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Women in Tajikistan
For a small country in Central Asia, Tajikistan makes U.S. news relatively frequently, often because the lives of women there differ from the U.S. norm. Those living in the area have suffered from political turmoil and poverty. While the news often focuses on the modern oppression of women, the mistreatment of women in Tajikistan stems from a larger injustice, centuries of poverty in the country that has affected women more than men.

Religious Oppression for Women in Tajikistan

Recently, the news has highlighted that Tajikistan’s Ministry of Culture published a “Book of Recommendations” for women’s attire. In the book, models display what the country deems appropriate attire for many occasions, setting standards for work and many social events.

What particularly incited opposition from many was the book’s overt advisement against Muslim and Islamic clothing, like the hijab, as well as Western clothing, which was deemed too scandalous. Furthermore, in 2017, the Tajikistan government instituted a policy of texting women reminders about wearing traditional clothing. This followed the government’s efforts in 2016 to close shops selling women’s religious clothing.

Additionally, the Tajikistan government created a law requiring traditional attire and culture at important events, such as weddings and funerals, officially banning “nontraditional dress and alien garments.” In August, the month it became law, 8,000 women wearing hijabs were stopped by government officials and told to remove their religious garments.

Maternal Mortality Rates for Women in Tajikistan

Tajikistan is one of the world’s poorest countries. Thirty-two percent of Tajiks live in poverty, but in rural areas, that number rises to 75 percent. Consequentially, women face staggering maternal mortality rates with 65 women out of every thousand dying from pregnancy or childbirth. In fact, mortality rates for both mother and infant are higher than any other country in Central Asia, a region already significantly behind Western standards.

This lag correlates with the upheaval faced by Tajiks since the responsibility for healthcare had changed hands so many times in the past. Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1991. Then, shortly after gaining independence in 1991, Tajikistan suffered from a brutal civil war that not only claimed tens of thousands of Tajik lives but also crippled the healthcare system, contributing to such high maternal mortality rates.

Caring for the Home and Family

Political upheaval abruptly caused women to become household managers without any aid, leaving them to struggle with poverty. The civil war crippled industrial and agricultural production, the latter of which the country’s economy depended on almost entirely. Since then, nearly 1.5 million Tajik men have left the country to seek employment elsewhere, often leaving wives in charge of the home and children. But, unfortunately, households headed by women are significantly poorer than those headed by men.

Representation and Education for Women in Tajikistan

Female representation in government has remained below international standards because of the poverty caused by political upheaval. Only 12 of the 62 legislators in Tajikistan are women. Those who do make it into politics are often stuck in the lower ranks with little to no opportunity to rise to levels where they can create change.

Private Muslim schools educated the majority of the country’s population from early 1800 until the 1920s when The Soviet Union secularized education. However, with independence came a decreased government budget for education as the private funds disappeared. Moreover, women either have to marry young or are too busy working and, therefore, do not have an opportunity to receive an education.

Improvements Being Made For Women in Tajikistan

Due to The Soviet Union’s systemized education, literacy rates grew, and that shift in norms has continued to benefit men and women in Tajikistan. Additionally, in the two decades following independence, poverty rates have dropped, suggesting a growing stability. In fact, in 1999, 81 percent of the country lived in poverty, and in ten years that number has almost halved to 47 percent. Additionally, extreme poverty decreased from 73 percent in 1999 to 14 percent in 2013.

The U.N. has been working in Tajikistan to improve conditions for women since 1999 by empowering women and promoting gender equality. Furthermore, local and international stakeholders have been given a way to provide activities for women, such as the Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (REACT), which helps train women to respond in disaster situations.

Hope for a Better Future

Therefore, beyond the uproar over women’s clothing being regulated by the government lies a deeper historical injustice due to poverty. Women have had little control over Tajikistan’s laws that have targeted them and a lack of access to education that prevents this fact from changing.

