Reducing Poverty in ZimbabweReducing poverty in Zimbabwe involves understanding the effects of a poor economy and extreme weather events. Based on data from 2019, the UNDP reported in 2023 that an estimated 25.8% of people in Zimbabwe suffer from multidimensional poverty (multi-faceted poverty that goes beyond monetary means). In addition, 26.3% are at risk of falling into multidimensional poverty. Amid severe weather patterns, the nation requires sustainable solutions to help vulnerable and impoverished farming communities establish resilience and protect their livelihoods. Fortunately, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is working with communities in Zimbabwe to help them rise out of poverty by centering its efforts around several main focus areas. In particular, ADRA’s environmental efforts provide a lifeline to communities in Zimbabwe facing severe impacts of extreme weather events.

High Unemployment

Environmental changes in Zimbabwe present themselves through droughts, heatwaves and floods and disrupt ecosystems and the food supply chain. This aggravates rural farmers’ income streams and Zimbabwe’s overall economic development. Cities and towns across the country experience heavy monetization due to hyperinflation. This makes basic urban commodities like electricity, food and water too expensive for impoverished people to afford.

Food Insecurity

Environmental changes have also increased food poverty in Zimbabwe. With agriculture serving as the primary source of income for the nation, “low agricultural output” and a growing number of “urban food shortages” have detrimental impacts on urban and rural dwellers.

A more comprehensive picture provided by the World Food Programme illustrates that about 3.8 million people in rural areas and 1.5 million people in the urban population face food insecurity in the nation. This is due to climate challenges and an unstable economy. These environmental changes reduce the primary materials needed to process food in the markets. With the unstable economy, food prices fluctuate, making food security out of reach for impoverished Zimbabwean households.

ADRA’s Environmental Measures

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), a global humanitarian organization that delivers relief and development assistance for sustainable change, is implementing environmental measures for reducing poverty in Zimbabwe. ADRA’s Zimbabwean office spoke to The Borgen Project, saying, “We have experienced climate-induced droughts, El Niño, climate-induced floods, mudslides and cyclones. Farmers are experiencing changing season cycles, animal deaths, etc.”

ADRA celebrated its 40-year anniversary by implementing the #plantafruittree project. This project involves planting 40,000 fruit trees across “schools, farms, homesteads, and institutions” in Zimbabwe from August to December 2023. It aims to reduce extreme weather impacts and raise community health. “As we commemorate ADRA’s 40 years of disaster response, humanitarian relief and development assistance, we are committed to promoting initiatives such as tree plantings that not only can help improve natural air quality, decrease erosion and remove pollution but also generate wellness benefits for residents in all communities,” says ADRA President Michael Kruger on the ADRA website. In August, ADRA planted the first 1,000 trees to commemorate the project.

ADRA’s poverty-alleviating reforestation strategy supports Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action), purifying the air and establishing resilient ecosystems that can minimize the adverse impacts of extreme weather patterns. It can also provide time for governments to plan out disaster response strategies and improve human health in Zimbabwe.

Looking Ahead

The citizens of Zimbabwe struggle to make ends meet under an impoverished economy, an unstable government and drastic environmental changes. Non-governmental organizations like ADRA wholeheartedly deliver environmental relief to this vulnerable population to practically overcome the issue of reducing poverty in Zimbabwe.

– Amy Contreras
Photo: Unsplash

Charitable Esport EventsWith the rise of video games came the rise of esports, where gamers compete with each other in a large variety of multiplayer games. Esports, like regular sports, has many tournaments and events with celebrities of the genre involved. It is also a popular avenue for charity fundraising and awareness. In particular, 10 charitable esport events hold with the goal of contributing toward ending global poverty and helping those in need.

