Poverty is the most significant issue that affects millions of people around the world. Poverty alleviation or reduction is one of the world’s most important challenges, and it is proposed the private sector has an important role to play in creating the economic growth, employment and purchasing options needed for significant poverty reduction. Poverty is highly correlated with many negative measurable aspects of standards of living and therefore reducing poverty can have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.
How poverty could be alleviated?
There’s no one simple process for achieving this goal, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Here are seven solutions that guide our work in 24 countries around the world.
One of the main causes of poverty is inequality. The systemic barriers that lead to groups of people going without representation in their communities leave them further behind in terms of resources and opportunities. In order for a community, or even a country, to alleviate poverty, all groups and identities must be involved in creating solutions.
One of the biggest inequalities we need to address is gender inequality. According to the UN’s High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, women’s unpaid labor adds up to $10 trillion per year — 13% of the global GDP. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, women own less than 20% of agricultural land in parts of Africa and Asia, yet they make up 60% of the agricultural workforce.
Poverty happens when a high amount of inequality meets a high amount of risk. We need to ensure that the most vulnerable people and communities are able to build resilience. Resilience means working with communities to prepare for disasters — whether manmade or natural — in advance. It also means adapting to long-term changes (such as fighting climate change with Climate Smart Agriculture or creating programs to support the education, safety, and livelihoods of refugees or IDPs). These solutions to poverty help to offset the level of vulnerability communities may have in the face of risks — or even reduce the level of risk.
Commit to climate change solutions
Resilience against climate change is especially important and deserves its own mention. According to the World Bank, climate change could force an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty over the next decade without any urgent action taken.
Concern maintains overall climate responses (such as Disaster Risk Reduction), as well as specific programs (like Paribartan in India and Bangladesh, BRCiS in Somalia, and RAPID in Pakistan). But one of the solutions to poverty reduction that goes beyond any humanitarian mandate is a governmental commitment to climate justice, particularly on the parts of high-income countries whose carbon emissions are higher than those of the low-income countries hit hardest by climate change.
According to UNESCO, if all students in low-income countries had just basic reading and writing skills (nothing else), an estimated 171 million people could escape extreme poverty. If all adults completed secondary education, we could cut the global poverty rate by more than half. Education develops skills and abilities, corrects some of the imbalances that come out of marginalization, and decreases both risk and vulnerability. Some of the key areas of focus for making sure that education is truly for all involve breaking down the barriers to education: creating access to schools in remote areas, supporting teachers in their work to deliver quality education, and making sure that education is available to children living in fragile contexts.
Hunger and Thirst
Simply eating three meals a day and getting a healthy amount of calories and nutrients can go a long way to breaking the cycle of poverty. When a person doesn’t have enough to eat, they lack the strength and energy needed to work. Contaminated water can lead to debilitating illnesses. Current estimates suggest that women and girls collectively spend 200 million hours every day walking long distances to fetch water. Adequate healthcare options for all go hand-in-hand with this solution and represent a larger need for governments to offer basic social protections and services to keep their citizens healthy and give them affordable treatment options when they aren’t.
Peace and services
Ending all wars means that budgets allocated to cover the cost of conflict can be used to deliver public services. It also reduces risks faced by the most vulnerable communities and ensures that goals towards equality and inclusion can be maintained.
We’ve seen this play out time and again: While estimates around data for the country vary, Syria‘s poverty rate following the start of the Syrian crisis increased from approximately 12% in 2007 to 83% in 2019. Conversely, in Nepal, a decade-long civil war came to a close in 2006. This correlated with a sharp increase in gross national income (GNI) and gross domestic product (GDP) year-over-year. Likewise, the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992 (following a deadly civil war and war with Vietnam) helped to forge stability within the country and grow its middle class: The country’s poverty rate dropped from 47.8% in 2007 to 13.5% by 2014.