Despite concerning media coverage, possible improvements for the lives of women in Tajikistan exist. As stability grows, the potential exists to improve the budget for healthcare and education and, therefore, reduce poverty. Backed with proper healthcare and educational opportunities, women will have the ability to gain access and opportunities to dictate the laws of their country, such as those about their clothing, by becoming more active in the political sphere.

– Charlotte Preston
Photo: Flickr

 

Facts About Poverty in SomaliaLocated in one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the world, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty in Somalia has been an enormous issue for more than a century but has recently been slightly alleviated due to increased foreign aid and government stability. Here are ten key facts about poverty in Somalia.

10 Facts About Poverty in Somalia

  1. Severe droughts and extreme weather make life for people living in poverty in Somalia even more difficult. Historically, food security in the country has been an issue due to limited rainfall and extreme drought. In 2017, nearly six million people in the country were considered acutely food insecure. Around a quarter of a million people have been displaced due to the most recent drought.
  2. Somalia is one of the least developed countries in Africa. Somalia lags behind the rest of Africa when it comes to the availability of basic infrastructure. Only around half of the country’s population has access to fresh drinking water and this number is significantly lower in rural areas.
  3. Poor people who live in rural areas of the country are relatively left behind when it comes to education compared to urban areas. The literacy rate in rural areas drops around 10 percent compared to urban areas. Less access to education in rural areas means a more challenging path out of poverty for poor people.
  4. Four out of five children in Somalia are lacking at least one basic necessity. Around 85 percent of youth in Somalia do not have access to at least one dimension. The more common of which is lack of access to clean drinking water. Another dimension that a substantial amount of children lack is access to information.
  5. Children in Somalia are likely not attending school. Experts believe education is fundamental in giving children a path to escaping poverty. Without education, it is near impossible for children to improve their future. Currently, only half of the country’s youth are receiving and education. This number increases dramatically in rural areas.
  6. The country’s per capita income is around $400. This number is one of the lowest in the region and is a huge reason for poverty in Somalia. Lacking infrastructure in the country affects the number of good jobs and means that most people work on agricultural land.
  7. Somalia’s parliament recently adopted the National Development Plan. The NDP aims to build up the county’s infrastructure and begin to reduce the amount of poverty in Somalia. It also aims to make the country more secure and oust remaining terrorist cells.
  8. Donor grants doubled in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2016, the country received nearly $55.3 million in grants while in 2017 that number grew to over $103.6 million.
  9. About 73 percent of the country lives on less than $2 a day. The percentage of people living on less than $1 a day is around 24 percent, but this number increases to 53 percent in rural areas.
  10. Somalia is one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman. Not only does the country have a terribly high child mortality rate, Somalian women also have limited access to maternal health resources and education.

Although Somalia is still one of the poorest countries in the world, progress is being made to help change the status quo. Increased government stability is leading to improved infrastructure and security. The government is already pushing initiatives that will help mitigate some of these facts about poverty in Somalia. This coupled with an increase in foreign aid dollars flowing into Somalia should bring a brighter future for the struggling country.

– Thomas Fernandez
Photo: Flickr

child poverty in ThailandOver the last several years, Thailand has made impressive progress in reducing poverty. It has gone down from 67 percent in 1986 to only 7.2 percent in 2015. While there has been considerable progress made, poverty is still a major problem in Thailand, especially among children. The following are 10 important facts about child poverty in Thailand.

