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Facts About Poverty in ItalyIn 2017 the number of individuals in Italy living in “absolute poverty” rose to 5.1 million people, or 8.4 percent of Italy’s population. That number is up from the 7.9 percent reported back in 2016. Absolute poverty refers to a condition where a person does not have the minimum amount of income needed to meet the minimum requirements for one or more basic living needs over an extended period of time. With such a great amount of people unable to support themselves on a day to day basis and the overall region experiencing a rise in poverty levels each year, it is time to take another look at the facts about poverty in Italy.

10 Facts About Poverty in Italy

  1. Poverty is a threat in southern Italy. Southern Italy’s economy has grown slowly compared to northern Italy and its economy contracted by 13 percent from 2008 to 2013, almost twice as fast as the North’s at seven percent. Between 2007 and 2014, 70 percent of people in Italy who were in poverty were from southern Italy. The threat of poverty has caused some individuals to join the mafia in order to escaped the harshness of absolute poverty. Today, 47 percent of people still live at risk of poverty in southern Italy.
  2. The average household income in Italy rose in 2015, around €2,500 per month, but this was heavily concentrated in the richest fifth of Italy’s population. Think tank Censis reported that more than 87 percent of working-class Italians say it is difficult to climb the social scale, along with 83 percent of the middle class and 71 percent of the affluent.
  3. Italy’s debt is one of the worst in the E.U., with a national debt of $2.6 trillion, roughly 120 percent of its GDP. The debt was not as bad in the 1990s due to smart budgeting tactics, but after the global recession hit, the debt crisis began. Italy may not be able to sell its new debt to cover its old debt, indicating why these facts about poverty in Italy are so important to understand.
  4. Corruption within Italy has halted economic growth. More than 15 percent of Italy’s economy occurs on the black market and other underground avenues. With a past filled with tax evasion charges among others, Italy has seen its good government standing decrease over the years. Bad government leads to bad decision making which ultimately leads to the downfall of a good economic plan.
  5. Minors also face the brunt of poverty. In 2017, 1.208 million minors were living in absolute poverty. Children growing up in poverty leads to many problems down the road. Many may drop out of school to support their families or find other methods to garner a decent living. Italy’s poverty problem is so deep that not even children can escape it.
  6. With the establishment of new leadership in government, Italy is looking at a hopeful start to fixing its economy. Italy’s GDP rose 1.5 percent last year, the highest since 2010. While growth has been slow, the government is now actively trying to combat poverty.
  7. Recently the Italian government passed a bill that allocates €1.6 billion to help families in need as well as minors in need. The bill focuses on tackling poverty through welfare packages and anything else that can help people get by.
  8. The proposed bill gives families in need up to €400 each month. The estimate is that around 400,000 families will benefit from this new bill. The country’s Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti stated that the bill “fills a long-standing gap in the Italian system of protecting individuals on a low income, and is the sign of a new approach to social policy.”
  9. The grand plan to end poverty in Italy centers around the idea of social development, or establishing the means in which the foundation of Italy is secure and no one is at risk of being in poverty. Social development has been what the U.N. has cited as the most efficient way of reducing poverty.
  10. Italy looks to improve its economy each year at around one percent and continues to be optimistic about its chances of reducing poverty. Job growth is the priority of the current government and many steps are being made to accomplish that goal.

While Italy has one of the worst economies in the E.U., the nation is working to improve its conditions. These 10 facts about poverty in Italy demonstrate both the breadth and depth of the problem as well as the steps the country is taking to resolve its issues.

– Michael Huang
Photo: Flickr

girls' education in Iran
In recent years, girls’ education in Iran has fallen victim to many restrictions and limitations. While Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to allow women to study at the university level, many things have changed since the violence of the Iraq war and other related conflicts. Many Iranian politicians in the years after 9/11 have viewed girls’ education in Iran in a different light, often as a threat to political power.

