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How to Stop Poverty
Even in the 21st century, nearly half of the world’s population, or three billion people, lives on $2.50 a day, and 80 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. Focusing on how to stop poverty is very important, both in the ways that an individual can have an impact and on the wider changes that need to be made to bring an end to poverty.

How to Stop Poverty

  1. Create Awareness
    Social media has become an integral part of daily life, and now is the time to use it as a voice of social good. Sharing links on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will allow people to learn more about global poverty and will increase the general consciousness of the issue.
  2. Take Action on Your Own
    There are a few simple ways we can help as individuals, such as funding a poor child’s education or by sponsoring a poor family and influencing others to do so. Raising money and donating it to a nonprofit can help as well.
  3. Donate
    Donations can help in so many ways. They do not always have to take the form of money. This can include donating books to a poor child or buying groceries for a poor family for a week to help fight hunger. Donating old clothes, furniture and toiletries can also help improve the well-being of the poor.
  4. Eliminate Gender Inequality
    With two-thirds of the world’s illiterate being female, the ratio of boys and girls should be made equal in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Girls that attend school are less likely to get married before age 18, thus decreasing child marriage rates by 64 percent worldwide. Similarly, literate women are less likely to spread diseases like HIV/AIDS due to a better knowledge of disease transmission, which helps to accelerate poverty reduction in the long run.
  5. Create Jobs Worldwide
    According to the International Labour Organization, 197 million people are without work worldwide. More employment options in a country mean more ways of how to stop poverty. To increase employment, non-literate people can be taught a few skills to make them employable.
  6. Increase Access to Proper Sanitation and Clean Water
    Access to clean water and sanitation directly affects health and education. Currently, 800 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation. Dirty bathrooms keep girls from attending schools, thus stopping them from receiving an education. Lack of clean water spreads diseases like diarrhea and cholera, which take the lives of more than one million children each year.
  7. Educate Everyone
    Education helps increase individual earnings for every member of a family. UNESCO points out that basic reading skills can lift 171 million people out of extreme poverty, ultimately reducing the world’s total poverty by 12 percent. UNESCO also mentions there are currently about one billion illiterate adults in the world.

Above are a few solutions about how to stop poverty, but first, it is important to understand the roots of the problems that cause poverty. Since different countries have different reasons for poverty, there will never be a single solution for all. However, these seven actions can do a lot to alleviate poverty anywhere.

– Shweta Roy

Photo: Flickr

most innovative countries in AfricaInnovation seems impossible to quantify, but the business world has found a way to rank countries based on various forms of data considered to indicate innovation. Innovation indexes can vary, but the 2017 Cornell University Global Innovation Index takes a unique approach to calculating innovation, based on 81 indicators with a focus on human welfare, technological or creative outputs, infrastructure and business sophistication.

10 Most Innovative Countries in Africa

  1. Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso has focused its innovation on agriculture, with farmers learning how to organize themselves and share new farming practices. The country’s farming innovation has been channeled into poverty reduction.
  2. Malawi
    Malawi has had some interesting innovators, such as William Kankwamba, who created a windmill for power out of locally collected supplies. Malawi’s government still accepts help from varying organizations, including UNICEF, to improve innovations in mobile phone technology and medical care.
  3. Mozambique
    Mozambique has struggled with giving all its citizens access to clean water, as well as with HIV infection and infant mortality rates. However, these struggles have caused the country to look to business opportunities for solutions, leading to innovations in sectors such as tourism, health, education, and natural resources.
  4. Rwanda
    A country known for its civil war and genocide in the past has become one of the most improved countries in innovation index rankings. Rwanda is becoming a central point for information technology and has launched a 4G LTE network, helping to facilitate job growth and economic improvement.
  5. Kenya
    It is no wonder Kenya made the list, as it is becoming well known for its information technology development, thus acquiring the nickname “Africa’s Silicon Valley”. Also prominent are some of its innovators’ more interesting inventions, such as putting a charger in your shoes to charge your phone on the run or connecting an alarm to a TV to deter burglars.
  6. Botswana
    With one of the continent’s most stable governments and economies, and its support of startups, research and even global corporations, it is no surprise that Botswana makes the list of the 10 most innovative countries in Africa. This support and encouragement of growth has created an atmosphere for technology innovation to grow.
  7. Senegal
    Senegal has been known for its business practices and innovation in agriculture, paper and research. However, its growth has not been as substantial as some would have liked, leading to Plan Sénégal Emergent, a plan put in place by the government to bring the country to the forefront of West African economies by 2035 and putting it in the world’s sights.
  8. Seychelles
    Seychelles is one of the newer countries on the list of the 10 most innovative countries in Africa, appearing for the first time in 2014. This is significant because it is the third sub-Saharan African country to rank in the upper half of the Global Innovation Index.
  9. South Africa
    Of these countries on this list, South Africa makes the news the most in regards to its innovative capacity. The main limiting factor for the country has been its inability to maintain and grow innovative thinkers, many of whom are lost to emigration to the U.S. and the U.K. If this trend can be reversed, the country would see a strong change in the tide as it moves up the innovation list.
  10. Mauritius
    Mauritius tops the list of the 10 most innovative countries in Africa and has been in the top half of the index since 2011. It has the advantages of being a tourist destination and maintaining stability. The government has also put a focus on innovation by investing in research into job and wealth creation.

