Eradicating Extreme PovertyLink: https://unsplash.com/photos/JQwzKcHLHoc
Insightful research by the World Bank reveals that 9.2% of the world survives on less than $1.90 per day and struggles with extreme poverty. Moreover, 85% of the global population lives in poverty, earning less than $30 daily. And as the cost of living increases, more people plunge into extreme poverty.
In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic alone increased the number of children struggling with poverty by 1.2 billion. While it sounds dark and gloomy, we're officially less than ten years away from hitting United Nations' Sustainable Develop Goal- "No Poverty, Zero Hunger."
While these goals aren't easy to achieve, they're also not impossible. Meeting the U.N.'s aims would mean the eradication of poverty. If you believe, as we do, that together we can combat poverty, the real question is: how?
There's no one solution to removing poverty, but that doesn't mean you should give up. In this blog post, we'll discuss the top ten actionable solutions to poverty and how other organizations and we are playing their part in helping eradicate poverty:
Distribution of Poverty in the World
In-depth research shows that the annual inflation rate in May 2022 rose to 8.6%, the highest since the 1980s. With inflation at an all-time high, it's no surprise that inequality and poverty are spiking.
Unfortunately, the dip and surge pattern of inflation isn't reserved for the U.S.; it's a global issue. Today, over 689 million people struggle to meet basic personal needs, including food, clothing, and shelter. Here's a closer look at the world's distribution of poverty:
A Look at Global Poverty Trends
An estimated one-fifth of the global population lives below the $3.20 poverty line, and two-fifths survive on less than $5.50 per day
The number of people struggling with extreme poverty rose by 50 million between 2019 and 2020. While the number fell in 2021, poverty is still prevalent worldwide
A Quick Glance at Regional and National Poverty Trends
India and China have experienced national reductions in poverty by lifting 273 million and 800 million people out of extreme poverty, respectively
Over 60 million U.S. citizens live in rural areas, and approximately 2,000,000 do not have access to safe, hygienic drinking water and sanitation.
Unfortunately for sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people suffering from extreme poverty increased between 2010 and 2020. Furthermore, U.N.'S Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report revealed that the number of "poor" people spiked at the $3.20 and $5.50 lines
Poverty Rate by Country
World Bank's in-depth study reveals that the countries with the highest poverty rates are:
|Sao Tome and Principe||66.7%|
|The Democratic Republic of the Congo||63.90%|
|Central Africa Republic||62.0%|
Impacts of Covid-19 on Poverty
The Covid-19 pandemic single-handedly caused an economic fallout and increased poverty. During these unprecedented times, tens of millions of people lost their jobs. Moreover, 20 million adults struggled to get enough to eat, 120 million renters were behind on rent, and 114 million people lost their jobs.
It gets worse. The number of children in multidimensional poverty spiked by millions during the Covid-19. Moreover, extreme poverty among children living in low – and middle-income countries soared by 15% since the pandemic. Experts believe that Covid-19's stringent lockdown measures imposed to protect people and prevent its spread caused children to plunge deeper into poverty.
Although the impact of Covid-19 is prevalent, marginalized groups such as African-Americans, Latinos, and other POC experienced additional difficulties. The disproportionate effects on People of Color highlight the long-standing inequalities that stem from structural racism. As such, Covid-19 only exacerbated the discrepancies in education, employment, housing, and health.
Another research reveals that women were less likely to receive Covid-19 relief, experienced job losses, and faced increased care and domestic work pressures. Moreover, people with disabilities were twice more likely to struggle in paying expenses. Worst of all, gender-based violence has increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Further research reveals that Covid-19 caused the world to fall behind by three to four years in reaching its goal of ending poverty and world hunger. UNICEF says that we must act now to protect additional children and adults from being deprived of basic life needs.
How Does Climate Change Influence Poverty?
Approximately 100 million people in developing countries could fall into the stranglehold of poverty by climate change in the next several years. According to the environment technical support Unit director at Mercy Corps, climate change will amplify the difference between the resource-rich countries/people and those lacking it.
As people worldwide continue to experience the stark effects of climate change, it becomes more apparent that changing weather isn't its only devastating consequence. According to Institute for Economics and Peace, over 971 million people live in high-risk areas with high exposure to catastrophic hazards, including cyclones, floods, rising sea levels, and floods.
Ban-Ki moon famously said, "Climate change does not respect who you are- rich or poor. Therefore this is what we call a global challenge which requires global solidarity." While the impacts of climate change are widespread, they don't affect every country equally. People struggling with poverty, oppression, and hunger suffer the harshest consequences and have the least ability to cope.
Research by Vice Asia reveals that the proportion of people at risk of environmental hazards is twice that in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, the top nine countries with the highest risk of climate hazards are all Asian. Thus, these countries will likely struggle to feed their families, maintain stable homes, and earn a living as the climate crisis continues.
This section discusses how climate change will affect the world and make it difficult for people to maintain decent livelihoods:
Increases Poverty, Conflict, and Hunger Issues
Amplified and frequent weather disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and earthquakes threaten people's lives, drive them out of their homes, and jeopardize food sources. Thus, it's likely that conflict, hunger, and poverty will spike.