10 Charitable Esport Events

  1. ATLUS hosted a 2022 charity tournament. An event referred to as the “Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Charity Sho-Down” occurred in 2022, where winning players donated sizable monetary winnings to the charity of their choice. The first prize winner won $10,000, which went to Dysautonomia International, and second place won $5,000, which went to the ALS Association. Dysautonomia International works to fundraise for research and raise awareness of autonomic nervous system disorders while empowering patients. ALS Association works to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disorder, in the U.S. but notably participates in global research of the disorder.
  2. Riot Games and Twitch teamed up for the Valorant charity stream. The three-day Valorant Spike Nations of Twitch event in 2020 had 10 European teams representing their countries competing to donate portions of the $10,000 prize pool to charities of their choosing. Claiming the biggest win, the Portugal team donated $37,614 to the Portuguese Food Bank to help alleviate hunger in the country.
  3.  A “Dota 2” event called WeSave! Charity Play to combat COVID-19. Hosted by WePlay!, the event had 24 teams and started with a $120,000 prize pool that grew as players gathered funds throughout the event. The prize pool money went to CEPI and GlobalGiving to support efforts in combating the impacts of COVID-19. CEPI brings together private, public and philanthropic sectors to assist in vaccine development while GlobalGiving is a platform that supports nonprofits by connecting them to donors.
  4. The $10 million FIFA 21 event to support COVID-19 vaccination. In 2021, Gamers Without Borders hosted an event with the popular football video game FIFA 21 where $1 million worth of charitable prize money went toward supporting the immunization efforts of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF. GAVI has enabled the vaccinations of more than 981 million children, particularly in the world’s most disadvantaged nations. The second edition of the event had more elite players compete, which led to Gamers Without Borders donating $10 million to communities struggling to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of Gamers Without Borders plan to donate $30 million to humanitarian aid and stands as a notable example of how esport events support charitable causes.
  5. A “Dota 2” Showmatch helped support Ukraine. Popular players, such as ODPixel, participated in this event in September 2022 to help raise funds for Ukraine’s fundraising platform, United24. Fundraising through the platform is effective because “Ukraine itself knows best what is needed and can deliver aid directly, ” the United24 website says.
  6. Popular Twitch Streamer Ninja dabbled in charity during a 2018 “Fortnite” event. Hosted in Las Vegas, the Fortnite event gave money to fans, popular players and Ninja himself based on who won each match and how many people could take Ninja out. Ninja won one of nine matches and donated $2,500 to the Alzheimer’s Association.
  7. In 2023, Guild Esports partnered with U.K. blood cancer and blood disorder charity Anthony Nolan. The groups held a FIFA tournament to raise awareness of blood disorders and encourage people between the age of 16 and 24 to get involved in the cause by joining the stem cell register. Anthony Nolan has helped 1,350 patients receive stem cells from donors. The event is a notable example of how charitable esport events can make a difference by raising awareness.
  8. Gamers Without Borders 2022 “Rocket League” event. The event involved $2 million worth of prize winnings for charity. The third-place winner, SMPR Esports, openly announced its donation to the global child rights organization UNICEF.
  9. The 2023 AO Summer Smash event. The charitable gaming event involving Fortnite featured popular players such as Lazarbeam and Loserfruit and $50,000 worth of prize money for charitable causes. First place Loserfruit won $25,000 and donated it to GIVIT, which looks to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Australia.
  10. Gamers Beat Cancer has launched a monthly “Rocket League” event. This event, starting in 2023, aims to raise awareness and funds for U.K. charity Gamers Beat Cancer. This is through the “Rocket League” event itself and the sale of a “special edition esports jersey” to raise awareness and funding. Gamers Beat Cancer donates video games and consoles to cancer patients and assists them with other important technology that can make their lives easier.

These charitable esport events highlight the significant role that the gaming community can play in reducing global poverty and improving the lives of those in need.

– Lachlan Griffiths
Photo: Flickr

Fair Trade Fashion and PovertyThe concept of sustainability and living sustainably has gained momentum in recent times, especially in terms of conscious living to eradicate human rights violations in the workplace. Alleviating global poverty is linked to making ethical and sustainable life choices, such as purchasing fair trade fashion and tackling the problems of overconsumption and inequality within the system of capitalism.

Fast Fashion and Poverty Perpetuation

From 2000 and 2010, global clothing consumption doubled from 100 billion to 200 billion pieces per year, leading many fashion outlets to shift their focus from producing high-quality, long-lasting items to cheaply made, disposable ones that can be sold at lower costs, thereby boosting competitiveness and profits. However, this overconsumption of goods such as fast fashion clothing has led to worker exploitation, as brands must produce items at faster rates.

Fast fashion companies have increasingly relied on unethical modes of production, such as sweatshops that subject workers to poor conditions and unfair wages, since the rise of cheaper fashion at the end of the 20th century. Even in the poorest countries of the world, where child protection laws and regulations are lacking, fast fashion brands continue to rely on child labor to maximize profits, depriving children of the opportunity to gain the education that can help them escape poverty in the future.

