The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr


Humanitarian Aid to UgandaUganda is hosting over 1 million refugees. Thanks to its progressive solutions and open policies, the country, located in East Africa, has welcomed people from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. In 2017, the refugee population dramatically changed: close to 900,000 South Sudanese fled to Uganda seeking peace. This year, Uganda became host to the largest refugee camp in the world. Bidi Bidi is home to 270,000 refugees and is expected to get even more arrivals in December 2017. For that reason, humanitarian aid to Uganda has become essential to assuring that refugees’ needs are met. This includes shelter, healthcare and education.

Women and Children

Around 86 percent of the 900,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children. The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has provided different projects helping these groups. In 2016, 264,300 South Sudanese women received core-relief items, shelter kits and sanitary kits.

In addition, the international organization imparted help with Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) issues. The UNHCR aided 767 South Sudanese SGBV survivors to access psychosocial counseling.

Increasing Access to Education

Classes are difficult to hold in refugees camps, as most of the time there are not enough facilities and teachers. In Bidi Bidi, there are 5,000 students and only 38 teachers. Despite that, 130,600 school-age refugee children were enrolled in primary education. By the end of 2017, it is expected that 176,171 children will be registered.

Other educational efforts are being in Uganda’s Coburwas Primary School. One program ensures that refugee students receive food. Outside of the classroom, students learn how to farm, an activity that brings money to the school.

Health and Humanitarian Aid to Uganda

Humanitarian aid to Uganda has had large success in addressing health issues. It is expected that 100 percent of the people of concern, specifically refugees, will have access to national primary healthcare services in 2017. In addition, health organizations such as the Real Medicine Foundation (RMF), are developing projects in refugees camps. The RMF currently operates 30 health centers in Bidi Bidi.

Economic Improvements

Finally, the UNHCR implemented a project to improve refugees’ economic situation. The organization trained 9,300 refugee business owners in entrepreneurship and all of them received access to credit and financial services.

Humanitarian aid to Uganda is increasing as the refugee population grows. Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world, but in order to ensure improved living standards for refugees, there is a need for continued contributions of humanitarian aid.

– Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Helping the poor in China has been a large project in the past thirty years, with the Chinese population of poverty decreasing more than 800 million. The decrease in China’s impoverish contributed to eliminating half the population of extremely poor in the world. Nevertheless, according to last year’s data statistics, there are still 70~80 million poor people in China, indicating a 6 percent poverty rate of the overall population, and one tenth of the rural population. The government of mainland China plans to spend another 5-6 years helping to get rid of the rest of poverty, especially the 40 million who extremely needs financial help.

Ways of Global Aid 

Universal ways of helping the poor in China include increasing opportunities of compulsory education, making donations, releasing farmers from the line of poverty and building up nonprofit projects, such as the Hope Project and the United Nations Development Programme. Several strategies also require public attention to improve the living status of people in poverty.

To begin, it is incredibly important to understand the origin of poverty — the root cause of the poor — rather than just give donations. Money can release the problems of daily life in the short term, while teaching proper ways of increasing income and helping improve the morals of the rich can lead to sustainable happiness in the long run. Recruiting helpful volunteers, providing complementary services and helping individuals point-to-point are supplemental ways of helping the poor in China.

Propagation is another effective way to provide help to the poor in China. Due to unexpected misfortunes such as employment loss, family misfortune, or business failure, the public works to survive the temporary difficulties, and then assist the poor in recovery.

Participating in a charitable institute or nonprofit organization and promoting legislation and discussions on hot topics can also help to reduce poverty within labor populations.

Identifying Poverty in China

Since the cutoff line of poverty increases year to year, the natural growth rate of annual income for any involved people does not represent the actual improvements of their living conditions. As a result, conclusions are arbitrarily made towards people under the poverty line. For instance, many reasons may cause the poor to suffer from severe diseases or psychological problems, such as taking drugs or undergoing bad treatment, but these factors may not be considered by the general population tests.

So providing helpful aids requires specific analysis, while solving problems urges practical use. Global support in collaboration with whole-hearted programs that promote self-dignity, suggest better treatment and higher efficiency are all methods that will help to save the poor in China.

