World poverty has been on a steady decrease for years – and that’s great news. As an international community, we’ve worked together to learn many of the best solutions to poverty.
But globally, extreme poverty rose in 2021 for the first time in more than two decades. The World Bank forecast showed that in 2021, severe poverty increased to between 143 million and 163 million people.
Why is this happening?
Because threats like a global pandemic can compound the impact of conflict, climate change and debt. Not only can the impacts of the coronaviruses slow poverty reduction progress – they can reverse it.
As we consider rising poverty, it’s important to remember this: we can reverse the trend.
Here are some practical ways to start off:
Education is one of the best solutions to poverty. Globally speaking, even the most basic education – reading, writing and arithmetic – can open doors for children that would otherwise be locked tight. But it’s more than that.
Many experts say that the cycle of poverty simply can’t be broken unless children receive education. Many experts agree that educating more children is the solution to poverty the world has been looking for. Yet, even before COVID-19, 617 million youth globally lacked basic math and literacy skills.
Provide clean water
Ensuring children have access to clean water is one of the top solutions to poverty. Safe water close to home can protect children from water-borne diseases, and free them from long, often dangerous treks to fetch water. This gives them more time to be in school, learning.
According to the World Health Organization, one in three people globally can’t access safe drinking water. And without clean water close to home, breaking out of poverty is highly unlikely.
Ensure basic health care
Experts agree that affordable, accessible, basic health care is a critical solution to poverty. According to the World Health Organization, about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year, due to out-of-pocket spending on health.
To reduce poverty, affordable services should be available when and where families need them. They should include health promotion and prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
Societies with more skilled people enjoy more sustainable development and faster economic growth. We need to change the narrative from making people dependent on hand-outs to people who possess critical skills and can contribute to the economy of their country rather than just be a poverty statistic.
Improve childhood nutrition
According to the World Health Organization, eliminating malnutrition is one of the most cost-effective solutions to poverty. The developmental, economic, social and medical impacts of malnutrition are serious and lasting. It affects individuals as well as their families, communities and countries.
Nourishing babies and young children is one of the best ways to fight poverty. Doing so in this critical window can improve children’s well-being for a lifetime – not just as survivors. But as students, earners and leaders.
Support environmental programs
Climate change is drastically impacting poverty. In fact, experts agree that any viable solutions to poverty must include environmental programming – not just in poor countries, but around the world.
Between 2030 and 2050, climate change alone is expected to cause approximately 250,000 extra deaths per year. That’s from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone, says the World Health Organization.
Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor living in rural areas count on natural resources such as forests, lakes and oceans for their livelihoods. Extreme weather is playing havoc with these. And children in low-income countries are suffering the most.
Reach children in conflict
The number of people globally who live near conflict has doubled since 2007, according to The World Bank. That’s critical to know. Because in regions where conflict is prevalent, repeated cycles of violence and turbulence often keep families trapped in poverty.
Forced displacement is a key factor in perpetuating – or even worsening – poverty. More than 82 million people are currently displaced as a result of conflict, persecution, human rights violations and violation, according to the UNHCR.
When people flee their homes, they leave behind shelter, security and livelihood, creating situations of extreme poverty.
Moreover, new generations of children are starting their lives in poverty born of conflict. For example, an estimated 75,971 Rohingya babies have entered the world in the world’s largest refugee camp since 2017.