fellow black Africans.

July of 2018 marked his centennial, and though he may no longer be alive, his legacy continues on. His anti-apartheid revolution improved levels of poverty in Africa, and his words of inspiration will forever impact others: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

Today, many people still celebrate Nelson Mandela’s work through the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Barack Obama recently gave a speech in celebration of Mandela, encouraging philanthropists everywhere to honor his work. Celebrities like Oprah, Jay-Z, Usher, Ed Sheeran and others are coming together to put on a concert for the Mandela 100 Fest in South Africa.

For those interested in celebrating Mandela, there are several ways to get involved. Action occurs at three levels:

  • Having the humanitarian mindset to care for supporting poverty in Africa
  • Being willing to communicate that concern and the need for aid
  • Finally jumping into action to provide the hands-on work.

Here are the most impactful ways to follow in Nelson Mandela’s legacy and help alleviate poverty in Africa.

6 Ways to Alleviate Poverty in Africa

  1. Believe in Humanity. Before one can bring about change and support for equality and basic human rights for all, the mindset has to exist. It is crucial to truly believe that all humans are deserving of the same dignity and respect. No cultural group is less human than another. Find commonality in humanity and advocate for justice in all corners of the Earth.
  2. Support Democracy. Democracy is the form of government that is ruled by elected officials in which members of the political boundary or state have been given the power to elect. Democracy means that everyone has a voice; thus, less oppression is allowed to take place. Though Africa as a continent is moving toward democracy, some countries remain oppressed, especially those in extreme poverty in rural areas. By supporting democracy in Africa, corruption and widespread violence can be eliminated.
  3. Empowerment. Being oppressed means that your voice isn’t being heard and that you are part of a marginalized, automatically disadvantaged group. The situation often seems hopeless when you are treated as insignificant. Any support for poverty in Africa is helpful, but when individuals feel empowered, minds expand and spirits rise. Be a part of lifting people up to feel empowered to seek out basic human rights — health, education, equality and social justice.
  4. Educate Yourself. With so many ways to access current events, it is fairly simple to stay current on global news. In developed nations, internet access is readily available to almost all persons. Take it upon yourself to seek out the facts and stay informed. Read the newspapers, subscribe to newsletters through your email or on your smartphone, or even search the internet for international happenings. It is important to be aware of credible sources versus not, so that you don’t fall victim to unnecessary hysteria. Another part of being informed about foreign affairs is to know who your public officials are as well as what policies exist for poverty in Africa — both pending in status and already in place.
  5. Dialogue. Don’t underestimate the power of communication. Poverty is a gruesome reality in Africa and many other underdeveloped nations. In a busy day-to-day life, there are many social interactions with people in social and professional circles. Many of these people will be aware of what is going on, and many will not. If people are having the conversations about poverty in Africa, its ramifications and how the U.S. as a leading global country can help, then the more likely it is for social action to ensue.
  6. Volunteer Your Time. Individuals in America and other developed nations can help alleviate poverty in foreign lands without having to travel or donate money. You can make a difference by taking action. Simple acts like calling your representative or sending an email can help bring attention to foreign aid. If time allows, meet with that representative to discuss the importance of supporting poverty in Africa. Contribute to an organization by organizing or volunteering for a fundraiser.

Leave a Mark

Nelson Mandela advocated for citizens of Africa to have the right to education, health, hunger, gender equality, literacy, peace and poverty while also supporting many charities. He has left his mark by not only his influence on political change but also his passionate and relentless motivation of people around the globe.

– Heather Benton

Photo: Flickr

poverty alleviation through technologyAlthough breaking the cycle of poverty is difficult, poverty rates around the world have been improving. According to a report issued by the World Bank, 35 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty 1990. In 2013, that number was down to 10.7 percent, which means the U.N.’s first Millenium Development Goal, to cut poverty in half by 2015, has been accomplished.

However, while many have moved out of extreme poverty, statistics show that the end of poverty is far from over. As a potential way to help speed up the process even more, many companies are helping with poverty alleviation through technology programs.

