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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

Decreasing global poverty can help increase global healthNearly half of the world’s population lives in poverty. Millions of people die every year from diseases brought on by starvation and dehydration. Many people in impoverished countries lack adequate food security and clean drinking water, which leads to rampaging water and foodborne diseases.

In many ways, bringing healthier, more sanitary conditions to impoverished countries can not only reduce poverty but also improve national health. When people are forced to live in unsanitary conditions with little to no medical care, diseases run rampant. Many of the diseases that are most common in impoverished areas can be easily prevented.

Decreasing global poverty is the top priority of many of the world’s leading health organizations. Decreasing global poverty can help increase global health.

Unsafe Drinking Water and Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne diseases are extremely common in impoverished areas, such as diarrhea, cholera, salmonella and hepatitis A. Easily contracted, waterborne diseases are caused by microorganisms entering the body from contaminated water.

In the past, Bhutan was considered to have some of the worst drinking water in the world. Many disease outbreaks have occurred in the country, such as bacterial diarrhea and typhoid fever, resulting in high mortality rates. However, in the last decade, the Bhutanese have made substantial efforts to improve their water supply. As of 2015, 100 percent of Bhutan’s people had access to improved drinking water sources. This has grown life expectancy in the country from 64.1 years in 2005 to 69.8 years in 2015.

Malnutrition and Vitamin Deficiency

The human body needs to take in a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients daily to sustain itself. In many impoverished countries, food security is nearly nonexistent. Also, many people in these areas suffer from a lack of resources, a lack of stable income and a lack of product.

Malnutrition can lead to a variety of diseases, including scurvy, rickets and pellagra. In many poverty-stricken countries, such as India, malnutrition is responsible for more than 15 percent of the disease burden. Since India has such a high poverty rate, many people do not have the funds or resources needed for quality nutrition.

This leads to a decrease in strength and a deficient immune system. India has been victim to many disease outbreaks over the years, most recently with the Zika virus in 2017. Malnutrition in India is most commonly seen in children under the age of five.

Over the last decade, India has steadily been getting richer, through poverty is still prevalent. With a decrease in the difference between classes and a more stable economy, India will be able to attain sustainable agriculture. This will increase food security in the country and decrease malnutrition. With stronger, healthier people, many countries can start decreasing global poverty.

Decreasing Global Poverty Leads to Better Living Conditions

By decreasing poverty in heavily stricken areas, living conditions will improve. People will be able to better financially support themselves and afford proper food, which will decrease malnutrition.

Decreasing global poverty can help increase global health. The two go hand in hand. By giving people more opportunities and ways to better themselves and their environment, we can continue decreasing global poverty and create a healthier world.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

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

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

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

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

With the end of 2017 approaching, Congress is working on appropriations bills for the year 2018 that will determine where and how much money will be spent on government programs. Science, research and providing foreign aid in 2018 are among some of the things these bills will impact.

In September 2017, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $51 billion for foreign aid, the State Department and other related programs for 2018. This bill will also provide more than $6 billion for humanitarian assistance.

The issue of providing foreign aid has received bipartisan support in Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans going against President Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign assistance programs. The $6 billion approval for humanitarian assistance is approximately $1 billion more than the president requested.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is one of President Trump’s main voices of support. Tillerson believes that the budget is “historically high” and that it has grown to provide foreign aid and respond to conflicts abroad.

President Trump’s proposed 30 percent budget cut to USAID, the State Department, U.N. contributions and programs like Power Africa and the Peace Corps has also received criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voiced his support of providing aid by saying, “Now is the time to double down on diplomacy and development.”

Furthermore, the bill proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee will resume its $10 million funding for the U.N. Environment Programme, counteracting President Trump’s proposal to end it.

“Frankly, I consider the President’s budget request to be dead on its arrival here in the U.S. Senate,” said Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. “The aid we provide to countries around the world directly advances U.S. national interests by fostering a safer and more stable world, opening markets to U.S. businesses and promoting American values.”

In addition to being a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Coons serves as a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus of Effective Foreign Assistance alongside Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) and Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL).

Zimbabwe is one of many countries that relies on the United States providing foreign aid. The $150 million in aid provided by the U.S. yearly is used to help with hunger and climate change programs. With a population of 2.1 million people, the foreign aid provided to Zimbabwe has resulted in the creation of the ENSURE program. ENSURE has helped six districts dealing with famine and has provided proper irrigation systems for over 220 hectares serving 4,200 farmers.