Reducing Poverty

Over the past decade, a growing body of research has demonstrated the perils of the fast fashion industry, sparking increased discussion around fair trade fashion. Brands that prioritize fair trade practices typically provide greater transparency regarding their supply chains than their fast fashion counterparts, thereby assuring consumers of no participation in worker exploitation of people who live in poverty. While fair trade fashion items may carry a higher price tag, they generally boast higher quality and a longer lifespan. More significantly, they guarantee better working conditions for those involved in the supply chain, as the money spent flows down to the bottom. The Fair Trade movement promotes equitable wages and opportunities in impoverished countries like Tanzania, India and Sri Lanka, helping to uplift people and alleviate poverty.

Fair Trade Fashion in Action

People Tree, a U.K.-based company with a Fair Trade certificate, is an excellent example of an ethical company that empowers Bangladeshi workers to rise above poverty. Founded in 1991, the company aims to ensure its products meet the highest possible ethical standards throughout the supply chain. They also strive to serve as a model of a Fair Trade business with moral values that prioritize both people and the environment, setting an example for the fashion industry and governments alike.

Power in the Hands of Consumers

Choosing to purchase fair trade fashion from companies like People Tree enables consumers to impact lives positively and prevent support for the cycle of extreme poverty in less developed countries. More people opting for fair trade fashion could discourage businesses from exploiting workers and producing cheap garments on a mass scale while facilitating the advancement of fair trade fashion.

– Hannah Naylor
Photo: Flickr

Updates on SDG Goal 10 in ArgentinaIn Argentina, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic unrest has stalled efforts to close the inequality gap. Before the pandemic hit, Argentina was making progress on a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is a framework of global objectives created by the United Nations, designed as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” by 2030. The country was “well-positioned” compared to its Latin American counterparts, according to the Argentine Network for International Cooperation (RACI). The onset of COVID-19 has impacted updates on SDG Goal 10 in Argentina.

Achieving SDG 10: Reducing Inequality

Argentina had been struggling to achieve SDG 10, which focuses on reducing inequalities within a county’s population and among different countries around the world. To measure inequality, the SDGs use a scale of 0 to 100. The lower the score, the closer the country is to achieving economic equality. The goal is to achieve a ranking of 30 or lower by 2030. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Argentina had a ranking of 51. The pandemic has siphoned resources out of the government and stalled updates on SDG Goal 10 in Argentina and other progressive reforms. On top of that, millions of Argentinians have lost their jobs and inequality is expanding as a result.

President Alberto Fernández

In December 2019, President Alberto Fernández won the presidential election over conservative incumbent, Mauricio Macri. President Fernández’s political style is that of his mentor, former president, Néstor Kirchner. However, “the COVID-19 pandemic might very well shatter the center-left president’s dreams of following in his mentor’s footsteps and bringing social progress and economic growth to Argentina,” writes Hugo Goeury.

Despite Fernandez’s progressive goals for his administration, reforms have all been put on the back burner since the arrival of COVID-19 in Argentina.

Poverty, Unemployment and the Wealth Gap

In the first half of 2020 alone, the poverty rate among Argentinians increased to almost 41%, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas reported, nearly a 5% increase from the previous year. The Central Bank is also predicting the GDP to contract by nearly 11%.

With almost a third of Argentine workers facing unemployment, President Fernandez is scrambling to financially support his unemployed constituents, while also negotiating the country’s debt owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the World Inequality Database, as of 2019, the top 10% wealthiest Argentinians controlled nearly 40% of the country’s income, while the bottom 50% only possessed 17.9% of the nation’s income.

Better Days Ahead for Argentina

Even though updates on SDG Goal 10 in Argentina seem especially challenging right now, Argentinians are still
pushing forward to make their country more equitable for everyone. The U.N. says, “In the post-pandemic world, Argentina must strengthen its productive apparatus and continue to eliminate inherited social inequities and those aggravated by COVID-19.”

– Laney Pope
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sports Programs Alleviating Poverty
Sports are not an easy ticket out of poverty, but sports programs for impoverished youth can provide skills, support and guidance that can strengthen individuals and communities. Developing physical, social and emotional health are just a few of the benefits that children can reap from participation in quality sports programs. Below are five youth sports programs alleviating poverty worldwide.