Repression for Girls’ Education in Iran

The presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2005 to 2013 ushered in an era of repression for girls’ education in Iran. Before his election, women accounted for more applications to universities than men in Iran. During Ahmadinejad’s presidency, however, many restrictions were introduced to girls education including separate entrances and classrooms, as well as separate social areas and a repression of the subjects women were allowed to study.

This trend represents what many politicians labeled a return to more traditional Islamic values and a “re-Islamisation” of the Iranian people. This call for change from political leaders placed an emphasis on reducing Western influence on Iranian culture and many of these reductions were felt by the female population in Iran. Conservative government officials made it known that they felt the education of women was leading to a diminishment of family values and desire for women to bear children and perform familial duties.

To promote this view, President Ahmadinejad’s administration primarily linked girls’ education in Iran to an increasing divorce rate and decreasing fertility rate. In addition to linking these factors, the administration promoted gender-based admission policies through the Iranian ministry of science, which selects who leads universities in Iran.

Change in Admissions and Leadership

In August 2012, Mehr news agency reported that women were being prevented from admissions in 77 majors, 36 universities and in important areas such as accounting, education, chemistry, engineering and advising in Iran. Many of the majors reserved for men included engineering, surveying, management and leadership positions.

In 2013, Iran elected Hassan Rouhani as its president, which marks a hopeful improvement in the fight for equal rights for women’s education. Rouhani criticized gender-based education in Iran, and has stated that his administration will not discriminate between men and women seeking employment or education in Iran. While the President and his administration feel that this is fair, many in Iran oppose his rollback of gender-based education and his administration has not had much effect on the state of women’s education in Iraq today.

An Upwards Battle

While the fight for girls’ education in Iran will undoubtedly be better received by the Rouhani administration, it is still an upwards battle for the women in Iran to see educational improvements in their lives.  Even though girls’ education in Iran has largely been accepted and promoted since the turn of the twentieth century, in recent years many people have called for a return to a more traditional Islamic model of women having more familial duties in the home.

It is the hope of many people that Iran allows its women to gain the educational opportunities they want and deserve. With a presidential administration amenable to equal education for women, Iranian women may gain equal access to education soon.

– Dalton Westfall
Photo: Flickr

Gogo OliveSeventy-two percent of Zimbabweans live under the national poverty line, making it the 22nd poorest country in the world. Gogo Olive is a charity whose focus is to mitigate some of the problems faced by Zimbabweans, specifically women. Here is how one charity is changing the lives of Zimbabwean women.

The Problem: Difficulty Making a Living

One hardship faced by many women is HIV/AIDS, a disease that affected 1.3 million Zimbabweans in 2016. This results in many widowed parents who have to provide for their families by themselves. Providing for their households, however, is a difficult task when job opportunities are so limited. The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is currently at 11.3 percent, and increases when excluding the large numbers of subsistence farmers and those working in the informal economy. This, however, is not the main problem for Zimbabweans.

The real problem, according to the International Labour Organization, is the poor quality of employment, characterized by low wages, no sick leave for employees and poor working conditions. In this way, the great need in Zimbabwe is decent jobs. Gogo Olive has met this need by employing women to knit goods, primarily in the form of knitted animals.

The Solution: Gogo Olive

Gogo Olive was founded by Julie Hagan as a way to create jobs for six women through knitting. Since its inception in 2008, the charity has grown to include about 80 knitters who produce hundreds of these knitted animals each month. According to the website, “Knitting was chosen as it only requires basic materials and can be done anywhere and at anytime, which suits the lifestyle of a Zimbabwean woman.”

The charity operates on two levels. Gogo Olive Knits creates jobs and generates income for women by selling their knitted products. Gogo Olive Cares focuses on meeting the other needs of the women. This includes establishing savings plans, running educational workshops, distributing care packages, and setting up an emergency fund to help with health costs and school fees. This is how one charity is changing the lives of Zimbabwean women: they not only provide an income, they also include additional benefits that have no doubt helped the poor greatly.