With bipartisan support, the United States plans to continue providing foreign aid into 2018. Members of Congress agree that providing foreign aid is vital to both the United States and the world.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr

Argentina lowered its poverty rateFrom the second half of 2016 to the first half of 2017, Argentina lowered its poverty rate by 1.7 percent. Though that number may seem small, it represents a significant step forward for a country who has over 30 percent of its citizens living in destitution. What steps did the nation take to reverse years of trends? How can other struggling parts of the globe learn from Argentina?

Market-Friendly Policies
One of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri’s goals was to attract foreign financing. From 2003 to 2016, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Argentina averaged at $575 million. But in the second quarter of 2016, the FDI increased to $788 million. This amount represents the highest investment in the country since July 2014.

Steep Currency Devaluation
To combat record inflation, Macri took an unpopular measure. Currency devaluation in 2015 resulted in surging prices and a temporary increase in the country’s poor. Money was now worth less, though this was little comfort to those with little money to start.

All Macri’s program needed was time. Private sector investment and job creation rose in the past year, which led to more consumer spending. Not only has the poverty rate recovered from its drop, but the country now has a solid base of businesses and investments to continue its trends. A healthy economy tends to create lower poverty… though that truism doesn’t always hold.

Not Depending On Businesses Alone
Despite the advances made under Macri’s leadership, his government is riddled with issues. His critics claim that Macri’s attempts to court businesses only led to a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Reducing subsidies for electricity and gas led to a 40 percent rise in inflation in 2016.

But in a non-business sense, Macri’s initiatives represent a step forward. In 2013, former President Cristina Kirchner claimed that Argentina lowered its poverty rate to five percent, and refused to back that claim with evidence. The current state of Argentina challenges that dubious claim. More so than any business, the best move Argentina made for its impoverished was to admit it had a problem. For each positive gain spearheaded by Macri, government humility made them all possible.

Erasmo Mema, a political analyst from FTI Consulting, predicted that Argentina’s 2017 economic successes would make or break Macri’s legacy. As of November 2017, the Macri administration appears secure. But Mema warns Argentina that “…any foreign direct investment will have to be buttressed by the government’s commitment to transparency, [and] a sound economic policy…”

– Nick Edinger

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to MexicoMexico is a country that has been ravaged by poverty for centuries. About 44 million of its total population live in poverty, while 14 million Mexicans live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day.

Despite the rampant destitution, there have been several noteworthy efforts that highlight the success of humanitarian aid to Mexico. One example is CHOICE Humanitarian. This organization has worked in Mexico for over twenty years, partnering with countless rural villages in Mexico. They have left an indelible mark on nine Mexican states, teaching vital skills such as cheese making, blacksmithing and livestock micro enterprises, among others. Other useful programs have been implemented as well, such as savings programs for women, healthcare training and constructing classrooms.

One of the goals of CHOICE Humanitarian is to establish self-sustaining projects that allow villages to thrive on their own. This typically takes about three to five years, but Mexico has seen tremendous success in this particular humanitarian endeavor. It is a shining example of humanitarian aid to Mexico.

That being said, there is still much work to be done. Thousands of villages in Mexico are still in dire need of help and have not reached this level of sustainability and economic independence.

The earthquakes that devastated Mexico only a few months ago resulted in an influx of aid from the international community. No amount of aid could fully efface the tragedy of the event, but other nations such as Bolivia donated generously in the aftermath. The Bolivian government sent a cargo plane full of 11 tons of humanitarian aid. The aid consisted of sanitary equipment, non-perishable food and two thousand blankets. In addition, the Bolivian President Evo Morales tweeted his country’s solidarity with Mexico. Bolivia has continued to pledge more aid to Mexico, making the future of humanitarian aid to Mexico more promising.

In a country like Mexico, where poverty is rampant, the amount of aid it receives is vital for its future success. While the country has seen a string of tragedies as of late, mostly in the form of natural disasters, many countries have stepped up to help in its time of need. While humanitarian aid in Mexico is not without its merit, more work certainly needs to be done.