Five Youth Sports Programs Alleviating Poverty Worldwide

  1. Tiempo de Juego: Tiempo de Juego in Colombia considers the game of soccer to be a tool capable of transforming communities, developing the skills of boys and girls and inspiring them to become agents of change. Tiempo de Juego takes an academic approach to the game of soccer, identifying three areas of development: technical skills, psychosocial development and a pedagogical foundation. Through the common bond of soccer, Tiempo de Juego allies with seven local schools as well as families to bring positive social opportunities to the lives of community members. It even supports small business endeavors of families who provide goods and services such as screen-printed t-shirts and vending for soccer events.
  2. Line Up, Live Up: Line Up, Live Up is a life skill curriculum with various sports from martial arts to volleyball. The Youth Crime Prevention through Sports Initiative sprang from the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declarative and is taking roots in Palestine and Central Asia. In addition to physical exercise and teamwork, Line Up, Live Up helps kids learn life skills for resisting social pressures of drug use and delinquency. It also helps students with issues such as anxiety and communication with peers. Line Up, Live Up forms its basis from empirical research from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime and also the understanding that risk factors in the lives of youth can be reduced through meaningful intervention. The belief that actual changes in attitudes and behaviors can take place drives the organization.
  3. Love Fútbol:  Love Fútbol emerged in 2006 after Drew Chafetz founded it on the platform that community-driven energy toward social change could happen on a universal passion for soccer. An avid soccer player who traveled widely, Drew noticed the unsafe and unsupervised conditions in which impoverished kids often played. Drew developed the philosophy that every child has the right to play soccer and he built that dream into fruition in a collaborative way.The first program started in Guatemala before expanding to Brazil. Each place Love Fútbol goes, the community plays a vital role in building the field and creating the program, thereby instilling their ownership in the process. Partnering with global sponsors, Love Fútbol provides funding for raw materials. In Colombia, Love Fútbol partnered with Tiempo de Juego that had the experience and the vision of implementing soccer programs in its own community but lacked the budget. Love Fútbol was able to help make its dreams a reality. The whole community built the field with the help of over 100 volunteers and 1,500 hours of labor. In another location in Mexico, the organization constructed a soccer field on the former site of a factory, bringing revitalization to the community. With well-maintained fields and supervised programs, impoverished participants can build healthier and more productive lives. Love Fútbol programs are growing throughout Latin America and these sports programs are alleviating poverty successfully.
  4. Waves for Change: Waves for Change is a unique program on this list, as it does not involve a ball game. Waves for Change is a surfing program for youth that face poor infrastructure, violence and poverty in Capetown, South Africa. Tim Conibear founded it in 2009 because he recognized that surfing was a great way to reach at-risk youth who would not otherwise have access to such activities. Primarily a mental health foundation, the program addresses the psychological and emotional well-being of kids who often experience trauma. Waves for Change teams with mental health professionals to address the issues of child mental health. Program leaders note an improvement in self-care and participation in school for those who take part in the program. Kids who grow up in gang culture are looking for risk and surfing can fulfill that need in a positive way. The organization is able to employ over 40 coaches who are former participants in the program. The activity instills pride, personal responsibility and a sense of self-worth.
  5. Cricket Program: Daniel Juarez, an accomplished cricket player in Argentina, founded Cricket Program. He established this program for the youth living in the most dangerous and impoverished slums of Argentina. Caacupe Community Center offers the cricket program. Pope Francis, formerly cardinal to Buenos Aires, is a benefactor as well as Rev. Pepe Di Paola who people know for his anti-crime work in area slums. Through the sport, kids receive an education and learn values. Some participants have developed their skills to such a high level as to qualify for national-level youth cricket teams. The organizers believe cricket provides a foundation that participants can carry with them throughout life. It even received a Best Spirit Award from the International Cricket Council.

Children worldwide have a natural drive and passion to play sports and these five sports programs are alleviating poverty worldwide. Poverty can inhibit access to good equipment, safe fields and quality instruction, but through innovative programs that engage community members and provide structure and funding, kids can experience the joy of play as well as build valuable life skills. The confidence gained can nurture lives and empower families in their rise from poverty.

Susan Niz
Photo: Flickr

tourism in Myanmar

Since 2011, tourism in Myanmar grew rapidly. One million tourists visited the country in 2011 and more than three million did in 2017. The Tourism Master Plan 2013-2020 came to life to develop Myanmar’s tourism industry, create jobs and attract more international tourists. Hilton and Best Western are investors in Myanmar and foreign investment in Myanmar’s hotel and tourism industry amounted to $2.6 billion in 2017.