Gogo Olive Knits presents a flexible way to earn income. The knitters are paid monthly for each product they produce. According to Ruth Hagan, they can earn up to $250 monthly.

An additional benefit of working for Gogo Olive is the educational workshops. The majority of the knitters have had little education, a problem which keeps them in the poverty trap. Some of the topics covered are budgeting, HIV/AIDS awareness, healthcare, single parenting and farming techniques.

Beyond Income: Gogo Olive Cares

Gogo Olive Cares also provides an emergency fund for people in special circumstances. This includes school fees for their children and medical fees for medication or treatment that the women would otherwise be unable to afford. Ruth Hagan shared a story about one of the knitters who received a payment from the emergency fund. “In January, one of our knitters accessed the fund which allowed her to have a hip replacement following living in considerable pain for a number of years.” The knitter, Florence, is now back at work and able to walk with a crutch.

The benefits extend far beyond simply meeting physical needs. Ruth explains, “We love that we are able to teach a skill and offer employment to many ladies. Not only does this allow them to make enough money to feed their children and pay for school fees but it also gives them each a sense of value and worth as they have meaningful occupation.”

Ruth Hagan said of the experience, “It is great to be a part of positively impacting lives of so many in Zimbabwe.” Seeing how one charity is changing the lives of Zimbabwean women goes to show that any good deed, big or small, can have an immense impact.

– Olivia Booth
Photo: Flickr

Strengthening Women’s Education in GhanaSeveral steps are being taken to strengthen women’s education in Ghana and to also narrow the gender gap in schools throughout the country. The country is very close to achieving gender equality in primary school enrollment, which is a significant milestone. Women’s access to education in Ghana past primary school, however, still has room for improvement.

Different approaches are being enacted to promote empowerment and women’s education in Ghana. While some approaches are traditional and in correlation with poverty reduction and Millenium Development Goals, others are led by individuals and women trying to make a difference in their own communities.

One such individual is Adeline Nyabu. Nyabu created the Girls Empowerment League, aiming to increase attendance and boost the academic performance of young girls. This league connects girls to female role models and teaches leadership, passion for education and achievement, and shows the realistic and positive outcomes for a woman who completes continuing education. In addition, the program is designed to boost the self-esteem, confidence, aspirations, determination and self-worth of girls in an unequal society.

Another program in place is the Campaign for Female Education. This program partners with MasterCard to provide scholarships to pay for examination registration fees, uniform costs, educational materials and financial packages for girls in rural communities in Ghana. Since 2012, more than 4,000 girls have been awarded the scholarship to continue their education and are equipped to become influential leaders and scholars, in hopes that they will pave the way and be role models for other girls in situations that seem impossible to get out of.

A traditional approach to improving women’s education in Ghana and narrowing the educational gender gap throughout the country is through the Girls Education Unit (GEU), part of the Ghana Education Service under the Ministry of Education. Since its establishment in 1997, GEU has made it possible to have a Girls Education Officer in every district and region of the country.

The Ministry of Education also provides training for female teachers in male-dominated rural areas and promotes girls’ clubs and camps teaching empowerment, self-worth, leadership and teamwork in a female-dominated environment.

These initiatives and programs have resulted in progress towards the goal to increase women’s education in Ghana, created greater access for girls and narrowed the gender gap within schools. Enrollment in both primary and secondary education has increased by around 10 percent, with a significantly greater increase in enrollment for girls. As a result, Ghana’s gender parity index has improved from 0.93 to 0.95. The country can continue to build on this success to achieve complete gender parity and empower its women and girls to reach their full potential.

– Lydia Lamm

Photo: Flickr

Facing Challenges for Women in the Dominican RepublicIn recent years, the Dominican Republic has transitioned from an agro-industrial economy to a service economy. With this transition has come many changes for the nation, primarily economic changes. The Dominican Republic has experienced significant economic growth due to this transition, which can be seen in its 4.7 percent growth rate between 2004 and 2012. Due to this growth, the Dominican Republic is now classified as a middle-income country, as opposed to a low-income country.