Companies Tackling Poverty Alleviation Through Technology

  1. Microsoft 365: Microsoft teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme on Jan. 23, 2004, to help with poverty alleviation through technology in Africa. It strongly believes that technology is a crucial aspect that can bridge the gap between schools in urban and rural areas, eventually eliminating world hunger and poverty. Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates hopes to end poverty by 2030 by launching his software in more developing countries around the world.Microsoft set up a three-pillar model in order to make sure the technology was applied correctly in schools. The first pillar provided the appropriate service for the individual based on their technological ability or age group. The second pillar equipped more than 200,000 teachers with the software in order to make sure the teachers were trained and familiar with the technology before it was introduced to students. The third pillar encouraged participation and creativity. The students were introduced to programs such as Skype or OneNote.
  2. GeoPoll: GeoPoll is a company that is taking advantage of mobile phones becoming more common in developing countries. Since 2012, it has partnered with more than 85 mobile network operations and has had connectivity in 64 countries of the world. Its purpose is to send a survey text through those living in the developing countries. Once citizens fill out the survey, the results are sent to the government and NGOs, allowing them to help with poverty alleviation.An example of when a GeoPoll survey was used was during the outbreak of Ebola in 2014. GeoPoll conducted food security surveys in countries that were affected and helped gather data on food prices and wages. From these results, it was able to decipher which areas needed more aid and which areas should continue to be monitored.
  3. Humanitarian Accelerators: Humanitarian Accelerators was launched in 2016 by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is meant to help with cultural, social and environmental issues in the region by connecting businesses all around the globe to United Arab Emirate’s humanitarian sector. Humanitarian Accelerators has set up its technology in over 116 different countries with the hopes of improving the lives of those in developing countries.In the past, the company has worked to provide educational technology to refugee students in order to ensure they receive the same level of education as other children. One of the company’s current initiatives is to employ technology in order to provide job opportunities to refugees.
  4. Poverty Spotlight: Poverty Spotlight is a program that is currently working in 18 countries and is most advanced in South Africa. It is meant to help with poverty alleviation through a mobile app that enables those in poverty to self-diagnose their own level of poverty. Its mission is to help individuals and families in poverty discover innovative solutions to lift themselves out of their situations.Individuals complete a survey about what they are in need of, then their neighbors fill out the same assessment and together they work on achieving them. The app allows individuals to become aware of their situation and build motivation and support from others to overcome it. The staff behind Poverty Spotlight also creates a personalized plan for every family.

Technology allows for many things today that were impossible in the past. The more technology advances, the more opportunities it gives us to learn, educate and help poverty alleviation through technology around the world.

– Negin Nia

Indian Village Powered by the Sun
The words “energy crisis” are more common and less panic-inducing than ever before. In life, days for most people end the same way they begin 
― by flipping the light-switch.

Solar Initiatives and Climate Change

The National Solar Initiative was a global contribution in one of many efforts to combat the slippery slope of climate change. The 2008 initiative was created by the United States government with several targets in mind, one of which included solar power.

According to the National Action Plan on Climate Change, “India is a tropical region where sun is available for longer hours per day with great intensity,” so India had seen a reason to establish responsible and smart change. Also, another global agreement for change include the Paris Agreement signed in 2016, which sought to curb rising global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius. Since these action plans, India has taken strong global action in becoming one of the leaders in alternative energy sources.

History of Diu

The village of Diu, an island in western India, is quaint compared to its neighboring counterparts. With a population of 50,000 people, Diu is now known as the Indian village powered by the sun and provides electricity for some of India’s poorest populations.

Mostly known for its holiday tourism, Diu became a territory in 1987, and is one of seven Union territories located in India. While 60 percent of Indian poverty is located on the eastern side of the country, alternative energy sources will continue to aid economic growth in Diu. Data for Gujarat, India (just above Diu) indicates that although the state is heavily manufacture-based, the nation never managed to reach economic growth.