Already studies show that world hunger started increasing in 2019. Further research reveals that one in every four people faces water shortages, which will increase by 50% by 2050.
Creates Climate Refugees
Climate change-induced events, rising sea levels, and prolonged droughts displace millions of people searching for food, water, shelter, and jobs.
Take the example of Hurricane Maria, which shook Puerto Rico to its core. The deadly hurricane occurred five years ago, and the country is still shaking off its impacts. During this catastrophic natural disaster, the poorest communities experienced the worst effects and were the furthest from recovery- most low-income families had to wait months and years to rebuild their homes.
Unfortunately, the pattern continues to play worldwide and will only worsen as climate change increases and severe weather becomes prevalent. According to research, over 9.8 million people worldwide had to leave their homes due to hurricanes, drought, and landslides.
Endangers the Livelihood and Health of People
Smallholder farmers and fishermen depend on their crops and fishing for food and income. Therefore, catastrophic weather calamities like droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes destroy their lands and boats, pushing them deeper into poverty.
Wealthy countries can provide farmers insurance, which acts as a safety net and helps them cope with poor crop yields. On the contrary, farmers in low-income countries lack these programs. As a result, recovery is longer, more challenging, and more dangerous.
Climate change also affects the health of people. Deadly heat waves and rising temperatures, even for healthy people, create severe conditions. Moreover, they threaten people in extreme poverty who cannot afford air conditioners or fans and access to adequate amounts of water.
Furthermore, increasing temperatures are the breeding ground for new pests like mosquitoes that carry life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, mosquito-borne conditions like malaria are notorious for impacting people struggling with poverty.
What are the Solutions to Extreme Poverty?
While global poverty is resuming its pre-pandemic state, up to 95 million more people will suffer in extreme poverty in 2022.
But you can find tangible solutions that can help reduce, if not eradicate, poverty. Here we discuss the top ten practical ways you can end poverty:
1. Eliminating Poverty by Creating New Jobs
One of the best solutions to poverty is creating well-paying jobs. But we must introduce 21 million netjobs to return to prerecession employment levels.
To supercharge the job growth incentive, the federal government must invest in practical job-creation strategies, including:
- Rebuilding infrastructures
- Developing renewable energy sources
- Refurbishing abandoned housing
- Revitalizing neighborhoods
- Boosting the national economy
- Building proven models of subsidized employment to enable long-term unemployed and marginalized people to re-enter the workforce
- Investing in other common-sense areas that help create jobs
2. Eradicating Poverty by Raising the Minimum Wage
Here's the thing: the increasing cost of living also heightens the poverty rate in a country. During the late 1960s, full-timer workers earning a minimum wage could provide relief to a family of three.
If the minimum wage during the 1960s were indexed to inflation, it would become $10.86 per hour, unlike the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/h. Therefore, increasing the minimum wage to $15 can help millions of U.S. citizens climb out of poverty. Moreover, hundreds of children would see their parents get a raise.
3. Reducing Poverty by Educating People
UNESCO reveals that over 171 million people in low-income communities could escape poverty by acquiring essential reading and writing skills. In fact, poverty could go down by more than half of all adults who finished secondary education.
Education, particularly for women, can help them develop skills and abilities, decrease risks, correct the discrepancies caused by marginalization, and reduce poverty in developing and developed countries.
An excellent way of ensuring everyone can access education is breaking down the barrier: creating schools in remote areas, providing support to teachers to aid them in delivering quality education, and ensuring education are available to all.
4. Decreasing Poverty by Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit
Another excellent way of eradicating poverty is tapping into our nation's Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2012, EITC helped lift 6.5 million people out of poverty, including 3.3 million children. Not only does it alleviate combat poverty, but it's also an investment that aids in paying long-term dividends.
Thus, children who gain EITC can improve school performance, are more likely to graduate high school, and have higher opportunities for better earnings. However, childless workers tend to miss out on the benefit, mainly because their maximum EITC is less than 1/10th of those with two children.
So, boosting the EITC or combining it with increasing the minimum wage is an excellent and efficient way of reducing poverty.
5. Lessening Poverty by Gender Equality
The U.N. Development Programme stated that providing women equal access to education and allowing them to participate in business and economic decision-making is critical to combating poverty.
Not just this, eradicating gender biases and unnecessary stereotypes that hinder girls and women from receiving education and making careers translates into better prospects and well-being. Thus, it helps reduce poverty for future generations as well.
6. Eliminating Poverty by Ending Hunger and Thirst
Simply getting three meals a day and enjoying healthy nutrients can play a viable role in eradicating poverty. Due to lack of food, people don't have enough energy to work. At the same time, contaminated water and food can lead to long-term illnesses.
Thus, the first step to helping people remove poverty plaguing rural communities is ensuring they have access to clean, hygienic water. Better, more affordable healthcare options and medical plans are equally necessary and highlight that the government needs to offer basic social protections and services to ensure the health of its citizens.
7. Halting Poverty through Peace
Eradicating all war, while a faraway dream, could mean governments can transfer budgets allocated to cover conflicts to deliver public services. In addition, it can decrease risks faced by vulnerable communities and ensure equality for all.
