5 Easy Solutions to Global PovertyWith 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
Photo: Flickr

Solving the Global Food Crisis as President
A new online game entitled “President for a Day” allows people to tackle the heavy topic of the global food crisis and come up with their own solution. The game addresses four key issues: climate change, biofuels, agricultural development, and foreign aid. President for a Day was launched on February 19th by an anti-poverty organization called ActionAid USA. The mission of ActionAid USA is to eradicate global poverty by working with impoverished and marginalized people and “bringing their perspectives to bear on U.S. policies that affect global countries.”

The game is very simple. Four questions are asked and can be answered by picking one of multiple options. Each question addresses one of the four key issues. Each person, playing the role of president, must decide the action he or she would take in a situation where they are shaping the direction of policy. Should local farmers affected by climate change be supported through private investment or public funding? Should the current mandate dealing with corn ethanol subsidies be kept?

After answering the four questions, which offer further information on the subjects if desired, the results of the game are offered. This is the most impressive part of the whole game as the interplay between the key issues can be seen; each answer for one issue affects all of the other issues as well.

The opening page of the game states, in bold red font, that “your decisions will make the headlines” and this is precisely what happens. Results come in the form of the front page of a newspaper four years from the time of the game showing how each person, as president, has influenced or affected global poverty. This shows how U.S. policies affect people globally, highlighting the importance of taking in the needs of everyone and seeing the affects of one nation’s actions on the entire international community before making decisions and passing laws.

U.S. policy does not just affect the United States.

A single decision made by the United States – to scrap the corn ethanol mandate or to allow private investments to support farmers affected by climate control, for example – can be seriously detrimental to the future of many countries outside of the United States.

Be president for a day and see what you would do to combat the global food crisis at

– Angela Hooks

Sources: President for a Day, ActionAid USA, MNN
Photo: President for a Day