Tourism Master Plan

There are six strategy programs in Myanmar’s Tourism Master Plan. The strategies involve strengthening the institutional environment, building human resource capacity and promoting service quality, strengthening safeguards and procedures for destination planning and management, developing quality products and services, improving connectivity and tourism-related infrastructure and building the image, position and brand of Tourism Myanmar.

The Master Plan set a high target of attracting 3.01 million international visitors in 2015 and 7.48 million in 2020. Myanmar surpassed its goal in 2015 by attracting 4.6 million international visitors. More than 500,000 tourists arrived from Thailand and China in 2018.

An estimated 804,000 jobs in 2016 were from the travel and tourism sectors. In 2012, before the plan was enacted, there were 293,000 tourism-related jobs. Investment in the industry creates employment for those seeking to exit poverty, as unskilled workers in rural areas now have opportunities for employment in the developing tourism industry. About 40 percent of the poor reside in rural regions. Poverty reduced from 48 percent in 2015 to 25 percent in 2019. Part of this huge decrease in poverty is due to growing industries such as tourism.

Foreign Investors

Myanmar’s tourism and hotel sector received $2.6 billion in 2017 from foreign investors, which indicated increased interest relating to tourism in Myanmar. The main investor was Singapore, which is on Myanmar’s list of its top ten tourists by nationality. A $63 million venture between Myanmar’s KMA Hotel Group and Thailand’s Centara Hotels and Resorts to develop a hotel chain is one direct flow into the industry. Many other projects were created to compensate for the tourism boom.

Training in Tourism

Since tourism in Myanmar increases exponentially, it is expanding educational programs to teach skills necessary for working in the tourism and travel industry. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism’s (MOHT) Tourism and Training School offers classes for tour guide training and tourism management. The MOHT also partnered with the Ministry of Education to offer a four-year degree in tourism at two colleges, the National Management Degree College in Yangon and Mandalar Degree College in Mandalay.

Almost 400 students earned a master’s degree in Tourism Studies and Management from Yangon University since its inception in 2015. The program accepts 60 students per year. The Hospitality Training School opened in 2016 and offers courses relating to housekeeping, front office and food and beverage.

Myanmar Tourism Bank

The Myanmar Tourism Bank opened in Yangon this year to provide long-term, long-cost loans to the tourism and hospitality sector. It is also the first bank in the country dedicated solely to the sector. It offers most services provided by commercial banks. The bank is yet another way Myanmar plans to stimulate investment in the tourism industry, particularly by smaller operators that desire to benefit from the rapid growth.

Growing Tourism Industry

Myanmar received 2.4 million visitors in the first five months of 2019, which is its strongest year since 2015. The current tourism boom shows promise for tourism in Myanmar. Job creation, increased GDP and reduced poverty are all positive effects of the growing tourism industry.

– Lucas Schmidt
Photo: Flickr

Reducing Poverty
Africa has a long and complicated history. From the Portuguese exploration of the continent in 1460 to the Atlantic slave trade and modern-day ethnic conflicts in Sudan, it is, unfortunately, no surprise that the continent has long-standing issues with poverty. Ethiopia and Ghana are changing this trend. New, innovative farming techniques such as flexible growing practices and government-sponsored programs are reducing poverty, and famine rates have been declining in these countries. Worldwide organizations such as Africa Renewal are hoping that the agricultural reforms taking place in Ghana and Ethiopia can spread throughout the rest of Africa to reduce poverty.

While the mining industry is important for African countries such as South Africa, agriculture is by far the most important economic sector for a majority of African countries. Not only does agriculture provide jobs for residents, but it also acts as the main food source for over 1.2 billion Africans.

Farming in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has relied on ox-driven plows for centuries. Ethiopian farmers are primarily field farmers, which means they grow their crops on typical farmland rather than other alternatives such as in water-soaked rice patties. Ethiopia has dealt with severe famine over the past several decades, and farmers have helped alleviate famine by being flexible. Over the past century, Ethiopian farmers have shifted their main food source from enset to tef-based crops. Another change Ethiopian farmers are adopting is more flexible growing practices, which means rather than growing one crop at a time, farmers are beginning to grow as many as 10 different crops at once. Flexible growing practices add diversity to the food supply and help fight against weeds and pests, leading to increased food supplies, ultimately reducing poverty.