10 Facts About Child Poverty in Thailand

  1. It is estimated that about one million children in Thailand are living in vulnerable conditions. Child poverty in Thailand is a serious issue. These vulnerable individuals include children that live in poverty, have lost their parents, have a disability or have been forced to live on the streets.
  2. Child labor has long been a problem. It is estimated that more than eight percent of children between ages five and 14 are involved in the workforce. Impoverished children have no option but to enter into factory work, fishery work, construction or agriculture. Young children are also often forced into the commercial sex industry. Riley Winter, a student who recently traveled to Thailand, told The Borgen Project she witnessed children were giving tourists foot massages for just a small amount of money.
  3. Around 380,000 children have been left as orphans by the AIDS epidemic. This greatly affects child poverty in Thailand; many of these children are forced to live on the streets or enter the workforce because they have no one to care for them. It is also estimated that 200 to 300 children will be born HIV-positive each year.
  4. Poor children in Thailand do not have full access to medical care. Out of the 20,000 children are affected by HIV/AIDS, only 1,000 of them have access to medical care.
  5. Children are being exploited. Thailand has become wealthier and, consequently, trafficking networks have been expanding to poorer and isolated children in the country. Child poverty in Thailand has led these children to enter commercial sexual exploitation.
  6. Child poverty in Thailand makes it difficult for poorer children to remain in school. They do not have access to the necessary tools to succeed and remain in school so they are often forced to drop out. The wealthiest group has 81.6 percent of children of primary school age enter grade one while only 65.3 percent of the poorest group enter grade one.
  7. Arranged marriages are very prevalent in Thailand today. A man from a wealthy family is often chosen because the dowry system is still utilized in Thailand. The wealthy man will give the bride’s parents money in exchange for her hand in marriage. This happens in poor communities in Thailand very often, taking away the possibility for the impoverished girl to receive future education, among other things.
  8. Children are being forced to live on the streets due to things like violence, abuse and poverty. These children often beg or sell small goods for just a bit of money each day. They are at risk of poor health and lack of nutrition.
  9. Children are being left in rural communities. Thailand’s economy has been moving away from the agricultural sector and more money can be made in urban areas. Parents are forced to go to work in bigger cities like Bangkok, and children are often left in the care of someone else in rural villages.Parents send money back to their family but children often only get to see their parents one to two times a year. Although the parents are making more money, leaving their children comes with a risk. Children left in these rural communities are at risk of malnutrition and developmental and behavioral issues.
  10. Since the 1990s, child poverty in Thailand has been rapidly improving. The number of child deaths has decreased, literacy rates have dramatically increased, fewer children are malnourished and there are more children in school and less in the workforce.

There have been countless efforts made in Thailand to address child poverty but there is still a lot of work to be done. The nation has set long-term economic goals to be reached by 2036. These goals address economic stability, human capital and equal economic opportunities. These goals will be crucial going forward to help fight child poverty in Thailand.

– Ronni Winter
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts about Poverty in ShanghaiShanghai sits on China’s central coast and is becoming a wildly popular tourist destination for visiting foreigners as well as Chinese nationals. With an amazing city skyline, incredible subway transportation and popular nightlife, it can be hard to imagine or see those living in poverty beneath the glamour. Here are 10 facts about poverty in Shanghai that are important to remember.