In large cities or small villages, and despite the quick growth of the economy, poverty can exist in any unnoticed corner. For organizations to help save the poor, they must focus on collaboration with people urgently in need — institutes attempting to help the poor in China (especially in remote, rural areas) are expected to provide resources while the people on duty provide encouragements to the impoverished.

The Chinese government has a five-year plan to eliminate poverty, but this is a relatively short-term goal. They should really focus on alleviating the unbalance of social wealth, improving existing environments and legal rights, and providing opportunities such as healthcare, education, employment insurance, and sufficient welfare to truly aid the poor in the long-term.

– Xin Gao

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to KosovoIn February 1998, the armed conflict between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) came to a head when Slobodan Milošević, the President of the FRY in the late 90s, responded to KLA guerilla operations with an increased intensity.

Following the FRY’s elimination of Kosovo’s semi-autonomous status, after they gained independence from the Soviet Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the KLA instigated a guerilla movement against the Serbs in the hopes that doing so would call international attention to their plight. Unfortunately, despite a clear degradation of political relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the international community failed to intervene with the speed and authority necessitated by the impending disaster.

Eventually, it became obvious that the time for diplomatic action had passed unheeded. The result was catastrophic. On the heels of an already displaced 400 thousand Kosovar Albanians and an estimated killing of 1,000 civilians by FRY forces, NATO opted to instigate a campaign in Kosovo that was at once, illegal and legitimate. Illegal in the sense of it never being approved by the U.N. and legitimate in that it was the only option available for the prevention of further human rights abuses in Kosovo.

The result of the infamous NATO Air Campaign in Kosovo, lasting between March 24 and June 10, 1999, and effectively ousting Serbian forces from the region, was the abrupt displacement of nearly 1.5 million individuals within Kosovo and into neighboring Albania and Macedonia.

The issue then became how so many innocent civilians were going to survive. The solution is the question of this article: What was the success of humanitarian aid to Kosovo? The answer concerning aid during the immediate crisis is that despite the unprecedented amount of relief aid thrown at the conflict, its implementation was haphazardly managed and ultimately far less effective than it should have been.

Humanitarian aid to Kosovo during and following the NATO Campaign was marred by lack of collaboration between aid organizations – of which there were over 250 operating in Kosovo and Albania alone. As well as a seeming lack of professionalism among even the most seasoned aid agencies (UNHCR). One report evaluating the failures of their response, sights appointment of inexperienced staff to positions of leadership as one of the many problems that plagued the humanitarian response.

Today, more than 18 years after the beginning of the crisis, Kosovo has yet to rid its borders of the aid organizations that came during the war. The greatest problem facing Kosovars is unemployment which had reached 35 percent in 2016.

One of the ways the issue of unemployment is being addressed is through social enterprises. In Kosovo these take the form of small businesses established by locals to provide basic necessities to the community. These types of programs are what many aid workers are turning to as they search for alternatives to the continued presence of large aid organizations in Kosovo.

The success of humanitarian aid to Kosovo can, more or less, be regarded as a failure given the continued need for aid nearly 20 years after the end of the war.

– Katarina Schrag

Photo: Flickr


The Marshall Plan
The battles from World War II resulted in some of the worst devastation in history, as military and civilian areas alike were targeted in aerial bombardment, which left millions dead and entire cities reduced to rubble. Devastation and breakdown of social fiber was so prevalent in Europe that the basic building block of civilization — the trade between farmers and urban dwellers offering food for goods and services — began to break down.

George C. Marshall, serving as the newly appointed secretary of state in 1947, outlined a plan to aid Europe with funds for rebuilding key infrastructure and industry. Though it has been criticized for reforming European markets in the style of the U.S. economy, the Marshall Plan undoubtedly helped spur economic recovery in Europe devastated by one of the most destructive wars in history.

The U.S. spent over $13 billion for the economic recovery of Europe between 1948 and 1951. In 2016 dollars the equivalent would be almost $130 billion. By helping to rebuild Europe, the U.S. found a new market for its manufactured goods that helped the country from sliding back into depression following the war. Today, the plan still holds lessons for combating poverty in the 21st Century.

