A World of Wealth = A World of Poverty???

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings”. – Nelson Mandela

In the last year and a half I began a quest to "Find the Common Humanity" in this world.

Through my travels pity for people is replaced with a deep desire to see justice, and with a deeper focus of individuals trapped in poverty.

With so much wealth in this world why is there still so much poverty? It's a question we must ask and a topic we must try and understand.

The old Chinese Proverb, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” speaks directly to the poverty issue.

How to define poverty?

World hunger is a symptom of world poverty, and to solve one we must address the root issue. If organizations and individuals only direct attention at food distribution, then the root cause of hunger – poverty and dependency – will remain.

How to measure poverty?

The World Bank Web site says poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom.

The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country.

What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies between time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines; which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values.

The common international poverty line has in the past been roughly $1 a day. In 2008, the World Bank came out with a revised figure of $1.25 at 2005 purchasing-power parity (PPP).

Finding the total cost of all the essential resources that an average human adult consumes in one year usually determines the poverty line. This approach is needs based in that an assessment is made of the minimum expenditure needed to maintain a tolerable life.

August 2008 showed that about 1.4 billion people in the developing world (one in four) were living on less than $1.25 a day in 2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981. The new international poverty line of $1.25 a day at 2005 prices is the mean of the national poverty lines for the 10-20 poorest countries of the world.

While the revised estimate is significantly higher than earlier estimates of less than a billion people living under $1 a day in 1993 prices, the developing world as a whole remains on track to meet the first Millennium Development Goal to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 levels by 2015.

What are positive solutions?

For adults, the Wold Food Programme provides “food for work” programs where workers are paid with food to build schools, dig wells, make roads, etc. This not only nourishes them, but also builds an infrastructure to end the poverty and gives the worker a new skill.

For children, the World Food Programme offers “food for education” programs where children are provided with food when they attend school. These programs help feed children while encouraging education, which will help them to escape from hunger and global poverty.

Sources include The World Bank, poverty.com, and World Food Programme.

What YOU can Do

Print a Letter to Your Government

CLICK HERE to print out a simple letter to your government supporting 0.7% in international aid.

If enough people in enough countries mail enough letters, this great objective can be achieved.

Stand UP, Take Action, End Poverty Now!

The standagainstpoverty Web site gives two ways to become involved.