These countries utilize their stability and market-oriented economy to foster innovation. Many find that democratic countries have a higher likelihood of increasing and maintaining their innovation. While Africa still has work to do in comparison to other regions, it is making headway and moving forward.

– Natasha Komen

Photo: Flickr

Young African Leaders InitiativePresident Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 in an effort to invest in the next generation of African change-makers. Through regional training centers, student exchange programs and follow-up resources, YALI empowers young African leaders to “spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Despite its short tenure, YALI is already establishing itself as a force for good. Here are three success stories from the Young African Leaders Initiative: 

Food For All Africa

Elijah Amoo Addo, a former chef at a restaurant in Accra, Ghana, used the leadership and business skills he learned from YALI to help launch Food For All Africa (FFAA), the first community food bank in Ghana. In 2011, Elijah noticed a homeless man rummaging through a dumpster for leftovers to feed his friends on the street. Moved by the encounter, Elijah began eliminating waste at his restaurant, saving the surplus food to feed the needier members of his community.

Three years later, Elijah applied to YALI’s s West Africa Regional Leadership Center to amplify his vision of feeding the hungry. Today, FFAA saves and redistributes up to $5,700 worth of food each month. Elijah, who hopes to expand services to other African regions within the next five years, is one of the true success stories from the Young African Leaders Initiative. 

Lead Oak Foundation

While working at the primary health center of Benin City, Nigeria, primary care doctor Ajimegor Ikuenobe was disturbed by the scale of the malnutrition problem among the children in the community. After researching solutions to the crisis, Dr. Ikuenobe discovered a formula of maize, soya bean and groundnut that was high in the essential nutrients developing children need. Dr. Ikuenobe started Lead Oak Foundation to distribute the formula to vulnerable communities and to provide clothing, health consultations and cooking demonstrations to mothers and caregivers.

In 2017, Dr. Ikuenobe was selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI’s flagship program. The fellowship empowers leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities. The Fellows are selected between the ages of 25 and 35, and “have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.”

YALI Network

In addition to the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the regional training centers, another success story from the Young African Leaders Initiative comes in the form of the YALI Network, an online platform where members can connect with other leaders in their community and learn from experts in their field. The YALI Network also offers a range of training, blogs and other toolkits to help amplify impacts.

Whether its members are hoping to solve specific problems like Elijah and Ikuenobe, promote human rights, start a small business or simply improve their public speaking skills, YALI is empowering the next generation of African change-makers.

– Whiting Tennis

Photo: Flickr

Technological Solutions to Poverty
Technology is everywhere. Electronic dispensers squirt a predetermined amount of soap on our hands. Cell phones connect us to people across the world. Dishwashers wash our plates, planes transport us across the globe and video games entertain us. But technology has more uses than just entertainment or convenience. Modern technology can radically change the lives of the world’s poor by empowering and equipping them. Modern technology is one of the most effective solutions to poverty.

 

Innovative Aid: 10 Technological Solutions to Poverty

 

1. Mobile banking

Mobile banking offers the poor access to banking without transaction costs and without the need for a traditional, physical bank. A Brookings Institute Policy brief reported that access to banking helps the poor protect their assets and invest wisely. It allows them to save money without fear of theft.

Brookings reported that, “One study from the Philippines found that access to formal savings increased women’s economic empowerment by raising their influence over household consumption choices, children’s education and use of family planning.”

Furthermore, mobile banking makes direct cash transfer programs for aid organizations easier and more efficient.