Economic development is critical
Any approach to aid that doesn’t take the economic situation into account is doomed to short term success. The Marshall Plan made a point of focusing on rebuilding the economies of Europe including “…promoting industrial and agricultural production with the object of becoming independent of outside assistance…include(ing) projects for increased production of coal, steel, transportation facilities, and food.”

Oversight is essential
The provisions of the Marshall Plan created a new organization, the Economic Cooperation Administration consisting of an administrator, a deputy and a staff composed of economists, accountants, lawyers and administrative workers. The Act empowered the administrator to create rules and regulations regarding the distribution of aid based on ground conditions. The administrator was on equal footing with the secretary of state, which the president of the U.S. set as the arbitrator in any disputes between them. Other rules outlined two advisory boards and a special “roving ambassador” to aid the administrator. The plan even established a congressional “watchdog committee” for additional governmental oversight. These clearly defined duties helped to ensure the aid outlined in the plan made it to refugees who needed it most.

Confidence must be restored in local economies
The Marshall Plan took measures to restore vital infrastructure and public schooling, which helped to give ordinary citizens the semblance of order necessary to build consumer confidence in their economies. Provisions in the plan also provided for “taking necessary financial and monetary measures to stabilize currency and exchange and balance the governmental budget of the signatory country.” The end goal of the stabilizing effects was to create a favorable environment for American investment in Europe.

Aid should be focused regionally, not on single countries
Experts believe one of the greatest reasons for the success of the Marshall Plan was that it focused on rehabilitating an entire region as an economic unit rather than singling out specific countries. Aid efforts crossed borders and gave a sense that the continent was in the fight together to return to previous levels of economic development. Under the Marshall Plan, assistance was available to countries in the Western Hemisphere. The agreement tasked the U.S. secretary of state with negotiating the free entry of supplies to countries participating in the plan. The administrator was still able to refuse aid in the interest of national security in case it had become clear supplies were supporting military forces. Under this provision, countries in Eastern Europe falling under the Soviet bloc did not receive aid.

Aid should be coordinated through the U.N.
Aid through the Marshall Plan filtered through U.N. organizations for distribution. Also, the rules of the plan required the administrator to send progress reports to the international organization. By coordinating efforts through the U.N., the U.S. increased the legitimacy of its aid programs and allowed some measure of input from U.N. officials.

Marshall himself outlined the reasoning behind the aid in a speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. In the address he stated, “It is logical that the U.S. should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”

Will Sweger

Photo: Flickr

 Education in China
A white paper released on Oct. 17 reveals China’s progress in poverty eradication as well as governmental measures taken to improve prosperity. According to this document, the main priority of poverty relief measures was improvement and expansion of quality education in China between 2011 and 2015.

Over the past three decades, China has lifted more than 700 million citizens from poverty, accounting for 70 percent of the world’s total across that time. Through this experience, China has gained a wealth of knowledge in crafting and implementing development-oriented poverty relief policies. The white paper confirms that from 2011-2015 such measures placed particular emphasis on education.

The government enacted policies to promote compulsory education in China, bridge the education gap between rural and urban areas, grant living subsidies to students and improve education infrastructure in poor and rural regions. These measures were supported by the government’s investment of 189.84 billion yuan ($28.17 billion), and an additional 14 million yuan earmarked for living quarters for teachers in rural areas. In less-developed central China, the efforts resulted in a 30 percent increase in children enrolled in kindergarten.

As a supplement to the education measures, the government enacted a nutrition improvement program for students receiving compulsory education. In order to promote sustainable nutrition improvement, the program helped popularize nutritional knowledge among parents and students. In 2015 alone, the government invested 500 million yuan toward nutrition improvement for students and families, benefiting 2.11 million children in 341 Chinese counties.

China’s commitment to and success with poverty reduction demonstrates a commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (U.N. MDG) of eradicating extreme poverty. The U.N. MDG report shows that the proportion of Chinese living in extreme poverty fell from 61 percent in 1990 to 30 percent, and again down to 4.2 percent in 2015.