Ethiopia’s government launched the Growth & Transformation Plan II in 2015 that aims to significantly increase economic growth by investing heavily in sustainable and broad-based agricultural practices and manufacturing sectors. The end result of this initiative is for the world stage to recognize Ethiopia on the world stage as a lower middle-income country by 2025. While no one will know the full results of this initiative until 2025, the preliminary data shows that the program has been helping with Ethiopia’s GDP increasing from $64.46 billion in 2015 to $84.36 billion in 2018.

These new farming practices, along with government investment into agricultural practices, increased Ethiopia’s GDP by nearly 10.3 percent over the past decade, which is one of the fastest growth rates in Africa. The new agricultural practices that are stimulating the economy are a significant reason why Ethiopia’s poverty rate has also fallen from nearly 40 percent in 2004 to approximately 27 percent in 2016.

Farming in Ghana

Like Ethiopia, Ghana also has a history of poverty, with 24.2 percent of all residents facing poverty as of 2013. Ghana’s approach to reducing poverty is unique because the country is using economic growth. While Ethiopia is also focusing on economic growth, Ghana is not utilizing new farming practices in order to achieve economic growth. Rather, Ghana is using increased GDP to revitalize its agricultural sector.

Ghana’s unemployment rate is 6.71 percent as of 2018. With many residents unemployed, the agricultural sector provides job opportunities. Approximately 40 percent of Ghana’s available agricultural land is still available for use, which means there are many opportunities for agricultural expansion. Today estimates determine that the agricultural sector employs 33.86 percent of all Ghanian workers, meaning agriculture is the country’s main source of income for a third of its residents. Alarmingly, though, agriculture makes up only 19.7 percent of Ghana’s GDP as of 2017, which is the lowest total since 1983, when agriculture made up approximately 60 percent of the total GDP.

World Vision, a non-governmental organization, has worked in Ghana since 1979. Currently, World Vision implements 29 area programs. One such project is the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage Project that provides instruction to farmers on how to store cowpea without chemicals. Storing cowpea without chemicals helps reduce post-harvest losses and maintain cowpea’s nutritional value.

With vast amounts of land still available and with the GDP increasing by 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate will decline significantly as more residents head to the fields and plant crops. Agriculture’s share of the GDP will also rise, reducing the downward trend since 1983, and ultimately, put more money into resident’s pockets.

Reducing Poverty

Ethiopia and Ghana have made gains in their plans to reduce poverty among their citizens. Poverty in Ethiopia has fallen from 71.1 percent in 1995 to 27.3 percent in 2015, and Ghana’s poverty rate has fallen from 52.6 percent in 1991 to 21.4 percent in 2012. While these countries are making improvements, there is still a lot of work remaining before all of Africa’s citizens are free from poverty.

– Kyle Arendas
Photo: Flickr

Organic Farming and Poverty Reduction
Organic agriculture carries varying degrees of significance for people around the world. Consumers rely upon the health benefits that organic products provide, some producers depend on the higher prices organic products allow them to charge and producers and consumers alike depend upon the environmentally conscientious philosophy that organic lifestyles promote. For these reasons and more, organic farming and poverty reduction are intimately related.

Organic Farming Benefits and Deterrents

Organic agriculture is a method of production that forgoes the use of pesticides and chemicals in favor of practices that respect the health and purity of the land on which production occurs. Producing without fertilizers and pesticides, however, can be extremely difficult as crop growth is less predictable and plants are much more vulnerable to weather conditions and natural disaster. Thus, when considering the relationship between organic farming and poverty reduction, it is important to remember that organic farming communities do not necessarily always benefit from this form of production. It requires sacrifice and risk.

A major impediment to the ability of farmers to produce and sell organic products on the international market is the extremely high price of organic certification. First, farmers must pay an application fee, then they must pay an annual inspection fee and, finally, an annual certification fee. In Africa, the average cost for organic cocoa certification is $5,500. This is far too much for many small-scale organic farms to pay. They are thus left to sell their products locally.

Still, in countries around the world, people are heavily dependent upon the land for their income and sustenance. This means that any damage to the land severely impedes their ability to sustain an income and to feed themselves. The use of chemicals and pesticides can provide fatal long-term damage to land that could otherwise produce valuable resources. This means that organic farming, despite its difficulties, must be promoted in poverty-stricken areas. Consumers who are able should spend the extra dollar to buy organic products in order to support these farming communities.

