The World Is Changing Its Mindset Toward PovertyThe world is changing its mindset toward poverty and realizing that poverty is not a permanent problem. Generating solutions to make poverty preventable, including providing technological tools for success, growing a population’s knowledge with education and creating innovative methods for environmental sustainability create and maintain productive and growing countries.

The technological revolution, education for sustainable development and green growth are three methods the world uses to reduce poverty and build global development and ensure efficiency.

  1. The Technological Revolution
    The goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 is possible with improved technology that speeds progress and collects improved data. The World Bank currently uses technology to increase data collectors’ abilities to track poverty reduction progress and citizens’ well-being. The Pulse of South Sudan initiative uses tablet-based data collection to survey households and record personalized testimonials, and the Listening to Africa (L2A) initiative uses mobile phones to collect up-to-date information on living conditions with face-to-face surveys and followup mobile phone interviews. Technology such as cellphones and tablets streamline the process and is cost-efficient when reaching out to a broad sample or responding to crises.
  2. Education for Sustainable Development
    Education is crucial for global growth and progress, and it has spurred a knowledge-based movement for poverty reduction. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, education must “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all,” including the world’s poor. According to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report released this past June, 264.3 million children are out of school. About 62 million are adolescents of lower secondary school age (12 to 14). About 141 million are of upper secondary school age (15 to 17). The out-of-school rate has not decreased since 2008 at the primary level, since 2012 at the lower secondary level or since 2013 at the upper secondary level. While out-of-school rates have frozen, the world is changing its mindset toward poverty by acknowledging that education is a tool to end extreme poverty. By creating knowledge-based societies and using education as a tool, countries improve not only individual livelihoods and futures but their own economic mobility.
  3. Green Growth
    Creating sustainable, green growth not only creates economic development but addresses poverty and creates shared prosperity.Since the poor live in areas with few resources, such challenges can undermine a country’s ability to sustain economic growth and eradicate poverty. Policies that not only prioritize natural resources and environmental sustainability but also address poverty are crucial to economic development. According to Inhee Chung, senior sustainability and safeguards specialist at the Global Growth Institute, “Green growth can only lead to transformative and sustainable change if it is pro-poor and delivers benefits to the most marginalized and vulnerable social groups.”

The world is changing its mindset toward poverty by working to enhance policies that support the poor and create sustainable growth, as well as empower poor men and women and make green options accessible.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Pixabay

10 Ways to Reduce Poverty in the World
The Millennium Development Goal to cut the poverty rate in half by 2015 was met in 2010 – five years ahead of schedule. While progress has been made, global growth estimates show more work is needed to reach the target of ending global poverty by 2030. Discussed below are the top 10 ways to reduce poverty in the world.

Effective 10 Ways to Reduce Poverty in the World

  1. Develop and implement rapid and sustained economic growth policies and programs, in areas such as health, education, nutrition and sanitation, allowing the poor to participate and contribute to the growth. Studies show that a 10 percent increase in a country’s average income reduces poverty by as much as 20-30 percent.
  2. Improve management of water and other natural resources. Most of the rural poor depend on agriculture or other natural resources for their livelihood. Consequently, it is necessary that they have more equitable access to those resources so they are better able to manage their resources.
  3. Invest in and implement agricultural programs. China has helped 800 million people out of poverty since 1978. As a part of its strategy to eradicate poverty by 2020, the Agricultural Bank of China will lend more than $400 billion to help develop rural areas, fund education, infrastructure, and crop production.
  4. Encourage countries to engage in trade as a path out of poverty. Trade is the key to growth and prosperity. Some of the world’s poorest countries including Indonesia, Botswana and Brazil have traded their way out of poverty.
  5. Create and improve access to jobs and income and develop entrepreneurial talent.
  6. Providing all people with access to basic social services including education, health care, adequate food, sanitation, shelter and clean water.
  7. Progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves.
  8. Empower people living in poverty by involving them in the development and implementation of plans and programs to reduce and eradicate poverty. Their involvement ensures that programs reflect those things that are important to them.
  9. Remove barriers to equal access to resources and services.
  10. Provide access to technology and innovation including internet access and affordable energy. In Bangladesh, only 40 percent of the rural poor have access to grid electricity. Those that do have access endure frequent power outages. The Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project plans to increase access to electricity in rural areas via renewable energy sources.

This list highlights only 10 ways to reduce poverty in the world. It is imperative that people and governments work together to implement these ideas and others so that it is possible to end poverty by 2030.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr

Worst slums in the world
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a slum is “a densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, poverty and social disorganization.” The worst slums in the world have combinations of inadequate shelter, limited access to healthcare, sanitation, clean water and education.