The Chinese government has made it a top priority to complete poverty eradication by 2020. By addressing needed changes to the education system, the government presents a commitment towards sustainable poverty eradication. Funding education in China will help ensure the prosperity of future generations, and China’s efforts provide a promising model for global poverty reduction.

McKenna Lux

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts about Poverty in Latin America
Within the past decade, 70 million people were able to escape poverty in Latin America due to economic growth and a lessened income gap. However, millions still remain in the cycle of poverty. Presented below is key data about poverty in Latin America.


10 Leading Facts on Poverty in Latin America


  1. One in five Latin Americans lives in chronic poverty conditions. Latin Americans account for 130 million of the nearly 500 million who live in chronic poverty worldwide.
  2. Poverty rates vary from country to country in the Latin American region. With estimated poverty rates floating around 10 percent, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile have the lowest chronic poverty rates. Meanwhile, Nicaragua with 37 percent and Guatemala with 50 percent have the highest chronic poverty rates in Latin America, which are well above the regional average of 21 percent.
  3. Poverty rates can also vary within a country. A single country can have both ends of the spectrum with the highest poverty rate that is eight times higher than the lowest. For example, Brazil has a chronic poverty rate of 5 percent in Santa Catarina, but 40 percent in Ceará.
  4. Poverty in Latin America encompasses both urban and rural areas. Most assume that rural areas have higher poverty rates than urban areas, like in Bolivia, where the amount of people living in rural poverty is 20 percentage points higher than those living in urban poverty. However, the number of urban poor is higher than the number of rural poor in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
  5. Poor Latin Americans lack access to basic health care services. Approximately 20 percent of the Latin American and Caribbean population lack access to health care due to their poverty conditions. The region also has high rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
  6. Those living in poverty in Latin America lack access to safe water and sanitation. The World Water Council reported that 77 million people lack access to safe water or live without a water source in their homes. Of the 77 million, 51 million live in rural areas and 26 million live in urban areas. An estimated 256 million rely on latrines and septic tanks as an alternative to basic sanitation.
  7. The lack of education in Latin America lowers prospects of rising out of poverty. One in 12 young people ages 15 to 24 have not completed primary school, and therefore lack the skills necessary to find decent jobs. The same age group represents 40 percent of the total number of unemployed in many Latin American countries. When they are employed, six out of 10 jobs are informal, lacking decent wages, contract agreements and social security rights.
  8. Limited economic opportunities keep the poor in poverty. The biggest factor that led to poverty reduction from 2004-2012 was labor income. The Huffington Post reported that in poor households every Latin American country had an average of 20 percent “fewer human resources to generate income” than non-poor households and those households who managed to escape poverty.
  9. Chronic poverty levels are falling. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of Latin Americans living on under $4 a day decreased from 45 percent to 25 percent. The Latin American population living on $2.5 per day fell from 28 percent to 14 percent.
  10. The falling poverty levels in Latin America can be attributed to improved public policy. Latin American governments created conditional cash transfers (CCT), which substituted subsidies for money transfers for the poor who invested in human capital beginning in the late 1990s. As a result, child attendance in schools has risen and families have more food and more diversity in diets.

In 2010, the middle-class population exceeded the low-income population for the first time in the region. However, with one-fifth of the population still in poverty, there is much work to be done.

Ashley Leon

Photo: Flickr

King Scholar Program
The King Scholar Program is a full scholarship gifted to Dartmouth College students who are dedicated to alleviating poverty in their home countries. The program was funded by Dorothy and Robert King, who wanted to, “help address the problem of global poverty by funding exceptional students from developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia at Dartmouth.”

Students who receive the King Scholarship have ongoing academic mentorship throughout their career at Dartmouth College and course development that encourages them to focus on leadership and international development.

The King Scholar Program encourages its participants to actively participate in ending global poverty. For example, during the student’s’ participation in the program, they must return to their homes for one summer to research and report how they would end poverty in their countries. After graduating, the students are encouraged to return to continue their work.

Additionally, during their freshman and sophomore years, King Scholars participate in King Leadership Week, which takes place in Washington, D.C. and New York. During this event, they have the opportunity to meet leaders in international development, gain context for work being done in the field and network for future employment.