– Mohammad Hasan Javed

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to SyriaGoing into its seventh year, the Syrian civil war has created one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time. With more than 480,000 people killed and 11 million people displaced from their homes, the international community has grappled with the question of how to bring relief to Syrians amid active hostilities and uncertain circumstances.

The scope and complexity of the conflict, along with the government’s restriction on aid to various regions (especially rebel-held territories), have severely limited international organizations’ relief workers and supplies from reaching much of the country.

Once in a while, though, a humanitarian push manages to rise above the proverbial brick wall that is armed conflict to give hope that there can be successes for humanitarian aid to Syria. Such is the case with the education program bringing new opportunities to some of the hardest-to-reach students in the war-torn city of Aleppo.

With increased access to parts of Aleppo, the Syrian Society for Social Development (SSSD) has begun offering free classes and tutoring to students in the city. This comes at a time when 1.75 million school-aged children are out of the classroom and 1.35 million more are at risk of dropping out.

The SSSD provides a variety of programs, including remedial classes for students who have missed school as well as tutoring, education supplies and registration help. Through some of their informal education programs, they facilitate the transition of dropout students back into the critical thinking mindset of learning to eventually return to formal education.

Zooming out of Aleppo to the rest of Syria, the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan stated that over 1.1 million children were reached through various forms of formal and informal education. These children, along with the 179,118 people who have been reached through women and girls’ empowerment activities, are reason for the hope of continued success of humanitarian aid to Syria.

To get back on its feet economically and promote political stability for the future, Syria cannot afford to lose a generation of educated youths. While the push to get all Syrian children back into school remains an uphill battle in the ongoing conflict, the success of humanitarian aid to Syria gives hope that even the hardest-to-reach students can find their way into the classroom.

– Belén Loza

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to NepalWedged between China and India, the small country of Nepal consists of nearly 30 million individuals. In 2015, the country was devastated by an earthquake that took the lives of nearly 9,000 people, and left close to 4 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The earthquake also destroyed the nation’s infrastructure and homes, setting back economic development significantly. Despite the devastation that occurred, many organizations provided humanitarian aid to Nepal and many of their efforts have proven to be successful. While many organizations showed their support, the work of two key organizations has been transformative to the lives of the Nepalese.

CARE

CARE has been present in Nepal since 1978. Its work has been focused on food security, HIV/AIDS prevention, improving health, education and water sources. It also works to empower young girls and women. When the earthquake struck in 2015, CARE was one of the first organizations that was able to provide humanitarian aid to Nepal. It provided immediate assistance to 10,000 Nepalese with shelter and materials to thousands of others to repair their homes. CARE also distributed water purification tablets, built emergency latrines and provided the Nepalese with hygiene essentials.

Following natural disasters, it is common to see incidents of gender-based violence increase. As part of its humanitarian aid to Nepal, CARE created friendly spaces where women can seek protection, have access to information, education, support and various services. Its work with women has helped to empower many Nepalese women.

To date, CARE has provided humanitarian aid to over 130,000 Nepalese and it is estimated that by the early months of 2018 it will assist another 100,000 people.

Save the Children

Save the Children has worked in Nepal since 1976. The primary goal of its work is to partner with local communities and organizations to design sponsorship programs for kids. These sponsorship programs work to ensure that children have access to education and have the necessary tools to be successful in their education. Some of these tools include access to food, water and sanitation products.

While its work is geared towards assisting children, through providing access to education, Save the Children was also prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to Nepal following the earthquake. In 2016, the organization gave over 1 million children vital nourishment, helped nearly 25,000 families feed their children and supported more than 210,000 children in crisis.

While thousands of children and families have received services and support from Save the Children, its humanitarian aid to Nepal still continues. Many schools have been rebuilt following the earthquake, yet there seems to be a disparity in the number of children who are currently attending. Its current efforts are geared towards getting children back into school and giving them the necessary tools to live a healthy life.

Humanitarian aid to Nepal has been extremely successful. Thousands of Nepalese have been provided with the necessary items, tools and support to rebuild their lives following the earthquake. However, there are many regions of the country that have received little to no support and are still in need. Organizations should continue to provide humanitarian aid to Nepal and other organizations should join the efforts to reduce poverty in the country.

