Information and news about poverty



Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo may finally be on its way. With nearly four million people killed since the outbreak of the war in 1998, the DRC is one of the deadliest countries on earth.

Although some kind of comfort and lull may have briefly calmed the residents of the DRC, the recent attack in November by the M23 rebel group had taken over the provincial capital of Goma. Following the attack, a series of riots and chaos erupted around the city, concerning peacemakers and leaders and raising serious questions about the stability in Congo.

There has been a UN report that the M23 rebel group was supported by Rwanda, but President Kagame denied the accusation to CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour. In their interview together, Kagame told Amanpour, “It’s a big ‘no’ on the issue of saying that I am accepting this kind of responsibility, but what I am accepting is that people can work together to find a solution to this problem that affects Rwanda [and] also affects the Congo.”

Congo’s conflict has seriously threatened development. Considered as the deadliest and one of the poorest countries in the world, the emphasis on peace has become a key to the leaders and peacemakers of the DRC and other nations.

Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon stated, “Peace is really now at our reach in the whole of the DRC. If M23 rebels did not have external support to come and destabilize both territories, by now, we would have had peace and security in the whole of the DRC.”

While peace cannot be obtained overnight, Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon is currently striving for peace by pursuing further diplomacy at the United Nations, in the United States, and in Washington, D.C.

Jada Chin

Source: CNN


For those of you who are not familiar with crowd-funding, please let me invite you to try it. Basically, any individual, anywhere in the world, can easily go on-line and make a direct financial contribution to another specific individual across the globe, to support their needs.

One of the first huge success stories in this practice is, a non-governmental, on-line organization that helps facilitate loans between lenders (like you) and borrowers in developing communities. The borrower, through the help of an independent community group in their area, posts their name, photo, business idea and desired amount of money, to start their own business.  The money is then collected online and given as a loan – it’s micro-financing from one regular person to another. Generally it’s a small amount of money (perhaps under $500) that can make the difference between someone who is starving, and someone who is immediately pulling themselves out of poverty.  Each lender on average contributes $25, and literally within minutes of posting the loan request and bio, the borrower is fully funded.

Since starting in 2005 Kiva has mobilized 883,289 lenders, raised $398,281,550 in loans, is now operating in 67 different countries, and has repaid 99% of all money distributed.

A different type of funding group is They raise money online for surgical treatments in Zambia and Sierra Leone. Again, anyone can go to their site, view the bios, and pictures of individuals in need, and then make a direct payment to help whomever they specifically want to. The women being supported by this service all suffer from fistula and are in need of medical services. Fistula is a result of prolonged labor during childbirth, when tearing in the skin can cause infection and incontinence. It is very much a result of poverty and lack of health care, and is almost nonexistent in developed parts of the world. The condition is often-debilitating and also carries with it strong taboos that further alienate the sufferer.

These sites, and other crowd-funding groups, allow regular people all over the world to pool their money and collectively bring about real life change for individuals in the most remote, in-need, regions of the world. It’s fast and easy, any amount of money can be given, the impact is immediate, and your sense of having made real change is compelling… Try it.

– Mary Purcell

Source: Kiva, Samahope


Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General
Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations preceding the current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. In a recent town hall-style discussion at Yale University, reports Jim Shelton of the New Haven Register, the former UN official reflected on his tenure, during which he received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his work in advocating on the issue of HIV/AIDS and other global issues. Annan also expressed his support for reforming the UN.

He stressed that reform was necessary both in expanding the membership of the UN Security Council, which has five permanent and ten non-permanent members, and addressing the issue of global poverty, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals due to be re-examined in 2015.

Annan’s most recent and well-known diplomacy role has been as the UN’s envoy to the Arab League during the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2012. Annan’s frustration with the inaction of the UN in addressing the issue famously led him not to renew his contract for the position of envoy in August 2012.

Annan said the U.S. and Russia must lead the way in shaping international consensus on a solution in Syria. Otherwise, a “chaotic collapse” there may lead to ethnic cleansing and ever greater global tension,” writes Shelton.

Kofi Annan’s urging towards effective diplomatic action is a rallying cry for nations to help assuage the mounting violence in Syria. With all the respect garnered through his long history of international diplomacy, we can only hope that Annan’s colleagues in the UN heed his advice.

– Nina Narang

Sources: New Haven Register, United Nations, BBC
Photo: The Elders

Rich Edward KabzelaIn 2008, Duncan McNicholl did a fellowship in Malawi. Upon returning home, he reacted strongly to photos of organizations that depicted a rather distorted version of people living in rural Africa. In 2010, he returned to Malawi to work with the Water and Sanitation team and came up with an idea for a photography project called Perspectives of Poverty with the goal of showing the people of rural Africa in a different light.

By taking two different photos of the same person, one as the symbol of poverty and the other at their finest, McNicholl wanted to change the way we perceived the people who lived in rural Africa. Organizations, in pursuit of funding, tend to depict those living in these areas as the typical symbol of poverty, “a teary-eyed African child, dressed in rags, smothered in flies, with a look of desperation.” Having had firsthand experience living in these regions, McNichol “felt lied to” finding these photos incomplete, inaccurate, and outrageous.

“How had these photos failed so spectacularly to capture the intelligence, the laughter, the resilience, and the capabilities of so many incredible people?” he writes.