Energy Implications

Despite this status, strong new data suggests many positive implications regarding higher living standards. The first is increased local communication. Solar power in Diu has established communication and economic relations with its neighboring state, Gujarat, due to the fact that most night-time energy stems from this ally.

In 2017, Diu imported only 26 percent of its electricity from Gujarat; the other 73 percent came from their own solar power. Such communication and negotiation is useful for global trade advancements in the future.

Alternative energy has also provided education. Non-governmental organizations — such as The Barefoot College — train and educate solar engineers. The students go on to repair solar lighting and heat in an effort to increase electrification, which is especially helpful in rural areas similar to the Indian village powered by the sun.

Perhaps the most positive ramification to modernizing electricity is the exponential economic effect. According to The World Bank, global powerhouses would be able to focus more attention on alternative sources in places like Diu by ending fossil fuel subsidies. Furthermore, researchers would have more access to data regarding the benefits of solar energy alleviating poverty.

What Do the Panels Look like?

The answer to this question lies within the middle of India’s Eastern hills. The expansive panels cover almost 50 acres, and fuel all of the village’s daytime power needs. With a smaller population, 10.5 megawatts (MW) of energy are created but only 7 MW are used; thus, rapid population growth is a proven problem. Fortunately, though, generating greater resources allows the population to both increase and receive adequate power.

By 2019, the Indian village powered by the sun will welcome wind power to the island. The government will create 6.8 MW of wind power that will then be used for day and night energy.  

Change On the Horizon

With other alternative energy sources on the horizon, it’s safe to say that Diu will no longer be the only Indian village powered by the sun. Diu, and many other countries in 2019 will take on the needed role of environmental leaders with exciting new sources of energy.

– Logan Moore
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in IranAs Iran is currently at the epicenter of geopolitics and regional conflicts in the turbulent Middle East, the country’s role in international affairs is steadily growing in importance. Moreover, the Iran nuclear deal is also revitalizing Iran’s presence and significance on the global stage at the same time.

The Current Situation in Iran

According to the World Bank Group, Iran’s GDP in 2017 was $439.5 billion while its population peaked at 80.6 million. On the poverty alleviation front, poverty in Iran fell from 13.1 percent to 8.1 percent between the years 2009 to 2013. Also, in the changing dynamic of its domestic politics and a new wave of secularism and liberalism brought on by a burgeoning young population in the country, addressing poverty in Iran is a very key objective for various stakeholder groups.

However, according to a report by the Independent from Dec. 2017, the economic situation in Iran appears rather bleak in some regard because food prices are on the rise and unemployment figures are at an all-time high at over 12.4 percent. Expanding income inequalities in the country are also becoming quite widespread due to major deficiencies in the taxation and welfare systems offered to the people.

How Iran’s Political Climate Could Affect Poverty

Historically, since the culmination of the Pahlavi dynasty and revolution in Iran in 1979, the country’s social and economic progress has been a vital priority. In recent years, owing to the perceived threat of its nuclear arsenal, Iran’s diplomatic relations with its western counterparts have impacted its trade and commerce majorly due to the imposition of crippling international sanctions.

Furthermore, the changing attitudes of the Trump administration are a major threat to the deal as it may be detrimental to the future economic and diplomatic recovery Iran is trying to seek. Unfortunately, the collapse of the deal could be a major hindrance to countering poverty in Iran.

The Iran nuclear deal can help greatly bolster the capacity to alleviate poverty in Iran due to the level of investment Iran could easily achieve in the future with the expansion of its oil market, given its vast and abundant reserves. Iran can boost its oil output, GDP and household incomes in the future with diminished sanctions.

Consequently, the introduction of the Iran nuclear deal was followed by noticeable economic recovery in the country with Iran’s economy growing at an annual rate of about 12.5 percent after a sizeable contraction of about 1.6 percent in the year 2015. The country hopes to maintain growth amounting to four percent annually.