There is no special application for the King Scholar Program, but the Dartmouth Admissions Office, “elects students for this special honor who embody the vision of the program, including a commitment to alleviating poverty, a record of academic excellence, and a passion for global issues.” The program’s current members hail from Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda and Burkina Faso and all share a similar passion to making a difference in their countries.

By encouraging young students from developing countries to make a difference in alleviating global poverty, the King Scholar Program is creating influential leaders who are ready to make palpable changes in their home countries. This causes students to have a stronger connection to the work they are doing, and be inspired to make a change. This type of education is one that makes a lasting difference in terms of fighting global poverty.

Julia Arredondo


Young Entrepreneurs
The future of poverty and hunger alleviation may rest in the hands of today’s youth. Young entrepreneurs embarking into the business world have immense power in aiding those in need. Creative thinkers and digital-savvy youth have unique skills and ideas that may give them an advantage in giving back.

In an article recently published by The Huffington Post, it was found that many of the world’s hunger-aiding programs were inspired or founded by the youth of today. Young entrepreneurs are starting programs such as “The Future Isn’t Hungry” and “3B Brae’s Brown Bags” to counter national poverty in the United States, with many working to expand internationally.

Three young entrepreneurs, Jake Harriman, Beth Schmidt and Leila Janah, have already made their mark in the fight against poverty. While Harriman’s NGO works to end world hunger, Schmidt’s organization is reducing poverty by helping people living in poverty have better access to college. Janah’s company works with American companies to crowdsource staff from developing countries, providing countless people with jobs to lift them out of poverty.

All three of these entrepreneurs recognized a call for action and drastically changed their lives to help give everyone a fighting chance. These are just a few of today’s young entrepreneurs using their skills to combat poverty and hunger.

In a report published by the Overseas Development Institute, it was stated that teaming young entrepreneurs with volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 can combat unemployment around the world. Volunteering abroad can help young business owners acquire new skills and knowledge to better understand the developing world. In turn, volunteers working with business people can help them gain a better understanding of business tactics that they can apply to the volunteer work they do internationally.

The study uncovered a positive correlation between young entrepreneurs volunteering or working abroad and the development of skills necessary to end poverty. Volunteers and entrepreneurs worked in countries, such as Tanzania and Nicaragua, where their skills and businesses were put to the test. In the end, both the entrepreneurs and the citizens of these countries benefited in the study.

The initiative to increase the number of entrepreneurs working to give back has already begun and is continuing to grow. In Africa alone, multiple NGOs are working to unleash the continent’s untapped potential through educational, microfinance and health nonprofits. And many of these are run by or work with young entrepreneurs. Jake Harriman’s goal, along with the world’s young business people who are following in his footsteps, is to alleviate poverty by 2030.

Julia Hettiger

Photo:  Flickr

Loans in BangladeshNearly half of the population in Bangladesh work in the poor agricultural sector where they have traditionally been excluded from accessing credit facilities that could improve their livelihoods.

To help farmers lift themselves out of poverty, USAID’s Development Credit Authority has partnered with Bangladeshi banks to provide customized financing options that fit the needs of local communities. Here are several benefits of small loans in Bangladesh:

  1. Bank loans give farmers the opportunity to become self-sufficient. Many poor farmers lack the resources to invest in the land they work on and often spend a significant portion of their income on rent or lease  agreements. Through credit facilities, small farmers can purchase the land they work on providing them with stability and opportunities for growth.
  2. Some farmers have used loans to diversify or increase their crop production or to purchase livestock. Through loans, some workers have even been able to make the switch from being a laborer on someone else’s farm to developing a farm of their own. Each small investment that farmers are able to make moves them one step closer to economic stability.
  3. Entrepreneurs have the option to expand their businesses through bank loans. One of USAID’s success stories is of a man who had run a carp farm for 16 years. His business was well-established but in order to expand he required a loan, which he received through the USAID program. Farmers can increase their livelihoods when they have more land, because they can cultivate more crops or raise more livestock.

The availability of loans in Bangladesh that are customized for small borrowers will go a long way to benefit farmers, their families and local communities.

Emily Milakovic

Photo: Flickr