Facts About the 10 Worst Slums in the World

  1. Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya (700,000 people)
    Kenya has many of the 10 worst slums in the world. Kibera is about five kilometers from the center of Nairobi and has been called Africa’s largest slum. Nearly half the population is without work, there is no garbage collection, and there is limited access to clean water.
  2. Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya (200,000 people)
    Mathare is one of Nairobi’s oldest slums, with residents dating back to the 1920s. This area lacks necessities such as electricity, roads, clean water and sanitation.
  3. Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya (650,000 people)
    Kawangware is 15 kilometers west of the center of Nairobi. Poverty is a serious issue, with most living on less than $1 each day. Most families can’t afford more than one meal a day so malnutrition is rampant. Disease, lack of clean water and lack of funds to afford education are also major problems.
  4. Kangemi, Nairobi, Kenya (100,000 people)
    Kangemi is home to some of Nairobi’s poorest. Lack of running water, high unemployment, drug addiction, alcoholism and HIV are significant issues in the area.
  5. Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa (400,000 people)
    Sanitation is a huge issue in Khayelitsha with thousands lacking access to toilets. Other issues include shack-style housing and the fact that 99 percent of the population is black due to “spatial segregation.”
  6. Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan (2.4 million people)
    Lack of housing isn’t as much of an issue as limited resources. Locals ended up building their own sewers after waiting on the government to build them. Now 96 percent of households have a toilet.
  7. Ciudad Neza, Mexico City, Mexico (1.2 million people)
    Locals have worked hard to form a sense of community and improve public services. The area is still in need of more employment, more transportation and more schools.
  8. Dharavi, Mumbai, India (1 million people)
    Dharavi is often regarded as the largest slum in Asia and is well known as the filming location for Slumdog Millionaire. Most residents have gas for cooking and electricity. Despite the area’s many struggles, it has a booming small business sector.
  9. Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (200,000 people) Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil. While most locals have electricity and running water, the larger issue is sanitation. The average monthly income is $240.
  10. Makoko, Lagos (40,000 – 300,000 people) Makoko is an area of six collective slum villages. Four of these villages are floating on water in the lagoon and two are situated on land. Issues that face this community include malnutrition, childbirth and diseases like malaria.

The 10 worst slums in the world face serious issues. One-fourth of those living in a city resides in a slum, which equates to more than 900 million people globally. With proper assistance, government reconstruction and international aid, many of the factors contributing to the creation of a slum can be extinguished.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr



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Biggest Largest Slums in the World
As the world continues to urbanize and globalize at the most rapid pace in modern history, the global population of slum dwellers also continues to grow tremendously. UNHABITAT estimates that there are currently around one billion people living in slums, largely in developing countries. In fact, nearly one-third of all city-dwellers in developing countries live in poor-quality housing settlements known as slums. Urban slums are the world’s fastest-growing human habitat. Since accurate statistics on the demographics of slum areas are nearly impossible to come by, below is a list of the largest slums in the world ordered by estimated populations.


5 Largest Slums in the World


1. Khayeltisha, Cape Town, South Africa
Khayeltisha’s population is projected to be around 400,000, with a striking 40 percent of its residents under 19 years old. This township was developed during the collapse of apartheid system in South Africa.

2. Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya
The largest urban slum in Africa, Kibera is estimated to be housing anywhere from 200,000 to one million people. It has faced attention from news outlets, NGOs, the UN and celebrities from all across the world, but still remains overwhelmingly underdeveloped despite many rehabilitation efforts.

3. Dharavi, Mumbai, India
Also famous among journalists and development organizations, Dharavi is home to somewhere between 600,000 and one million people. Unlike most slum areas, which are concentrated on the outskirts of large cities, Dharavi is located squarely in the heart of Mumbai. This has contributed to its surprising multi-religious, multi-ethnic diversity. Fun fact: Dharavi provided the backdrop to the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.

4. Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan
In recent years, Orangi has crept up in notoriety as the largest slum in Asia, compared to its long-time predecessor, Dharavi. With a population of over one million, Orangi was once the center of ethnic conflict between the Pathan and Bihari gangs. Since then, the area has become known for its self-financed sewage system and its booming cottage industry.

5. Neza-Chalco-Itza, Mexico City, Mexico
With around four million residents, Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio has been considered the largest slum area in the world. Unique to this area is its diversity in housing arrangements. While most residents live illegally on authorized land, some live in former mansions-turned low-income apartments that were abandoned by wealthy families.