Alleviating Poverty in Iran through Investment

Moreover, remediating poverty in Iran can also be achieved by increasing the level of investment and tapping into Iran’s potential. Iran is beginning to expand and diversify its industries, especially its hydrocarbon, agriculture and services sectors, and is also continuing to focus on boosting its financial and manufacturing capabilities as well. Additionally, this may help decrease Iran’s over-reliance on its oil market as prices have often tended to remain quite volatile, especially in recent years.

The government is also implementing its twentieth-year vision and sixth five-year development plan in order to focus more on market-based reforms and techniques. This strategy is targeting three important realms: economy, science and technology. The subsidy reforms orchestrated by the government will directly help reduce poverty in Iran as they aim to target price adjustment and further increase cash transfers to low-income households in the country.

Alleviating poverty in Iran shall largely depend on existing and future initiatives that involve opening up the economy further, engaging in economic and trade liberalization with its key trading partners and embarking on further domestic structural reforms.

– Shivani Ekkanath
Photo: Flickr

The Story of Poverty Decline in KenyaA December 2017 report published by the World Bank indicates that the percentage of Kenyan people living below the international poverty line has dropped significantly over the last decade. In 2005-2006, 43.6 percent of Kenyans were living on less than $1.90 per day. In 2015-2016, that number sank to 35.6 percent, a dramatic improvement.

Despite these findings, researchers maintain that it is doubtful that poverty in Kenya will be eradicated by 2030. So what exactly is behind the poverty decline in Kenya, and why will it not be enough to completely solve the problem in the future?

Infrastructure Contributes to Poverty Decline in Kenya

Since 2013, the public sector’s contribution to GDP growth has jumped from just 1.1 percent to 2.5 percent. This is largely due to ambitious projects undertaken by the Kenyatta administration, including the construction of a $24.5 billion northern trade route, the expansion of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, the creation of the Lamu Port and the modernization of major Kenyan airports. These developments have opened up new opportunities for trade throughout the region.

Beyond that, Kenya has made incredible strides in providing basic needs to its citizens over the past few years. In 2013, only 27 percent of Kenyan households had access to electricity. This number skyrocketed to 55 percent, or 5.7 million households, by the beginning of 2017. The number of Kenyan households with access to improved water sources has also climbed from just 60 percent in 2005 to nearly 72 percent in 2015. In addition, Kenya is leading the way in households with access to adequate sanitation facilities among countries with similar poverty rates. These improvements are crucial to promoting economic growth because they are the cornerstones of basic health and well-being.

Agricultural Growth Promising, But Unstable

Another factor leading to the poverty decline in Kenya is the agricultural sector. According to the report, agriculture accounted for the largest share of poverty reduction in the past decade. The agricultural sector remains the leading contributor to Kenya’s GDP, and provided a sizeable boost to the economy with an average growth of 4.1 percent between 2011 and 2015.

However, this is problematic because farming is an unreliable source of growth. The success of crops is completely controlled by weather conditions, and drought is extremely common in Africa. Kenya witnessed the devastating impacts of relying on agriculture last year when its economy took a hit due to decreased rainfall levels. This instability is one of the reasons why experts say that poverty will not be eradicated by 2030.

Private Sector Investment Needed to Continue Poverty Decline in Kenya

An additional obstacle to the poverty decline in Kenya is the deterioration of the private sector. In recent years, GDP growth from private investments has slid from 1.3 percent in 2013 to negative 0.7 percent in 2017. This is partially due to the political instability that surrounded the presidential election in 2017, which led many to see investments in Kenya as a risk because the government seemed fragile. Another claim made in the report is that the increase in government spending led to “crowding out,” the discouraging of private spending due to a rise in interest rates.

Although poverty may not be completely eradicated by 2030, it is projected to decrease at the rate of one percentage point per year if current trends continue. Though there are some major challenges to overcome in the future, the poverty decline in Kenya is a promising sign for the country’s welfare.

– Maddi Roy

Photo: Flickr

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

solve global povertyAccording to the World Bank, living in extreme poverty means living on less than $1.90 per day. Although the number of people living in such conditions has been cut in half since 1990, now at less than one billion people, strategies to solve global poverty are still needed. The World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) think the answer can be found in trading.