Despite the recent economic success of the country, the Dominican Republic is still facing many obstacles and challenges. Specifically, challenges for women in the Dominican Republic are especially prevalent. Though the economy has grown, so have crimes against women. Reported domestic violence and femicide cases have continued to increase in recent years.

Challenges for women in the Dominican Republic include the basic challenge of surviving. The Dominican Republic has the third highest rate of femicide in its region, and currently, femicide is the primary cause of death for women of reproductive age in the nation. In addition to femicide, gender-based violence has continued to rise in the Dominican Republic.

With gender violence rising, the need for assistance for survivors has risen as well. This need is one that is not being met currently. The Dominican Republic lacks adequate sanctuaries and care centers for the number of abused women and their children in the nation.

In response to these challenges for women in the Dominican Republic, the government has made constitutional amendments that are intended to help the advancement of gender equality in the nation. These amendments include a declaration that the state should promote equal rights for men and women, places an importance upon domestic work and condemns domestic and gender-based violence. In addition to these constitutional amendments, the government has also created the National Plan for Gender Equality, which makes up one of the four pillars of the country’s National Development Strategy.

Though these governmental and legislative actions have not been enough to decrease the amount of violence against women in the Dominican Republic yet, they are important first steps. With these pillars in place and the recent economic growth, the government now has the opportunity to allocate more funding for women’s programs moving forward.

Though the government still needs to make improvements to the amount of funding given to these programs, the problem has finally been recognized. In 2014, an Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Mildred Guzmán, told the United Nations Third Committee, “As a country concerned about the issues related to women, and as a tireless actor in the long struggle for their advancement and accomplishments, we wish to reiterate the political will of the Dominican Republic for full, inclusive and participatory citizenship. Recognizing that violence against women is an obstacle for the fulfillment of all human rights and in consequence, in the entire citizenship.”

This statement holds hope for the future of women in the Dominican Republic, and now it is up to the government to fulfill this hope.

– Nicole Stout

Photo: Flickr

Improving Women’s Rights in TunisiaWhile Tunisia has the most progressive laws on women’s rights in relation to other parts of the Arab world, patriarchal values still persist. In 2010, a study from the Tunisian government revealed that many of the country’s women are sexually, verbally and physically abused. However, improving women’s rights in Tunisia has become an initiative for many organizations.

The U.N.’s Work to Represent Women in Politics

In June 2016, Tunisia’s parliament approved an amendment to ensure a greater representation of women in local politics. Applying to regional and municipal elections, the amendment included a proposal for “horizontal and vertical” gender parity in Article 49 of Tunisia’s electoral law. This also marked the first time that 73 Tunisian female parliamentarians (from different backgrounds, parties and political ideologies) conducted their own lobbying in favor of the horizontal and vertical parity.

“Besides being a first in our region, the adoption of horizontal and vertical parity in electoral law is a timely achievement because it will guarantee effective participation of women in the upcoming decentralization process in Tunisia,” said Leila Rhiwi, the U.N. Women Representative from Maghreb. In March 2016, U.N. Women also began a project with Tunisia’s parliamentarians that would support the implementation of the women’s caucus. This will work toward improving women’s rights in Tunisia by increasing their representation in local and national politics.

Aswat Nissa Training Tunisia’s Women For Political Lives

Many Tunisian women find ways to exercise the power given to them by the country’s progressive laws. Some of these ways include Tunisian women attending political academies that began after the country’s Arab Spring revolution in 2011. In October 2016, the political academy Aswat Nissa was revealed to hold monthly training sessions for Tunisian women who enter political roles.

Aswat Nissa teaches Tunisian women many necessary political skills, including how to debate effectively and draft gender-sensitive budgets. Aswat Nissa enrolled forty Tunisian women in 2016.

“I have visited parliament before, but when you’re an assembly member, it’s something else. You are part of this world,” said Aswat Nissa graduate Karima Tagaz.

