With 1.3 billion people living under the poverty line, ending global poverty seems like an insurmountable task. However, the developed world has the resources to achieve it. It is not simply a matter of throwing money at the world’s poor, though. There are simple and concrete methods that will end global poverty:
- Empowering women in developing countries. 60 percent of the world’s poor are women; 80 percent of agriculture in Africa and 60 percent of agriculture in Asia is done by women. Yet, it is more difficult for women to get credit from banks, making them unable to afford fertilizers and better seeds which would increase their crop yields. According to UN estimates, giving women access to credit could feed up to 150 million people. Addressing hunger is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. Women also tend to reinvest more of their wealth in their own communities, further lifting their communities out of poverty.
- Providing nutritional school meals with local crops. The effect of this is twofold: children are fed in school, and they are then more inclined to stay in school, leading to more education and thereby more development in society. Parents of girls in the developing world in particular are much more likely to send their daughters to school if there are meals provided. Also, locally sourced school meals mean that farmers, communities, and local economies all benefit from the purchase of these local crops.
- Improving access to water. Much of the world’s poor consist of subsistence farmers and the only way these farmers can rise out of poverty is by selling more crops. But when one of the small farmers who make up the world’s poor needs to water their crops, it often means trekking miles to the nearest water source, grabbing what water can be carried, and heading all the way back to their plot of land. Improving water access through water pumps, storage, conservation, and irrigation systems allow farmers to produce enough to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.
- Building local grain storage facilities. This helps communities store excess food which can later be sold at better prices. This also improves a community’s resilience to natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and storms, as it enables the community to maintain productivity and nutrition despite damage or other adverse circumstances.
- Advocate for the world’s poor. Lack of leadership from the White House and Congress is the biggest obstacle to solving global poverty. The US is the first country ever to have both the ability and political influence to end poverty. All that is needed is for the US to lead the developed world in dedicating itself to tackling poverty. US congressmen need to be pressured by their constituents to increase poverty-focused aid and make ending global poverty a priority in US foreign policy. If US government officials see that their constituents care about ending global poverty, they will take the lead in addressing global poverty.
– Martin Drake
Source: The Borgen Project, Reuters