10 Facts About Poverty in Shanghai:

  1. Urban Poverty Eradicated
    The World Bank defines poverty as those living on less than $1.90 per day, and by those standards, China has eradicated all urban poverty. China’s ability to lift its citizens out of poverty is unprecedented but as great as this is, keeping an eye on the middle class will be important for economic health.
  2. Rural Poverty Eradicated by 2020
    Most concern for poverty is for those in the countryside, as people leave for the cities due to a lack of available jobs. The Chinese government’s goal is to eradicate poverty in all of China by 2020 and it has started this process by creating social reforms and looking at its redistributive policies.
  3. Growing Disposable Income
    These ten facts about poverty in Shanghai would be incomplete without the mention of the growing middle class. It is estimated that the middle class will grow to 75 percent of the population by 2022 and as of 2013 the average Shanghai family’s disposable income was ¥48,841 a year.
  4. Disneyland
    Some may see the wealth of Disneyland and compare it to the poverty in the villages nearby. However, it looks as if Disneyland take part in the place to eradicate poverty. Disneyland has helped create infrastructure for rural places by bringing subway lines and freeways to the Pudong district as well as creating jobs for those in northern Shanghai.
  5. Tearing Down the Old
    Small homes built from a past and poorer era are being torn down and residents are being encouraged to relocate. Relocated citizens are given a monthly housing stipend by the government, which unfortunately is not always enough for the interim of the construction.
  6. Building the New
    Wealth seems to be rising as from 2000 to 2008 luxury home construction saw an increase by ten versus smaller homes decreasing by 60 percent. While this has occurred naturally in the past, there is a new focus on building new homes and forcing relocation.
  7. Migrant Workers
    Approximately 39 percent of Shanghai’s residents are estimated to be long-term migrant workers. Migrant workers are people who have moved from more rural communities into the cities looking for work. Their income is unsure as is their housing and many migrant workers are susceptible to poverty.
  8. Migration Reversal
    The Chinese government is causing a migration reversal with the end goal of eradicating poverty. The government is forcing migrant workers out of the city and back to their hometowns by shutting down businesses and houses based on health coeds. Some feel it is unfair to have this forced lifestyle imposed on them, while others think this process would have occurred naturally because the cities are becoming too expensive.
  9. Urbanization
    Part of the migration reversal is a focus on urbanization–turning China into various urban centers. The government is becoming more focused on creating government-subsidized homes for those in rural areas. This relocation is estimated to see of 9.8 million people moved across China from 2016 to 2020.
  10. Disparity
    These 10 facts about poverty in Shanghai all come down to growth and disparity. There is still a huge disparity between wealth and poverty, luxury and necessities, opulence and simplicity, but things are improving. While the methods may not be agreed upon, Shanghai is a beacon for the changing China.

Natasha Komen

Flickr

poverty in china
By the year 2020, according to most financial and political analysts, China will surpass the U.S. as the largest economy on the planet. The World Bank even reported that China opening itself to free-market reforms in the last few decades managed to raise more than 800 million people out of poverty in China.

The Positives

In addition to this positive news, the financial institutions also added the reassuring fact that thanks to this unprecedented growth rate, the Chinese economy improved the living standards for a massive percentage of its population. A closer look at the data reveals how in 1981, 88.3 percent of China’s population lived on less than $1.90 a day (roughly 870 million people), and 99.1 percent lived on less than $3.10 a day (over 980 million people).

The last reported year for which the World Bank gathered official data is 2010, and the results are staggering — only 11.2 percent (almost 150 million people) lived in poverty in China in 2010. The overall prospect, then, seems quite promising; however, there are some further considerations of note in regard to this set of data.

The Divide

Taking into account China’s enormous social and economical strides since the Communist Party took power, one can see that there is a massive divide in income between rural and urban areas.

More specifically, in 1978 only 23 percent of the population was employed in urban areas; by 2014, over 770 million Chinese citizens were urban workers. Such figures acknowledge the significant improvement in the urbanization process, while also concealing the fact that the rest of population still lives and works in rural areas.

Those families are largely stuck in the same economic and social distress they were before the Communist revolution and unfortunately, haven’t made significant steps forward. Other statistics reveal how China’s per capita GDP, for example, is still very much below the standards of a developed country. It ranked, in fact, at $6,894.50 in 2016, which is 55 percent below the world’s average.

The Question

How can a country whose GDP grows at an annual rate of 6.9 percent still have children begging on the streets and families living on less than $2 a day? While it’s hard to provide a definite answer, a few considerations are worth bringing forth about the Chinese political system.

The country is still ruled by a one-party system which owns and controls the vast majority of enterprises and sectors of the economy. Private property is still very weakly protected and the judicial system is dominated by the Communist Party that arbitrarily appoints judges and influences court operations and verdicts.

Moreover, the regulatory framework is also arbitrary and very intricate — details that make it difficult for a private enterprise to blossom and grow. Corruption is also a massive issue which, when paired with the state-controlled financial system and state-owned enterprises, highly depresses foreign investments and contributes to enriching the economic elite and maintaining poverty in China.

China has made improvements in its poverty alleviation efforts, but there is clearly still room for improvement. Only time will tell how the nation keeps up with its progress.