Pictured above is Edward Kabzela, an area borehole maintenance mechanic of the Chagunda Village in Malawi. Besides being an area mechanic, Kabezla also takes part in other business ventures such as growing tobacco and owning a basket weaving business. McNicholl writes that Kabzela is “a great example of how little a thatched roof says about someones livelihood.” Upon hearing about how some photos portrayed his village of Chagunda, he commented that when NGOs come they take pictures of “only people who are dressed poorly.”

McNicholl is unsure of what Perspectives of Poverty will look like when it is done and will continue taking photos like these to possibly put on exhibit.

– Rafael Panlilio
Source: Water Wellness

The UN’s High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda met last week in Liberia to discuss the continuing goal of diminishing global poverty. The panel, which is co-chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, includes 27 world leaders and is responsible for generating ideas to challenge poverty after the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  A series of three meetings are scheduled, and the panel is set to reconvene in May 2013.

The panel will create goals to combat poverty beyond 2015, and will do so by hearing from local communities, charities, corporations, and experts in international development to formulate their priorities for fighting global poverty in the future. The panel is also encouraging comments and suggestions from individuals, and has set up two avenues for citizens to express their opinions  and ideas – My World, a survey of global issues, and World We Want 2015.

Although the panel has three general areas of interest – environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic improvement – the primary focus is specifically on Africa. Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also co-chair to the panel, stated, “Through robust consultations, we are hearing what the world considers a reasoned, practical development agenda that can successfully eliminate the myriad dimensions of poverty by 2015 and beyond.”

Christina Mattos Kindlon

Source: AllAfrica





End Poverty 2015
Over the past decade, the developing world has seen much progress in the fight to end absolute poverty. Recent research has predicted that the end of absolute poverty could occur within our lifetime by the year 2030.

Drawing on previous research done, Martin Ravallion, former director of the World Bank’s research department, assessed how long it would take to “lift one billion people out of such extreme poverty.” In 1990, 43% of the population of the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day. By 2010, that number had dropped to 21%. This was attributed to strong GDP growth over the past decade in East Asia, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, three regions accounting for the bulk of absolute poverty. If this rate of growth continues, we may expect to see as little as 0.2 billion people in absolute poverty by 2027.

As of 2012, 1.2 billion people around the world still live on less than $1.25 a day. Essentials such as shelter, clothing, and proper health care and education have to be forgone to afford food to eat. Though Ravallion’s research indicates a good outlook, there is still much work to be done. To maintain this path, what is needed is ongoing success in poverty reduction, including maintaining “the conditions for continued, reasonably rapid, economic growth.” Poor people need ongoing access to schooling, health care, job opportunities, and financial resources in order to sustain this economic growth.

Charles Kenny, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, believes that it should be the concern of the rich world’s policy makers to keep this outlook consistent. He cites a need to continue providing financial aid and support to poverty reduction policies, along with increasing economic trade with the developing world, increasing immigration from poor countries, and supporting the development of new technologies. Ivan Lewis, Shadow Secretary for International Development, emphasizes a need to focus on this goal of ending absolute poverty. “In the next 20 years we should judge the scale of our ambition and our commitment primarily by whether we can change the life chances for the poorest 20% in every country, and those trapped in the misery of conflict ridden states,” said Lewis.

Rapid economic growth is occurring throughout the world. The world average GDP per capita and life expectancy is increasing and infant mortality is declining. Literacy and access to internet and safe drinking water is on the rise. Matt Ridley, a British author and journalist, writes in his book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, “I am a rational optimist: rational, because I have arrived at optimism not through temperament or instinct, but by looking at the evidence.” For now, we can all be rational optimists.

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: FAO The Globe And MailThe GuardianWorld Bank
Photo: End Poverty 2015

Ivan lewis
British Shadow Secretary for International Development Ivan Lewis presented Labour’s plan for development scheme after 2015, when the general election in the UK will be held. The UN Millennium Development Goals are also due for reassessment in 2015. Lewis proposed that the new framework will be based on equal partnership, claiming, “Gone are the days when G8 governments could impose their views on the rest of the world.”

Lewis acknowledged that many of the Millennium Development Goals will not be met by 2015 but cited its significant impact on raising global awareness. Labour’s “One Nation: One World” goal will focus on promoting social justice and dealing with inequality through stimulating economic growth that is sustainable. As Lewis wrote, “Ending aid dependency is the right objective for the dignity, independence and self-determination of nations and their citizens.” Lewis recognized that global issues impact the security of Britain and that globalization in this interconnected world is “a reality, not a choice, both in Europe and the wider world.”

Lewis went on to cite Labour’s accomplishments in establishing the Department for International Development on the cabinet level, as well as committing to spending 0.7% of the gross national income on aid. Labour leader Ed Miliband is dedicated to building on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s legacy for working towards a “fairer and sustainable” world. He also faulted Prime Minister David Cameron, who is now a co-chair of the UN high-level panel on development, for having “an ideological reluctance to focus on inequality.”

Lewis ended with an optimistic aspiration, “Our generation can and should be the generation which ends absolute poverty, reduces inequality and safeguards the planet.”

– Pimrapee Thungkasemvathana

Source: Guardian
Photo: Guardian


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