Tunisia’s New Law Against Gender-Based Violence

In October 2016, Tunisia’s parliament debated a bill to strengthen legislation on violence against women. The bill would be incorporated into Tunisia’s legislative and government policies, defining gender-based violence, outlawing marital rape and increasing penalties for sexual harassment in the workplace. The bill was approved on July 26, 2017, and served as a landmark step toward improving women’s rights in Tunisia.

“By enacting this new law, the Tunisian authorities have shown a commitment to the rights of women and are setting a standard that many others would do well to follow,” said Amna Guellali, Tunisia’s office director at Human Rights Watch. The new law included requirements to assist Tunisia’s victims of domestic violence, providing them with legal and medical support. Tunisia’s authorities intend to ensure adequate funding and political will to fully place the new law into effect.

A Proposal For Tunisian Women to Share in Inheritance

In January 2018, the Committee on Individual Freedoms and Equality (CIFE) planned a proposal for Tunisia’s women to share in men’s inheritance and pass their family name onto their children.

“Tunisia is once again pioneering and irreversibly moving toward advancement,” Bochra Bel Haj Hmida, CIFE’s chairwoman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “All discriminatory laws in the family space and public space are included in the commission’s tasks.”

CIFE’s proposed bill will also ban dowries, allowing Tunisia’s men and women to share their roles as head of the household. CIFE planned to present its recommendations to Tunisia’s president on Feb. 20, 2018, but requested a postponement until after municipal elections on May 6. The news site ANSAmed said that CIFE did not want its proposal to become an issue of electoral tension.

Tunisia’s parliament, the U.N. and CIFE have made much progress in strengthening the representation of Tunisia’s women in politics and protecting their freedom. Many groups will continue working toward improving women’s rights in Tunisia.

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

Improving Higher Education in VietnamWhile Vietnam has seen a gradual boost in young Vietnamese citizens attending college, the numbers for higher education in Vietnam have been irregular from year to year. In 2017, Vietnam partnered with the World Bank in order to create plans to improve its educational status for students wishing to attend college and vocational training establishments.

College enrollment in Vietnam has amplified significantly since the late 1990s and early 2000s. Vietnam’s higher education enrollment went from just 10 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2005, rising even higher to 25 percent in 2013. Vietnam saw its highest college enrollment status for both sexes in 2014, at a whopping 30 percent. However, in 2015, the rate for tertiary school attendance fell to 28 percent.

Vietnam has produced durable objectives for a college education by creating the Education Development Strategic Plan for the years 2008 to 2020, as well as the Higher Education Reform Agenda. USAID has partnered with Vietnamese universities and private divisions to invigorate higher education in Vietnam.

USAID collaborates with Harvard Medical School, Harvard Ash Center and Arizona State University, along with three universities in each region of Vietnam to restore the health personnel, STEM curriculums and any ongoing or subsequent demands that the higher educational system faces. Through these plans, Vietnam has seen quality advances in educational performance, literacy and opportunities for educational growth.

The country has also seen an immense request for more vocational and job training options. ICEF Monitor reports that in order for Vietnam to see economic growth, it needs to boost its employment ability rates by at least 50 percent. Industrial employment opportunities are growing in Vietnam as the country continues to build its technical job options in infrastructure. The Asian Development Bank is acknowledging Vietnam’s struggles in job training and is providing reform projects and contributing building resources.

In May 2017, the World Bank approved $155 million in financing to bolster research, teaching and the institutional quantity of three sovereign collegiate academies. The funding will help to improve Vietnam’s higher learning institutes. According to the World Bank’s website, the plan will have a positive impact on over 150,000 students and 3,900 faculty representatives.

The schools receiving the funding are Vietnam’s National University of Agriculture, the University of Science & Technology and the Industry University of Ho Chi Minh City. Aside from these three prominent institutions, around 600,000 students and 27,000 administrators and professors from other colleges will have the chance to expand their learning assets by being granted access to digital learning environments and libraries through the National Economics University.