2. Mobile health care

Cell phones offer access to medical information otherwise inaccessible to impoverished people. A recent Ghanaian project, for instance, targets pregnant women who lack access to information on how to promote healthy fetal development, reports the Research Council of Norway. Mothers receive weekly, automated messages designed to help counterbalance superstition and pregnancy-related myths.

“All they need to receive these messages is an inexpensive mobile phone,” says Jacqueline Møller Larsen of the Grameen Foundation in Ghana. “The health information they receive in this way can make a real difference in the health of both mother and baby.”

3. Access to clean water

Globally, more than 748 million people do not have access to clean water and more than 2.5 billion people have inadequate access to sanitation. More than 1,400 children die every day of diarrhea caused by unsafe water and improper sanitation. WaterAid, an organization dedicated to providing access to safe water and sanitation, writes that access to safe water would not only slow such diseases, but would also return an average of $4 of increased productivity per dollar invested.

Such advances are not out of reach and modern technology can create achievable goals for water and sanitation. Practical Action, for example, partnered with Kenyans from the dry, arid Turkana region to develop a solution to the area’s drought problems.

“We developed a solar-powered water pump that uses locally-sourced equipment to pump 30,000 clean litres of clean, safe water to the village every day,” the organization reported.

4. Improve farming techniques

Most of the 1.4 billion people who live on less than $1.25 per day rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, according to the United Nations. Technological advances in agriculture, from better plowing techniques to rice adapted from saltier water, can reduce hunger for millions.

“If we could get and invent new seeds, new mobile technology and open new data centers to help farmers connect their crop prices and understand weather variability we can do something transformational against hunger,” USAID administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah told TIME. “And not just reach a small percentage of the people that are hungry with food.”

5. Increase access to education

Many children, especially disadvantaged girls, in rural areas have limited access to education. And many of the schools that rural children can attend struggle with poor-quality teachers and limited resources. But new technology like solar-powered computers and projectors allow students to participate in real-time, interactive lessons with quality teachers. Ghana recently started its first interactive, distance learning project, Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed,) with the support of the British Department for International Development in Ghana, reported Ghana Web. This program uses new technology to provide access to education impossible before now.

6. Better waste management

The ever-increasing urbanization in many cities of developing countries, such as Nairobi, Kenya, has overburdened solid waste management facilities and created littering problems. From recycling plastics to managing human waste, technology has the potential to transform the life of the urban poor.

7. Empowering through information

By 2015, it’s possible that everyone in the world will have access to a cell phone. The United Nation reports that more people in the world have access to cellphones than justice or legal services. Currently, more than 5.4 billion people have mobile phone subscriptions. Since mobile phones require only basic literacy, phones offer almost everyone in the entire world access to information and the opportunity to make their voices heard.

8. Improved transportation

Especially for the poor living in villages miles away from large towns, trips to town for water and food can take hours. Often, in medical emergencies, they cannot make it to hospitals in time. Many villagers that have bicycles cannot use them to transport the ill. Practical Action works with villagers to build bicycle trailers to transport up to 200 kilograms of water, food or passengers.

“…Whether its bringing clean water, removing waste or sludge, the bicycle still has the power to transform poor communities,” wrote Matt Wenham of Practical action.

The simple creation of a bike trailer has the potential to save thousands of lives.

9. Disaster relief and management

Natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes affect the rural poor most, as they often have no idea anything is happening. Using mobile phones to alert them of impending disaster can give them enough time to flee to safety. Bangladesh, one of the most at risk countries in the world for natural disasters, has implemented a mobile alert system in an attempt to save lives.

“This new initiative will mean that people will get an alert on their phones warning them that they are likely to face flooding or a cyclone,” Syed Ashraf, communications specialist for the country’s Disaster Management Bureau, told Reuters. “So they will then be able to take action like evacuate their homes and seek shelter in assigned places.”

10. Sustainable energy

Access to energy enables people to work their way out of poverty, access education and improve their own health. New technologies, such as solar and hydro power, can provide access to energy without building expensive power plants. Even simple technological advances, like fire-less cookers that rely on stored heat, can save the poor money and time.

“Just providing a few hours of solar lighting alone improves the human condition,” Justin Guay, associate director of Sierra Club’s International Climate Program, told Take Part.

Further investment in technological solutions by both private donors and the federal government could radically change the lives of the global poor.

– Sally Nelson

Sources: Brookings, Ghana Web, Practical Action, Reuters, Take Part, Science Nordic, TIME, Water Aid, IFAD, United Nations Development Programme
Photo: Businessweek