– Luca Di Fabio

Photo: Flickr

As China continues its efforts to lift its citizens out of poverty, initiatives have been established to help those living in rural communities. The government has created the twelfth Five Year Plan that aims to alleviate poverty and focuses on people in rural China, who are more susceptible to poverty than those who live in metropolitan parts of the country.

The plan states that China plans to “lift all of its poor out of poverty by 2020,” by mainly focusing on people living in the nation’s 128,000 poor villages and 832 counties. The plan further encourages the development of competitive industries in areas that include agriculture and tourism to help pursue the goal of alleviating poverty by 2020.

Beyond the government’s efforts to support citizens in rural communities, migrants from these communities, who previously moved to metropolitan cities for better opportunities, are moving back to their hometowns and villages to set up businesses to help progress these areas.

A cause for this shift is attributed to favorable policies implemented to help progress the lives of people in rural China. The Chinese government has created policies that focus on improving rural infrastructure, providing subsidies, streamlining registration procedures, improving financial services and setting up entrepreneurial parks.

In recent years, approximately seven million returnee migrants have established agriculture-based enterprises in their hometowns and villages. Estimates state that the number of returnee migrants is increasing by 10 percent each year. As a result, The Ministry of Agriculture states that at least eight new jobs on average have been created for people in rural China when businesses are set up by returnee migrants.

What is Agritourism?

One industry that has been proven effective in alleviating poverty in rural China is the agritourism industry, which has seen increased interest by both developing and developed countries with large agriculture industries. Agritourism can be defined as the act of tourists visiting a farm or ranch for leisure, recreation or educational purposes.

The increased interest in agritourism can be attributed to tourists’ increased understanding of environmental protection and a heightened interest in improving the quality of life for those who live in rural China. The urban economy in China has also contributed to this popularity with its growing economy and raised awareness of healthy living, which has increased the demand for organic products and rural tourism.

The Results of Agritourism

The past six years have brought success to the agritourism industry and have helped bridge the economic gap between the urban economy and rural economy in China.

In 2012, there were roughly 1.7 million leisure farming and agritourism businesses that were created and helped create employment for 6.9 percent of the total rural labor force. These enterprises brought in an annual revenue of over 240 billion yuan from the 800 million tourists who visited rural China.

In 2016, the number of tourists increased to 2.1 billion people, who brought in and estimated 570 billion yuan that helped 6.72 million households in rural China.

Needed Improvements to the Agritourism Business Model

Even though agritourism has proven successful for millions of citizens, there are still sectors in the agritourism industry that need improvement.

There have been numerous issues that have arisen concerning agritourism and how to sustain the industry, so it can become a more reliable avenue to help alleviate poverty in China. These issues include problems with sanitation practices, lack of program planning and lack of reliable research and monitoring systems.

Also, with rural residents offering tourists “rural-style themed” food and accommodations, these practices have hindered further development of the agritourism industry. Solutions proposed have been to encourage the government to “help logistically and practically by integrating education resources in vocational institutions and by providing tailored training services for the new farmers.”

With efforts underway to improve the livelihoods of China’s rural residents, and with agritourism having already been proven as a successful industry, only time will tell whether this industry can be enough to lift people in rural China out of poverty for good by 2020.

– Lois Charm

Photo: Flickr

solidarity lendingFor too long, the plight of the urban poor had monopolized the concerns of those working to eradicate abject poverty. The millions of people in rural poverty have been forced to toil in silence, overshadowed by their urban counterparts and underrepresented by the advocates of economic development. Most are relegated to subsistence agriculture, making the best of what little they have. However, a renewed emphasis on the rural poor has facilitated new and innovative techniques to help, among them solidarity lending.