 – Sarah Jane Fraser

Photo: Flickr

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of about 69,000 people and a history of underdevelopment and impoverishment. The good news is that Thailand’s poverty rate is declining rapidly due to incredible progress in development. The country has moved from a lower-income country to an upper-income country in less than a generation. Thailand is the success story of Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s economic growth started in the 1960s and continued until 1996 at a rate of about 7.5 percent per year. After the Asian financial crisis that lasted from 1995 to 2005, Thailand still saw remarkable growth at an annual rate of five percent. Millions of people were pulled out of poverty due to the many jobs that were created at this time.Thailand has made a great deal of progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has created its own MDG-plus targets. The country has a firm commitment to the MDGs and to the U.N.’s Office for South-South Cooperation making Thailand an increasingly active global partner in development.

Some contributing factors to the decline of Thailand’s poverty rate are that a growing number of children are getting more years of schooling, almost every citizen is covered by health insurance and other forms of social security have expanded. HIV rates decreased in the 1990s from about 125,000 infections to fewer than 20,000 in 2003.

Thailand’s poverty rate has been declining considerably over the last four decades from 67 percent in 1986 to 10.5 percent in 2017. Thailand has the third-lowest poverty rate in Southeast Asia after Malaysia and Vietnam. Thailand has a 20-Year National Strategy that will last from 2017 until 2036 with the purpose to attain developed country status through reforms. These reforms will address economic stability, human capital, equal economic opportunities, environmental sustainability, competitiveness and effective government bureaucracies. Previous reforms included large multi-year infrastructure projects, improving state-owned enterprise governance, the approval of progressive inheritance and taxes and the beginning of the National Savings Fund.

There are still many issues facing Thailand but the good news is that there are many goals and deadlines being made by the Thai government to ensure that Thailand’s poverty rate keeps dropping. The country consistently meets target dates for development goals and gets one step ahead by creating newer objectives in order to reach the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goal to end global poverty in all forms by 2030.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Flickr


Since 2000, China’s foreign aid has increased to developing countries. Yet, until a report released in October 2017 by AidData, it was unclear what China’s foreign assistance objectives were. The report revealed that much of Chinese foreign aid doesn’t meet the definition of official development assistance, but it does successfully stimulate the economies of recipient countries. Much of their aid is targeted at improving global trade for China.

Between 2000 and 2014 China gave $354.3 billion in global development. Approximately 22 percent of this can be considered official development assistance, meaning it is used for food aid, drugs, medical supplies and other humanitarian causes.

African countries were the most prominent recipients of official Chinese foreign aid.

It is suspected that China is investing in the continent because of Africa’s mineral industry. Of the $35.8 billion in official development assistance for the top ten recipient nations, $23.3 billion went to African nations; this money was largely used to develop infrastructure.

To be sure, China definitely still considers its own foreign policy interests when offering aid. Countries aligned with China in the U.N. received an average of 86 percent more aid from the country.

China is also financing neighboring countries to restore old trade routes.

What is known as the “One Belt, One Road” project is intended to rebuild infrastructure along the old Silk Road to increase trade with Europe. This source of Chinese foreign investment is not considered official development assistance, as the funding typically goes to private sector enterprises and loan agreements. The neighboring countries of Russia and Pakistan receive the most money in this form, accounting for $52.9 billion combined.

Critics feared China’s lack of transparency was because the country funded oppressive governments of resource-rich countries for its own benefit; the current research now dismisses this fear. While Chinese foreign aid does go to countries with poor governance, it is also received by countries with strong governance such as Brazil, India and Indonesia.

Much of Chinese foreign aid is invested in the private sector, and the country is overtaking the U.S. in amount of money given.

In fact, between 2011 and 2014 China gave more aid than the U.S. (2014 is the most current data). Cumulatively, between those 15 years, the U.S. gave $394.6 billion and China gave $354.3 billion in foreign aid. CNBC notes that China may take over as the primary foreign aid donor if the Trump administration continues cutting foreign aid.

Overall, the AidData report stressed that more transparency is needed from China. It is difficult to determine the success of projects without knowing how much money is promised versus how much is actually used. There is also concern about the ethical standards of Chinese-funded projects. Yet, AidData’s report has caught interest from both the Chinese and global communities wanting more information on Chinese foreign aid.

– Mary Katherine Crowley

Photo: Flickr