Last Monday was International Day for the Eradication of Poverty; a day which can trace its roots to a gathering of more than 100,000 people in Paris on 17th October 1987 to honour the victims of poverty and demand more action worldwide. According to the UN, the day calls for “presenting and promoting… concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution”. So we’ll add our voice to that and write a post about how Seed Change plans to help eradicate poverty in the coming years.
Since 1987 the world has, in some ways, actually done quite well here. The eradication of poverty in recent decades has been strong, with World Bank data suggesting that the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has fallen from 1.85 billion in 1990, to 767 million in 2013. Some estimates suggest that now less than 10% of the world’s population lives in ‘extreme poverty’.
This might seem like a remarkable decrease, particularly given the growth in global population over this time. Yet, what is actually remarkable is that millions of people still live in poverty. In a world where we can land a robot on a comet millions of miles away, give our dogs a $3.2 million diamond encrusted collar, and zoom around the ocean in our own personal dolphin submarine, surely one person living on less than $1.90 a day is too many.
Okay, enough of the ranting. What can be done? Here at Seed Change we strongly believe that through empowering individuals to take control of their own lives, true poverty eradication can be achieved. It is often easy to become immune to statistics – like the ones above – that tend to dehumanise poverty, but it is important to remember that this is a problem with a distinctly human face. That’s why Seed Change is giving our donors the opportunity to take action to end poverty by helping each of our farmers to invest in their own futures. A happy side effect of landing on comets, encrusting our dogs in diamonds, and pretending to be a dolphin is that individual regular people in all developed countries absolutely have the power to end of poverty for another individual regular person in a developing country. Think about that for a minute. At basically any time of the day or night, through the magic of the internet and the general rising incomes for the last 50 years in the West, an average person can end poverty for another human being. That’s amazing. Never had regular people had this opportunity; Louis the 14th maybe but not school teachers, carpenters, or bank clerks. Take this incredible opportunity and personally help someone out of poverty.
Maybe someone like Alfonsina Ntatiye, from the remote village of Mahembe. Alfonsina has saved $55 – amounting to over 20% of her annual income – and now needs an additional $84 to complete her investment to work her way out of poverty. Alfonsina is just one of many of our farmers striving to wipe out poverty in her community – many others can be found here.