Higher education in Vietnam is on the right track to continue providing opportunities and job training for its citizens that wish to create a better country through optimistic and thriving learning environments. Vietnam still has a long road ahead of it to provide higher educational access to everyone, but the current programs and resources provided to college students show a positive change for Vietnam’s future college scholars.

– Rebecca Lee

Photo: Flickr

social responsibility marketingConsumers in 2018 have no problem accessing information. In a time where finding a company’s track record is a mouse-click away, reputation is key. A scandal gone viral can be the only thing needed to affect an otherwise strong company.

In 2017, United Airlines experienced this firsthand. A video showing officials dragging a passenger off a flight lead to uproar across the world. Many wanted a complete boycott of the airline, a frequent result of company scandals.

Most companies are not handling a major PR crisis like United’s. But that does not mean that positive brand image is any less critical to success. Millennial consumers have steadily-increasing purchasing power in the global economy, providing a unique challenge. To appeal to millennial consumers, companies must recognize value differences from previous generations.

Prioritizing social responsibility marketing (SRM) is one of these differences. This strategy focuses on customers wanting to make a difference through their purchases. Social responsibility marketing takes many forms. Sustainable packaging, volunteer-focused ad campaigns and product donations are all possible SRM strategies.

A majority of millennial consumers look for social responsibility marketing when purchasing. This age demographic expects companies to be upfront with social responsibility, spending more on ethical, helpful products. But the shift toward social responsibility is more than an opportunity for a company. For the millions that struggle with food and water insecurity globally, SRM is good news.

Here are the top four ways that social responsibility marketing helps fight poverty.

  1. By Providing Food
    With consumers pushing for social responsibility, ground campaigns are a frequent response. The intention of these programs is to provide aid, such as food and water, directly to those in need. Notable companies have launched major campaigns that do exactly that.
    Kraft Heinz Company set a goal to provide one billion meals by the year 2021. By doing so, Kraft Heinz Company has shown a company priority for social responsibility. Given the impact on global poverty of so many donated meals, the situation is a true win-win.
  1. By Empowering Women
    A branding focus toward social responsibility marketing can provide unique benefits to women. Consumers have pushed companies toward sourcing their products in a socially-responsible way. With increased attention on sourcing, programs to hire women and offer products made by women in developing nations have emerged.
    Coca-Cola launched an initiative to hire five million women by 2020. In the age of social responsibility marketing, this is hardly out of the ordinary for a company to do.
  1. By Helping at the Corporate Level
    Besides helping those in need, SRM helps companies be successful. A company that is socially-responsible can use social responsibility to connect with consumers. By helping improve global conditions, a company creates positive brand associations. These positive brand associations are critical to customer loyalty. With people placing high importance on social responsibility, that loyalty is essential.
  1. By Preserving the Environment
    Changing consumer preferences push companies toward behaviors that help the environment. In practice of implementing an SRM strategy, making products has changed. Processes have become better for the environment and produce fewer pollutants.
    Beyond socially-conscious production materials, basic operations have become better for the environment too. A focus on minimizing waste and maximizing resources has emerged. Recycling and conservation have become standards, not perks. For the environment, this push is long overdue.

On the whole, social responsibility marketing has changed the way companies do business. Consumers continue to demand better practices from companies, and companies are listening.

– Robert Stephen

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Education in PakistanEducation in Pakistan is provided by the Constitution of Pakistan, which agrees to provide free education to students between the ages of five and 16. In 2010, the eighteenth amendment to the nation’s Constitution stated that education was a fundamental human right guaranteed to every citizen.