A developing country’s increased participation in trade has a positive correlation with its decline in poverty. Developing countries now make up 48 percent of world trade, a rise from 33 percent in 2000. Trade has also shown to stimulate economic growth, improve productivity and increase the number and quality of jobs in developing nations.

The joint report provided by the World Bank and the WTO, called “The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty,” provides several examples of the increase in economic growth directly related to an increase in trade. It has also found five areas of focus to solve global poverty:

  1. Lower trade costs
  2. Improve the enabling environment
  3. Intensify integration policies
  4. Address risks faced by the poor
  5. Better understanding to inform policy

Lowering trade costs for deeper integration of markets would allow simpler means for deconstructing barriers restricting economic growth. With these barriers gone, growth and poverty reduction would surely follow.

The organizations assert improving the enabling environment. The environment can be strengthened through policies related to human and physical capital, access to finance, governance and institutions and macroeconomic stability. Solidifying the qualifying environment can be done through pioneering policy contexts that improve discussions with the poor, and target their needs more carefully.

Intensifying the poverty impact of integration policies would help bring greater focus on facing inaccessibility of markets. Reforms to challenge costs created by a lack of competition and other sources of domestic costs are another integral aspect of integration. There is also a key focus on the aspect of women’s challenges in smaller, poverty-driven communities as opposed to those faced by men.

The report tackles managing and mitigating risks faced by the poor. Those within global poverty are already at a higher disadvantage when trade risks arise than those of wealthier, developed countries. By addressing these issues, the report sets forth prioritizing resilience for the poor in order to strengthen the prospects of economic growth and make gains to solve global poverty.

Improving data and analysis to inform policy is requested in order to better understand and implement design and effective policies to maximize the poverty reduction gains from trade. The understanding of global poverty and the nature of the informal economy is essential to address trade-related restrictions.

Though all these assertions are quality actions, there is an overriding theme omitted. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports how global poverty creates environments of ill-health due to inadequate sanitation. For this reason, the WHO’s work includes global advocacy, regional initiatives and direct support to ministries of health in developing countries.

With all these actions put into motion to the fullest extent, the work to solve global poverty can have great success.

– Richard Zarrilli, Jr.

Photo: Pixabay

How to Overcome PovertyAccording to The World Bank, more than 767 million people live in poverty. That represents one person out of every 10 living on less than $1.90 per day. Although that number has dropped significantly from almost four out of 10 people in 1990, these figures continue to remain unacceptable.

The effects of poverty can be dire, especially for the 328 million children living in extreme poverty: a lack of food, clean water and medical care can lead to malnutrition and other diseases, a lack of shelter can further impact illnesses and a lack of education and job training often lead to an increase in crime, which exacerbates these issues.

Information on how to overcome poverty comes from a wide variety of sources and offers a vast range of advice, as overcoming poverty is as intricate as poverty itself. However, in researching and learning how to overcome poverty, there are a few core aspects that should remain at the forefront of combating this global issue.

Sense of Community

According to Outreach International, a community can only succeed in alleviating poverty if the people involved are “actively and authentically participating in the efforts to fight poverty.” This refers to not just the leaders, but also the people most affected. Their situations need to be taken into consideration and through open dialogue and simplification they become part of the process of resolving their problems.

Governmental Accountability

The spending of taxpayers’ money should always be visible to citizens. This makes their actions and inactions easier to address and discourages corruption within the bureaucracy. Implementing oversight can be especially beneficial to those whose government might, for example, be spending money on its nuclear weapons development instead of its poverty programs.

Education an Important Part of How to Overcome Poverty

While education provides knowledge and training, which can fortify the economy, poverty is also a mental and psychological condition. Education in impoverished populations provides a way for people to better understand their situation and visualize their way out of poverty. It has the power to bring about an end to other social issues as well such as racism and sexism, both of which are intrinsically connected to poverty.

