SEATTLE, Washington – Reducing global poverty requires global support at both the individual and state levels. With the COVID-19 pandemic emerging, the fight against systemic racism and an expected economic recession, it is important that efforts to reduce extreme poverty are not neglected. According to the World Bank’s June 2020 report on the global economic outlook, the COVID-19 pandemic could drive 171 million people into poverty. This development would be the first rise in global extreme poverty since 1998 and would ignore the progress made in ending extreme poverty since 2017. With this in mind, understanding and implementing simple ways to reduce global poverty amid COVID-19 is critical.
Awareness: What is Poverty?
People around the world must first understand global extreme poverty. How extreme poverty affects disadvantaged population groups and how it can be tackled appropriately. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $ 1.90 a day. However, since then they have adjusted this definition for different countries in relation to their appropriate “level of consumption or income”.
As a result, this new definition introduced around two billion people into the category of extreme poverty. This focused focus on extreme poverty is essential as not all countries with citizens living in extreme poverty need the same resources and assistance. For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is struggling with cholera and tuberculosis outbreaks along with a lack of comprehensive medical care. One of the main ways we can help this country is by improving transportation and building roads for citizens in remote areas to get to medical clinics.
Recognition of country-specific needs
If we don’t understand how to help in a country-specific way, we can end up doing more harm than good. A prime example of this mindset is the PlayPump, which was invented to help pumping water in Africa. It was designed as a playground for children that doubled as a water pump.
However, this PlayPump required “constant force” to function, which resulted in exhausted women pushing it throughout the day as the children were often fed up with the extra weight in the roundabout pump. It also required frequent maintenance, which contributed to the inadequate and increased financial and physical stress. In addition, the PlayPump was a top-down initiative that ignored its constituent parts.
In Zambia, for example, people didn’t even want the PlayPump to work from the start and instead hoped for a simple, redesigned hand pump. Overall, it is important to learn how to make the best contributions by studying the needs of each country and from there determining the best course of action, based also on the interests of the community.
Donation: A little goes a long way
Second, donating money doesn’t have to break the bank and be complicated. For example, the Against Malaria Foundation shows that the most effective way to prevent malaria is to sleep under a mosquito net. These insecticide treated mosquito nets only cost about $ 2 each.
An easy way to donate is to add browser extensions to computers. Extensions like Amazon Smile donate a percentage of online purchases to nonprofits. Whether you are a college student or a minimum wage worker, there are always easy ways for individuals to reduce global poverty.
Initiative: Talk to your representatives and local charities
Third, appeal to the senators and representatives of your state. They play an important role in allocating funds and approving budgets related to global poverty. For example, the international budget and laws such as the End Tuberculosis Now Act influence global efforts to reduce poverty and prevent disease. These budgets and laws are currently also in front of the House and Senate. Reaching out to agents and supporting these acts can help ensure that they exist and take action in the near future.
Another easy way for individuals to reduce global poverty is to check out the charities they contribute to. Sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar divide the ethics, leadership, finances, and effectiveness of charities around the world to ensure donors donate to the right places for the right reasons. These websites also outline how organizations distribute administration fee donations.
There are many easy ways for individuals to reduce global poverty, even in the midst of COVID-19. While these avenues also consist of donating money, the most important step is learning how to appropriately use your time, money, and resources for these good causes.
– Sophia McWilliams