Recently, there has been a decline in the quality of education in Pakistan for the following reasons:

  1. Lack of Proper Planning
    Pakistan is currently behind on its goals with the Millennium Development Project and Education For All. Both focus on improving education and breaking down the barriers that make access to education easier. For the past ten years, Pakistan has struggled with financial management and has not been successful meeting those goals.
  1. Social Constraints
    The problem is not centralized to the government alone. Social and cultural norms have gradually made education less of a priority, thus leading to the decline.
  1. Gender Gap
    In Pakistan, the enrollment of girls in school is 45 percent lower than the enrollment of boys. Pakistan’s society values conservatism, including a girl’s modesty, which limits a family’s willingness to send their daughter to school.

The delivery of education in Pakistan has been hindered by economic, political and security obstacles for the last 10 years, leading to an eventual decline in quality education. To combat this, organizations must use a top-down approach to be successful.

Luckily, the following two organizations are and have been working to alleviate this problem.

United We Reach

United We Reach (UWR) is a nonprofit organization that works to expand educational opportunities for children in socioeconomically stressed areas. In Pakistan specifically, it uses advanced technologies to create and distribute fully scripted lesson plans to students.

It is currently working on a project that integrates local Pakistani experiences with world-class education via tablets. In this project, every teacher at a UWR school is given a tablet that includes an inbuilt Learning Enhancement, Analysis and Feedback (LEAF) system, which acts as a teaching assistant. These tablets assess the student’s progress and send individual reports to the teacher so they know exactly which students are struggling and in what areas.

Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Global Partnership for Education is the only global organization that is entirely dedicated to improving education in developing countries. It works to align policy-making and future planning to strengthen education systems. GPE has been working in Pakistan alongside UNICEF and USAID for the last six years.

Since it was launched in 2012, national spending on education in Pakistan has increased from 2.14 percent of GDP to 2.6 percent. This has created more jobs as more schools begin to open. While education is its primary focus, it also focuses on using education to improve the following areas:

  • Personal experiences of children with disabilities
  • Countries affected by fragility and conflict
  • Development effectiveness in international communities
  • Early childhood care
  • Girls’ education and gender equality
  • Knowledge and good practice exchange
  • Out-of-school children

While external forces will continue to affect education, its quality and its delivery, organizations like these will continue to balance out the process by working toward improved education systems in Pakistan.

– Chylene Babb

Photo: Flickr

success of ChinaOver the years, the great success of China in lifting people out of extreme poverty has come from a variety of factors, including developing-country wages amid well-developed infrastructure, innovation in consumer electronics, building poor people’s earnings and more.

In the 1980s, China launched major efforts to build dams, irrigation projects and highways. By the early 2000s, China had a combination of low, developing-country wages and good, almost-rich-country infrastructure, according to Arthur Kroeber, founding partner at Gavekal Dragonomics, a China-focused research consultancy founder.

The combination of low-wage workers with a basic education drew foreign investment in factories and created millions of jobs. China’s per capita GDP went from less than $200 to more than $8,000.

Chinese manufacturing exports shifted significantly from agriculture and soft goods like textiles and clothing to higher-value items like consumer electronics and appliances. When the barriers came down for markets, China’s global exports boomed, helping the country rise out of poverty.

The success of China lifting 730 million people out of extreme poverty is due to impressive growth and policies that favored improvements in incomes and livelihoods for the poorest.

The Chinese government has made important strides in a number of areas identified by researchers as essential to building poor people’s earnings. This includes early childhood development and nutrition, universal health coverage, universal access to quality education, cash transfers to poor families, rural infrastructure-especially roads and electrification-and progressive taxation.

According to the World Bank, the key challenges ahead include further improving access to better jobs through further reforms in the household registration system, strengthening poverty data, the targeting of poverty programs to the remaining poor who may be harder to reach, such as the elderly and ethnic minorities, and improving the targeting and depth of China’s main social safety net, dibao.

The country continues to address the issue of poverty and is rolling out a three-year plan to tackle poverty in the rural western province of Xinjiang. Officials aim to lift 400,000 people out of poverty, according to China’s state news agency. There is hope that even more people will be lifted out of poverty in the future and that there will continue to be stories about the success of China.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr