Poverty can be defined in many ways. Poverty is not having basic needs of life such as food, warm-clothes, shelter and education. However poverty changing from place to place and across time it has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape.
Primarily poverty is a call to action, action that needs to be taken from both the rich and the poor so that more people can have enough food and shelter, to stop living in despair.
Understanding poverty line
“Minimum income level used as an official standard for determining the proportion of a population living in poverty.”
In October 2015, the World Bank updated international poverty line to US$1.90 a day. In 2008, the World Bank came out with a figure (revised largely due to inflation) of $1.25 at 2005 purchasing-power parity (PPP). The common international poverty line has in the past been roughly $1 a day.
Types of poverty
Two main types of poverty are:
• Absolute poverty.
• Relative poverty.
Absolute poverty is defined as lacking the basic means to survive whereas
Relative poverty occurs when a family’s income and way of living fall below the general standard of living defined by its society.
Causes of Poverty
The primary cause of poverty is lack of income but there are many other factors that cause poverty. Such causes include natural disasters, corruption, inequality and discrimination.
1. Income Inequality and Corruption
Developed countries have low poverty rate as compared to developing countries. Research work has proven that poverty rate decreases in countries when they grow economically. If the national income is not distributed equally then the poor sector remains poor and rich get richer.
This inequality creates many problems in society resulting in corruption and civil riots. This dilemma is one of the biggest causes of poverty in any country.
2. Gender Discrimination and Social Inequality
In many countries women still do not have all the rights they deserve such as in Africa women are not much supported when it comes to education rather than that people tend to invest in a boy’s education. Furthermore in some religious families women are prohibited to work side by side to men.
Such inequality between men and women in a society creates psychological problems for women and women with no equal rights as a men is another face of poverty.
3. Inheritance of poverty
Countries who came into being as a result of wars in the name of religion did not have much resources hence most of the population were already under poverty before they had a chance to improve themselves. This poverty situation has been passing into generations as the children cannot get education nor they have any skills. They work hard but earn less as a result family remains poor and it passes on to the next generation.
4. Health and Disability
Health directly effects poverty. If a man is not healthy enough to work then income of the family decreases which causes poverty other than this if a society is affected by some viral disease like malaria or influenza. It causes many deaths and orphan children are left alone without any care takers.
In most of the societies a disable person is looked down upon and not much appreciated for the effort they do to try and learn skills that can help the family grow economically. The incidence of poverty is 15-44% higher in households with a disabled head or adult.
5. Natural Disasters and Vulnerability
Droughts, floods, hurricanes and other unexpected natural events cause deaths, illness and loss of income. Below is graph which tells about the amount of human lives lost because natural disasters over year.
Countries with poverty
Bosnia and Herzegovina
640.000 or 18.56% population live in absolute poverty in Bosnia and Herzegovina
UNICEF estimates that approximately 170,000 children in Bosnia are poor; the majority come from minority groups, such as Romany or Internally Displaced Persons – IDP.
Ethiopia is one of the World’s poorest countries. Out of a population of around 80 million (2008) people, 35 million people are living in abject poverty. Where about 44 percent of the population lives under the poverty line, more than 12 million people are chronically or at least periodically food insecure.
Somalia is among the five least developed of 170 countries listed in the 2012 Human Development Index.
More than 70 per cent of the population is under the age of 30. Almost 20 per cent of children do not survive past their fifth birthday.
About 40 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty; in rural areas this figure exceeds 50 per cent. In 2012, 62 percent of the population was rural.
Only 42 per cent of school-age children in Somalia are in school, one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates. Of those, one a third are girls’ Extreme poverty and lack of employment opportunities leave many young Somalis with few prospects for the future. Over 70% of Somalia’s population is under the age of thirty. However, the unemployment rate for youth in Somalia is 67% —one of the highest in the world.
40 % people living below poverty line. SDPI’s study on poverty in Pakistan revealed that every third Pakistani is living his life below the poverty line. Baluchistan which is considered as the land of mineral is facing a serious issue of poverty, 52 % of total population in Baluchistan living below the poverty line, 33 % of Sindh population are living below the poverty line followed by KPK having 32 % ratio. Punjab which is considered as the urban area also having 19 % population which are living below the poverty line.
United States of America
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 49 million Americans lived in households struggling against hunger in 2013. Of them, 15.7 million were children (21.4 percent of all children). Previously, in 2012, 48.9 million Americans lived in food insecure households.
In 2014, median household income was reported as $53,657—statistically the same as it was in 2013. The same stagnation held when it came to the poverty rate, with about 14.9 percent of Americans, or almost 47 million people, falling below the poverty threshold of about $24,000 for the year.
Ways to end poverty
Over 1.2 billion people are living under poverty and to put an end to this is not an overnight process. Everyone can play a role in ending poverty. Different schemes by government are working on this with help of NGO’s and international aids.
Education and health
Education is the key to reduce poverty and many countries who have realized this are investing heavily in their education system to increase their literacy rate up to 100 percent.
Education helps a person throughout a lifetime as an educated person knows which medication to take and what precautionary measures to take at the time of need.
Especially in the case of women, an educated women knows basic medications needed at different times of her life.
Food and Water
Food and water are necessities of life yet many people do not get enough of it. This is the common cause of poverty, not having food and water. Most of the cases of food shortage are natural disasters and one way to deal with it is to help the victims by providing them food. Individual and international help is the only way to deal with it.
Provision of Skills and Training
Many people who are uneducated and are in no condition of getting education shall be taught other helpful skills so that they can start earning by providing society with their skills as of a cobbler or hair dresser or a tailor.
Disable people can be taught languages to work at call-centers and earn their way through life.
When a country grows economically the national income shall be distributed equally among its people and in some cases little part of regular income of a person shall be contributed towards handling the cases. For example
When disaster strikes every individuals behavior shall be we are here to help. This will help in breaking the guilt cycle and encourage volunteering spirit among the nation.
Effects of Poverty
Main effects of poverty are psychological and social but it effects the foreign relations of a country as well.
Social and Political
Poverty effects directly on a society as a poor person has not much options then to turn to the dark side and join criminals or became prostitutes or sell their own children. Political parties take advantage of such situations and recruit young people to support their agenda and in return they provide them with food and shelter.
Economical and Psychological
People living under poverty are mentally challenged at every perspective of their lives as they feel inferior because they cannot participate in economic activities, they’re unable to send their children to school which eventually affects a countries economy moreover people living in relative poverty move from rural areas to urban areas and when they cannot survive in such competitive environment they eventually end up in slums.
Poverty and Hunger
Poverty is hunger. Hunger for food, shelter, clothes, education and various aspects of life which a person living below poverty line cannot simply afford.
Hunger is generally defined as lack of food coupled with desire to eat. Many people living in Africa do not have food to eat on the contrary in urban countries tons of food is wasted on daily bases. Only if this food instead of wasting, is send to the needy ones can help reduce poverty.
The graph below shows the number of people who sleep hungry because lack of food.
Does the world produce enough food for everyone? Adults can survive on less food than children. Children need food on daily basis to survive but unfortunately many children die every year because of lack of food. The Lancet, an internationally renowned journal stated that more than three million children died of undernutrition in 2011. On dividing the seconds of year over three million it reveals that every 10 second a child dies of hunger
How to Educate the Poor
Education is a human right and every child deserves education. This is the basic agenda of most of the NGO’s to force the government to work on such projects which provides free education to the poor. Government itself has initiated many programs which helps the cause of educating the poor.
Education Fights Poverty
Improving education in developing countries
Developing countries who have acknowledged the importance of education are investing heavily in it. As literacy rate of a country grows, the country grows economically and it helps reducing poverty.
Following are a few facts (UNESCO reports) about education in developing countries that show how it affects children and adults:
• In most developing countries, public school is not free.
• 67 million primary-school-age children are still denied the right to education.
• As much as 115 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in school.
• More than 226 million children do not attend secondary school.
• Illiteracy is highest amongst females. In more than 20 developing countries, illiteracy rates amongst women exceed 70%.
NGO’s Role in Educating the Poor
NGO’s role in educating the poor:
SONNE international is an internationally operative Austrian development organization which currently has sixty-eight schools in total educating over seven thousand students.
Many other NGO’s are working as well doing the same and making a change in the world.