For instance, the poverty rate of Syria during the Syrian crisis increased by 12% in 2007 and soared to 83% by 2019. In the same way, establishing the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Cambodia lowered poverty rates by 47.8% in 2007 and 13.5% by 2014.
8. Alleviating Poverty by Providing Paid Leaves and Sick Days
The U.S. is the one (developed) country without mandatory paid family leaves and sick days. It makes it difficult for most American families to establish a healthy work-life balance, thus reducing job and life satisfaction.
Paid and sick day leaves are critical to creating an effective anti-poverty policy, mainly because having a child causes substantial economic hardship. Furthermore, 32 million people in the U.S. don't have access to paid sick days, and four out of every five workers cannot access paid family leaves.
That puts employees in an impossible position to forgo needed income (sometimes their job) to care for a sick child. Implementing the Family Act would provide paid leave protection to employees who need time off to maintain their health or look after an ill family member. The Healthy Families Act would enable them to earn seven job-protected sick days yearly.
9. Combating Poverty by Making Work Schedules that Work
Most low-wage and hourly jobs come with uncalled-for and volatile work schedules, which translate to an erratic work-life balance. Moreover, ever-changing and unpredictable work schedules make it challenging for employees to access child care and calculate their monthly income.
Furthermore, scheduling a mere doctor's appointment, making it on time during a parent-teacher conference, and supporting your child on the day they're performing can become arduous tasks. Luckily, the Schedules That Work Act gives workers a voice by requiring two weeks' advance notice of their schedules. As a result, employees can request schedule changes and gain guaranteed pay for shortened or canceled shifts.
10. Eradicating Poverty by Creating Transparency in the Government's Spending
Ensuring transparency in government spending is an effective way of reducing corruption and improving accountability. Holding the government liable for its actions, or lack thereof, allows citizens to assess the efficiency of the leader.
Furthermore, it enables citizens to see whether money from their poverty-reduction plan is valuable or making its way into the pockets of their leaders.
Efforts Made to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
According to research, 78% of non-fragile states are set to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Number One: Ending Extreme Poverty. But how exactly is the world trying to meet this goal?
Here are several examples of how people worldwide are making efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger plaguing world:
Food and Agriculture Organization
Despite decades of efforts, world hunger rates remain unacceptably high. Although the world has more than enough food to suffice the need of the global population, over 829 million people still struggle with hunger crises.
Today, over 10% of the world suffers from chronic hunger. To combat this global issue, FAO is shifting its focus on encouraging better nutritional practices, improving agricultural productivity, boosting incomes, and promoting healthy programs that ensure immediate access to nutritious food for the needy.
Furthermore, FAO helps developing countries improve their economy and eradicate hunger by promoting the best agriculture, forestry, and fishery practices. That way, people can learn to manage their fisheries, forests, and natural resources sustainably.
With over 194 members, the FAO works in 130 countries to eliminate chronic hunger by introducing strategic plans. These include the Zero Hunger Challenge, frameworks to enhance the focus of policies for food security, coordinating with global platforms to rid malnutrition and chronic hunger, etc. In addition, the FAO implemented regional initiatives to strengthen programs, mechanisms, and capacity to end hunger in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by 2030.
The World Bank
Eradicating poverty at all levels requires the following: a stable economy that creates new jobs and offers good minimum wages; a government that takes care of its citizens by providing access to schools, energy, and hospitals; and healthy, well-nourished people who will drive economic growth.
Between 2003 and 2013, the World Bank helped over 211 million pregnant women, adolescent girls, nursing mothers, and children under five receive essential nutrition services. Moreover, the W.B. stepped up during the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver vaccines to over 400,000 people in 10 islands.
In addition, the World Bank implemented a hybrid operation to enhance Tonga's resilience after a "once-in-a-while" type natural disaster, helped Yemen access affordable solar energy, and supported mothers and children in Bangladesh.
With over 189 member countries and offices in 130 different locations, the World Bank is at the forefront of solving the hunger and poverty crises. The financial institution currently has two primary goals: eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring shared prosperity, and is doing everything to achieve them.
1 Billion Acts
Eradicating global hunger and poverty is no easy feat, so we're playing our role in changing the world one step at a time. 1 Billion Acts is a worldwide movement comprising Nobel Peace Prize Winners and ambitious youth sharing the same goal: taking action to fight poverty, hunger, and other global issues.
With people from over 171 countries, 1 Billion Acts helps dedicated people launch campaigns to bring their community together. In 2014, on PeaceJam's 10th Anniversary, over 3000 PeaceJam Youth and 10 Nobel Peace Laureates got together to make a global change.
Launched with the help of Google, the program helped youths worldwide learn valuable skills that allowed them to introduce change in their worlds.
The Bottom Line
The influence of climate change on poverty and possible solutions to extreme poverty illustrate that the road to eradication is rocky. But it also showcases that there is indeed a viable path to combat global poverty and create a safer, much happier world where everyone can prosper.
Remember, the smallest step can trigger a ripple effect of change worldwide. Ready to start making a difference? Then join Billion Acts, increase your impact, amplify your voice, and meet your goals- one act of peace at a time!