– Tara Young

Sources: International Business TimesNational Geographic, The Hindustan Times
Photo: Wikimedia

study abroad
Studying abroad is at an all-time high. Not only is it the latest coveted experience for employers, but studies have shown that studying abroad can have a substantial impact on one’s mind and creativity.

The role of learning a language pays off, according to the Huffington Post. Learning languages benefits the individual personally and professionally, as it increases one’s access to people, places, markets and ideas. Language formally benefits the environment through the ability to share environmental practices. Knowledge of another language also contributes to communication in the business and economic sectors. Language also contributes to political relations among governments and is indispensable in being assimilated into a new culture.

Learning a language can help an individual achieve his or her dreams in a variety of ways. Exploring a new language allows one to cultivate a more intimate experience when traveling, increases one’s accessibility to foreign recipes, art, literature and landscapes and can give vitality to new relationships.

To the delight of many students, scholars and societies, it has been recorded that learning a language influences the brain. A recent Swedish MRI study reveals that acquisition of a language increases the size of the brain, specifically in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

Recent studies have also concluded that bilingualism improves the brain’s ability to multitask, delays the onset of Alzheimer’s and promotes creativity. Language learning assists in other intellectual areas, specifically math and music. Each language provides insight into a different society or worldview.

The benefits of studying abroad surpass the benefits of just learning a language, although language is a key aspect of the international experience. According to the Institute of International Education, or IIE, “international students in the United States and study abroad by American students are at an all-time high.” The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled over the past 15 years.

The IIE claims that international education is one of the most important components of contemporary society. “International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world. It is through these relationships that together we can solve global challenges like climate change, the spread of pandemic disease, and combating violent extremism,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We also need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds.”

Studying abroad changes neurons, and it challenges one’s worldview in a way that may have not been previously acknowledged. Opportunities such as the Fulbright Scholarship, Critical Language Scholarship, Gilman Award and numerous others are renown for their prestigious international education programs. The focus on international education is steadily growing, and for earlier this year, the IIE launched Generation Study Abroad. This campaign aims to double the number of students who study abroad by the end of the decade, while increasing diversity and accessibility to international education.

– Neti Gupta

Sources: Institution of International Education, The Chronicle, The Diane Rehm Show, The Guardian, The Huffington Post 1, The Huffington Post 2

Photo: Honors Advising Blog

what is global poverty?
What is global poverty? That thing called poverty – how exactly is it defined? What does it mean to lead an impoverished life? Poverty is much more than just statistics about economies, hunger, and homelessness. Poverty is a state of life, affecting all of humanity.

Poverty is most commonly defined by economic standards, based on income levels and access to basic human necessities, such as food, water, and shelter. Poverty is often described with a scale, ranging from extreme to moderate levels. The internationally agreed-upon measurement of extreme poverty currently lies at $1.25 a day, with the next lowest measure of poverty standing at $2 per day. The geographic breakdown of regions with the highest levels of poverty ranging from worst to best include: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Pacific East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East, and Europe and Central Asia.


Assessing the Impact: What is Global Poverty?


Poverty has many ties to physical health as well, as the world’s poorest countries consistently demonstrate the lowest life expectancies. The majority of these health problems can be traced back to unsafe drinking water and malnutrition, which causes an estimated 8 million people to die every year in addition to 30,000 children’s deaths per day.

Another problem with poverty is the acts of desperation it drives people to. When humans are deprived of basic life necessities, they are forced to take desperate measures in an effort to change their bleak future. Historically, poverty has proven to be the cause of much violence and conflict and continues to be so today. In many situations human trafficking, the use of child soldiers, and prostitution can all be linked to poverty.

In what is perhaps a testament to the subjective definition of poverty, there are mixed results in reducing poverty levels today. According to data from The Economist, nearly one billion people have been lifted out of chronic poverty over the last two decades. While this initially sounds very positive, one must also consider the huge levels of wealth disparity that have shot up in this same time period, as the poorest 20 percent of the world’s population uses a mere 1.3 percent of global resources in contrast to the richest 20% consuming an approximated 86 percent of the world’s resources.

Poverty can be a controversial subject in modern society, as individuals have different understandings of what it means to be poor and what appropriate solutions to poverty should look like. Skeptics criticize the economic definition of poverty because it fails to factor in quality of life. Rather than focusing on pure economic data, most agree that the definition of poverty must also include political and cultural factors and access to opportunities, education, and healthcare. If there’s one thing that can be agreed on, it would be that poverty is a real problem affecting millions of people around the world today, and poverty is a complex issue with multiple layers.

Allison Meade

Sources: United Nations, World Health Organization, Global Issues, World Bank, ASCD