One such pioneer is SHARE Micro Finance Limited, which offers loans to rural women in India in an attempt to fund entrepreneurship among the rural poor. Recently, a number of studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of such programs, with some encouraging results. An article from the Stanford Graduate School of Business tells the story of Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist from India. Khosla described solidarity lending as a “virtuous pyramid scheme” where groups of women are given modest loans from SHARE. This program differs from individual loans because “the group members are under strong social pressure not to default…and if one person does, the others have to make up for it”.

The program empowers women to invest the money in a stall at the local market or use it to invest in equipment which enables them to produce or transport their items more efficiently. To some, this may seem like only a marginal benefit, but Khosla reports that among nearly 200,000 clients, 77 percent saw reduced poverty.

To test the feasibility of such programs further, a study on solidarity lending was conducted in Mongolia, which compared the results to those of regular lending practices. Research showed that while repayment rates were similar, food consumption increased among group lenders, an encouraging sign to researchers.

Another study on group lending conducted by the African Growth Institute in Kenya revealed that “microcredit is an important entrepreneurial tool in alleviating poverty”. They also found that group lending was a way of achieving greater financial stability.

Because of innovative initiatives like solidarity lending, the rural poor are better equipped to prosper. By providing groups with much-needed access to financial capital, farmers from India to Mongolia to Kenya are no longer overlooked.

– Brendan Wade

Photo: Flickr

facts about poverty in India
India is a South Asian country with one of the fastest growing economies and yet still a large number of inhabitants living in poverty.

The Top 10 Facts About Poverty in India

  1. According to a survey done by CNN, only five percent of India’s surveyed population made enough to pay taxes, 2.5 percent owned a vehicle and less than 10 percent had a salaried job.
  2. With such economic struggles, literacy is extremely uncommon in rural areas. Only 3.5 percent of students in India graduate and about 35.7 percent of the population doesn’t know how to write or read.
  3. In 2012, there were 270,000,000 — or one in every five —  impoverished Indians; 80 percent of these poor Indians lived in rural areas.
  4. Twenty-one percent of poor Indians have restrooms, 61 percent have electricity and only 6 percent have tap water.
  5. With poverty affecting Indian lives so much, 38 of every 1,000 babies born in India die before making it to their one-year mark.
  6. The rapid population growth in India is one of the major reasons for poverty within the country. The growth of the population exceeds the rate of growth in the country’s overall income. This heavily affects the poor because population growth creates a need for an increased labor supply, which is a profession with low wage rates.
  7. One of the top 10 facts about poverty in India includes climatic conditions and the effect such impacts have on poverty within the country as a whole. India’s climate is extremely hot, which makes it difficult for Indians to work. This inability, in turn, causes production to suffer and therefore, the income of Indians to suffer as well. Also, there are numerous amounts of floods, earthquakes and cyclones that cause extreme damage to agriculture and infrastructure; all of these conditions make it difficult for people living in poverty.
  8. “Your Article Library” explains that low levels of investment create low income and that the circle of poverty is seemingly never-ending within India.
  9. Business Today explains that India recently accounted for the largest amount of people living below the poverty line; 30 percent of India’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day.
  10. The Huffington Post reveals that 56 percent of Indians (around 680 million people) lack the ability to meet their basic needs. Even the people who are officially above the poverty line (around 413 million people) are still vulnerable to such harsh conditions.

Sooner Rather than Later

With poverty continually taking such a toll on India, it is important to understand that it is a country in need of assistance. Allowing people the ability to see their harsh living conditions is one way to ensure that these top 10 facts about poverty in India improve over time.

– McCall Robinson

Photo: Pixabay

facts about poverty in China
China is a heavily populated country in East Asia. Since the financial crisis in 2008, China has become the second largest economy in the world and the number one contributor to the world’s overall growth. With the impact China has and its status as a major tourist attraction, many people don’t realize that poverty within the nation’s walls is still quite common.

In as recent as 2015, there were 55 million poor people in rural areas. The World Bank explains that because of China’s fast-growing economy, it has brought on challenges such as high inequality, environmental sustainability issues and poverty. Thankfully, China is aware of these problems and works to eradicate poverty within its walls. With this in mind, here are the top 10 facts about poverty in China.