Job Creation

Extensively planned employment programs started by the government can grow the job market. Oftentimes, industries with a substantial labor force can be given larger aid from the government. Developing companies that offer sustainable and long-term jobs to the community should be given focus.

Prioritizing Human Rights

This might prove to be the hardest due to the inequalities that persist in developing countries. Every person should have access to the necessities of life: food, housing, electricity, healthcare and clean water. Only after these basic amenities have been put in place should governments move on to other projects.

One of the most important aspects of learning how to overcome poverty is understanding that it takes time. The process is not simple and short, especially when trying to achieve a deep transformation. Sustaining collective efforts to address the issues involves individuals having an increased level of consciousness about their own capabilities and situations. It takes time to break the culture of silence.

– Aaron Stein

Photo: Flickr

advocacy examples
These are five effective ways that people who want to help end global poverty can advocate for change. While some methods — such as contacting elected officials — are easier than others (going to another country), every single method is valuable, and everything that people do to advocate for change is important. The most important thing to remember is that it does not matter what is done to advocate for change just as long as people take some action that helps to achieve the change.

Example 1: Educate people at work or on campus about global poverty.

Of all the advocacy examples that people could choose from, education is one of the most important ways to advocate for change. Unless people are educated about a problem, there is no way to mobilize others to make a difference. An easy way to educate people about global poverty, then, is to direct them to the Borgen Project’s website.

Another way to educate people about poverty is to direct them to first-hand reports about the problems people who live in impoverished countries face on a day-to-day basis. This visual could be accomplished by showing people a documentary about poverty, for instance.

Example 2: Contact and encourage an elected official to fight global poverty.

While contacting local representatives is one of the most powerful ways to advocate for change, few people realize how profound of an impact either calling or writing to elected officials can have. Contacting a representative allows the elected official to know that an issue is important to their constituents, and that knowledge can then be translated into actionable change in regard to global poverty.

Elected officials do not have an abundance of time to deal with every issue that comes across their plate, so they generally will spend their time working on issues important to the people who live in their district. Representatives assume that the issues that people in their district contact them with are the most important matters to their districts.

Example 3: Volunteering to help fight global poverty locally and/or abroad.

One of the advocacy methods that first comes to mind with the topic of ‘fighting global poverty’ is volunteering. There are generally two types of volunteering:

  • Volunteering for a local group working to bring awareness to global poverty
  • Volunteering for a relief organization working in another country to address issues caused by global poverty

While both raising awareness about an issue and actively trying to address the issue are important, causing more people to be aware of an issue ensures that people will attempt some form of solution. Even though going to a foreign country is a rewarding experience, it is also just as helpful to raise awareness domestically to the problems caused by global poverty so that the roots of the problem can become fixed on the policy level.

Example 4: Educate the larger community about global poverty.

Let members of the community know about the problems caused by global poverty. An easy way to let people know about global poverty is to write a letter to the editor, creating a short show to air on the local community television station or posting flyers about poverty around the community.

Letting the whole community know about global poverty is even more important than educating people at work or at school because informing more people about a problem is more likely to lead to lasting change.

Example 5: Hold a rally about global poverty.

While this is more difficult than other advocacy examples, it is also one of the most effective ways to advocate for change. If a large group of people rally for an issue, more people will take notice of the problem. Contacting larger media outlets and having them cover the rally would bring the issue of global poverty to the attention of a larger group of people.

There’s significant opportunity at these rallies to inform people about the Borgen Project and other advocacy/awareness organizations, pass out information about how to fight global poverty, and if the rally is large enough, hold a press conference is shown around the nation.

The most important aspect of advocacy is getting other people to notice that some people care deeply about an issue. Specific actions people take when they advocate for change is yes, important, but getting more people aware of an issue, and getting more people to become an advocate for change, will bear incredibly impactful long-term results.

Every person who decides to become an advocate is a small, vastly important cog in the machine of change. As long as each person makes a small effort to advocate for an issue such as global poverty, it is possible to both raise awareness of a problem and create solutions.

– Michael Israel

Photo: Flickr