How Organic Farming and Poverty Reduction Go Together

There are many important ways that organic farming and poverty reduction go hand in hand. In the long term, organic farmers are likely to earn higher incomes than conventional farmers due to lower costs of crop production and maintenance and the ability to charge higher premiums.

Organic farming also ameliorates food insecurity as organic farmers are able to grow a diversity of crops that help sustain one another. Farmers are able to live off their own production and if one crop fails in a given season, they can still depend on others both to sell and to feed their own families.

Organic farmers also face lower healthcare costs. The use of pesticides and chemicals is often the source of several kinds of medical problems, which can result in expensive medical bills for poor agricultural families. Organic farming is, overall, better for the farmer’s health.

There are parts of the world that recognize the important role of organic farming in poverty reduction. In Asia, it is predicted that organic food sales will rise 20 percent in the following five years. Additionally, organic agriculture around the world increased from $18 billion to $64 billion from 2000 to 2012.

Organic farming can play a crucial role in the reduction of global poverty. Many have already begun to recognize this and are taking action to spread organic practices. Still, it is very difficult for farmers to attain certification impeding the ability for organic farming to stand as a viable option for a great many. If these problems are addressed, the role of organic farming in poverty reduction can only continue to positively grow.

– Julia Bloechl

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

The World's Poorest Countries and Why They SufferAccording to Business Insider, the top ten of the world’s poorest countries are the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Guinea, Eritrea and Madagascar. Poverty is directly correlated to a nation’s institutional quality, corruption levels, geography and economic prospects. These sub-Saharan African countries suffer from several factors that keep their citizens well below the poverty line. Why do these nations struggle with poverty?



The world’s poorest countries struggle to overcome poverty due to a lack of institutions. While many organizations are working to address this issue, there is still a substantial lack of quality institutions in education, agriculture and medicine. When institutions such as schools are created for impoverished people, it reduces the overwhelmingly low literacy rates, which increases opportunities for those facing extreme poverty. Funding the creation of more institutions for developing countries creates opportunities and advantages for impoverished people, which encourages a nation’s industrialization and economic success.



Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo also made Business Insider’s list of the world’s most corrupt countries. Political instability and corruption create an environment that hinders growth. In the world’s poorest countries, political corruption is common and often discussed with severity, but rarely fought against. A strong governing body is less susceptible to corruption, but many of these nations have weak governance. This corruption, paired with conflict such as terrorism, can prevent an impoverished nation’s upward mobility. A stronger, more powerful government could be the solution for conflict and corruption in developing nations.



The world’s poorest countries are often at the mercy of their geography. Landlocking, poor soil and natural disasters can keep a nation at a disadvantage. When a nation is landlocked, the success of its economy is often correlated to the success of surrounding nations. For example, a landlocked country in Europe, where fewer countries are impoverished, has a better chance at success than a country in sub-Saharan Africa, where many nations are underdeveloped. This is based on the concept and reality of economic growth crossing borders. As well as landlocking, many of these nations experience disasters such as droughts which discourage agricultural success.



Economic growth for the world’s poorest countries is based on myriad factors, some of which are beyond a nation’s control. Many developing countries face the lack of a free market, landlocking and high trade barriers, all of which slow the upward mobility of a nation. Free markets encourage a blossoming economy; therefore, a lack of international trade affects a nation’s GDP substantially.

Trade barriers prevent developing countries from expanding their economic gains because they experience high tariffs on their products, which are commonly textiles and agricultural goods. Trade barriers are costlier for developing countries, even though it is more common for developing nations to export goods to other developing nations rather than industrialized nations. In this common situation, both developing nations suffer. Impoverished nations like Burundi, the third poorest nation in the world, rely on foreign aid from wealthy countries for survival because they struggle with trade.


How to Move Forward

Developed nations, which are industrialized, have implemented foreign aid laws and programs which encourage and fund the development of impoverished nations. To remain active and diligent in the support of progress for the world’s poorest nations, encouraging Congress to vote for laws that protect and create foreign aid funds is essential to the progress of these developing nations. Long-term development for economic and social progress starts with developed nations lending a humble hand to those less fortunate.

– Courtney Hambrecht

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