Cash Solves Poverty
Cash and microfinance are two of the best solutions to poverty. While the traditional image of humanitarian aid may be crates of supplies like food, water, and tents, distributing cash has become more common. It’s cheaper and faster to get into a country (and can even be distributed by phone now). It also gives recipients the autonomy to make their own purchasing decisions and supports local and national economies. Sometimes, a small startup grant (even as small as $100) is all it takes to help a family living below the poverty line launch a new business while keeping on top of their bills and keeping their children fed. The net effect is that they are able to lift themselves out of poverty in a sustainable manner.
Role of UNO
The United Nations (UN) has played a critical role in addressing this issue, through various programs and initiatives aimed at reducing poverty levels and promoting economic development.
The UN has identified poverty alleviation as one of its key goals, with the aim of ending extreme poverty by 2030. To achieve this goal, the UN has launched various initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to promote sustainable economic growth, reduce inequality, and improve social inclusion. Various UN agencies are working towards poverty alleviation, such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). These agencies work together to support developing countries in achieving sustainable development and reducing poverty.
UNDP: It works to support countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending poverty, reducing inequalities, and promoting sustainable economic growth. The UNDP provides technical assistance and financial support to help countries implement policies and programs to achieve these goals.
UNICEF: It focuses on addressing poverty and inequality among children. The organization works to provide access to education, healthcare, and other essential services to children living in poverty. UNICEF also supports governments in implementing policies and programs that benefit children.
WFP: It provides food assistance to people affected by conflict, natural disasters, and other emergencies. The organization also works to support sustainable food systems and improve the nutritional status of vulnerable populations.
IFAD: It supports rural development and promotes agriculture as a means of reducing poverty. The UN also provides technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries to support their efforts in poverty alleviation.
The UN has also taken a proactive approach to addressing poverty in conflict-affected areas, by providing humanitarian aid and support to those affected by conflicts and natural disasters. Overall, the UN plays a critical role in poverty alleviation by providing financial and technical assistance, promoting sustainable economic development, and advocating for policies that support poverty reduction. However, addressing poverty is a complex issue that requires the involvement of various stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector.
Role of World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans, grants, and technical assistance to countries for poverty alleviation and economic development. The World Bank has been instrumental in supporting poverty alleviation efforts in developing countries around the world.
One of the main ways in which the World Bank works towards poverty alleviation is through its lending programs. The World Bank provides loans to governments and other organizations for projects and programs that are designed to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. These loans often focus on areas such as education, health, infrastructure, and agriculture. The World Bank also provides technical assistance to governments to help them design and implement poverty reduction programs. This assistance can include advice on policies and programs, training for government officials, and support for data collection and analysis. In addition to lending and technical assistance, the World Bank also works to promote global cooperation and knowledge sharing on poverty reduction. The World Bank conducts research on poverty and economic development, and it shares this knowledge with governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders around the world.
The World Bank has played a critical role in poverty alleviation efforts, but it has also faced criticism for its lending practices and the impact of its programs on vulnerable populations. Some critics argue that the World Bank’s focus on economic growth and market-oriented policies may exacerbate poverty and inequality in some cases.
Role of IMF
Poverty alleviation is a crucial issue in developing countries, where a large percentage of the population lives below the poverty line. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a significant role in poverty alleviation in these countries. The IMF provides financial assistance to member countries that are experiencing balance of payments difficulties, which can result in economic instability and poverty. This assistance is typically in the form of loans, which are designed to help countries stabilize their economies and promote sustainable growth. In addition to providing financial assistance, the IMF also works with countries to develop and implement economic policies that can help alleviate poverty. This can include policies that promote economic growth, reduce inequality, and improve access to basic services such as healthcare and education. The IMF also works to promote good governance and combat corruption, which can be major impediments to poverty alleviation. By working with governments to improve transparency and accountability, the IMF can help ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently to benefit those in need.
Overall, the IMF plays an important role in poverty alleviation in developing countries, by providing financial assistance, promoting good economic policies, and working to combat corruption and promote good governance.
The author, Mr. Nazir Ahmed Shaikh is freelance writer, columnist, blogger and motivational speaker. He write articles on diversified topics. Mr. Shaikh could be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.