10 Facts About Poverty in China

  1. China has the goal to completely overcome poverty by 2020, which would make the country an overall prosperous society.
  2. Just in 2016, China was able to help put 12.4 rural people above the poverty line. This surpassed their 2016 goal of bringing at least 10 million people out of poverty.
  3. Around 775,000 officials went to villages in the end of 2016 because of a CPC program that hoped to aid poverty relief. This is one of the reasons China’s poverty numbers decreased immensely during this year.
  4. However, towards the end of 2016, China still had 43.35 million people under the poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about $334) in annual income.
  5. Regardless of existing struggles, China brought 55.64 million rural people out of poverty from 2013 to 2016.
  6. Because China has such a large population, officials are worried about population sizes in major cities. Consequently, rural residents are often forced to move to the outskirts of third-tier cities, which often have little infrastructure and a setting that makes it easier for Chinese residents to fall under the poverty line. Additionally, these towns often lack healthcare and education services because there are not enough teachers or medical care workers in these areas.
  7. With so many loans taken out for poverty assistance, Chinese debt in 2000 to 2014 rose from $2.1 trillion to $28.2 trillion. This amount is projected to increase by around 300 percent of GDP by the year 2022.
  8. In 2017, China lifted 12.89 million rural people from poverty which put the poverty rate at 3.1 percent compared to its 4.5 percent the previous year.
  9. Around 500 million people, or 40 percent of the population within China, survive on $5.50 per day or less.
  10. Unfortunately, corruption has emerged within this topic — there have been upwards of 1,800 people investigated for embezzling antipoverty funds and other crimes of the like.

A Bright Future

Even though these ten facts about poverty in China demonstrates the improvements necessary to eradicate poverty completely, amazing strides have already been taken by the country itself and the global community at large. Even after these accomplishments, China is not stopping the fight — the nation continues to work towards eliminating poverty completely. Thankfully, poverty in this nation is getting both national and international attention, making it an issue far from being ignored and thus better off for a solution.

– McCall Robinson

Photo: Flickr

poverty in TanzaniaAfrican countries tend to be surrounded by the stigma of poverty and underdevelopment. However, most people are oblivious to the fact that the region is, in fact, rich in natural resources. Tanzania falls into this category. The East African nation has no dearth of wildlife, land or minerals. Despite being endowed with such advantageous conditions, the question of poverty in Tanzania arises time and time again.

About 12 million people, or 28.2 percent of the population, are living in basic needs poverty, 80 percent of which reside in rural areas. The workforce is concentrated in the agriculture industry, which employs 75 percent of Tanzanian workers. The land can only sustain a certain number of commercial farmers, leaving the majority to make ends meet via subsistence farming.

The internal production of agricultural goods is not being supported. Cereals and other grains are often imported from international markets instead of being purchased from domestic producers. Shifting production back to the country will not only employ many people, but will also stimulate the GDP.

The underlying reason for poverty in Tanzania can be attributed to a lack of education. Focusing on education for all will reduce family sizes and expand career options, especially for women. Women in Tanzania have approximately five children, according to the World Bank. 42 percent of children face malnutrition because their parents have to allot their resources according to larger family sizes. Without enough money to feed their kids, sending them school is not an option. Education programs and family planning services have both been helping to curb the population growth in Tanzania; they also give women the opportunity to provide a supplemental income with the extra time they have.

Concentrating on education from a young age is vital for alleviating poverty in Tanzania. Multiple doors of opportunity will open up for them, and they will not be trapped into subsistence farming. Training and education will make Tanzanians adept and allow them to be competitive in the international economy. When fewer people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, farmers will have more available arable land and more opportunities to pursue commercial farming.

Unlike most African nations, Tanzania did not suffer through internal strife. This gives them a leg up and increases the expectations for improvement. Tackling education should be the top priority of the government in their domestic policy.

Tanvi Wattal

Photo: Flickr