Making a Difference by Alleviating Poverty
Poverty exists in every nation around the world, but Africa takes the cake when it comes to the truly poor. Currently, the top 3 poorest countries in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. The rankings are calculated on GDP per person, which means that these people have limited, if any, financial resources. Finances aren’t always a criterion for wealth though.
There are certainly people who can happily support themselves and their families without earning vast amounts of money. The traditional San bushmen people are an example of this. Although they are technically very poor by modern-day standards, all their needs are met by their no-frills way of life.
Poverty Erodes Peace
Yet, it’s a sad truth that money makes the world go around these days, especially for those living in urban or suburban environments where they cannot keep livestock, hunt or grow food to sustain themselves. For many, desperate times call for desperate measures and a life of crime becomes the only way to put food on the table in these environments.
Crime leads to fear and uncertainty for those living in these pockets of poverty scattered in the lower-income areas of town or outer-lying areas. Fear breeds violence, alcoholism and drug addiction. None of these things are conducive to a healthy and productive society.
An unhappy population is more likely to lash out against perceived inequalities in society. They are more likely to engage in riotous behavior in a desperate attempt to create change.
Unfortunately, without access to news and educational media, the poverty-stricken can be faultlessly misled by empty campaign promises from unscrupulous politicians. This means that they sometimes make rash decisions without access to the full story when it comes to election time.
Powerful political forces find it easy to bully the less fortunate into submission and keep them poor to serve their own political aims. In this way, corrupt governments thrive and prosper at the ill-informed expense of the very people who voted them in to power.
Keys to Alleviating Poverty
The keys to alleviating poverty lie firmly in the hands of government and businesses. Job creation is the number one factor in reducing poverty among the masses. People who earn money learn how to save up for a better future. They can put food on the table, have access to healthcare and even afford a reasonable education for their children. Education should give everyone an equal chance at employment when they leave school.
Employed people pay taxes which means more money for the government to use for improving the lives of its people.
Better, more affordable healthcare means that those who are able to work can do so effectively with less time off. For many working-class folk, no work means no pay, which then descends into a never-ending cycle of poor health and limited finances. Effective preventative healthcare can help to alleviate the lot of young teenagers who are forced to leave school in order to try and support their families.
Crèche facilities enable more parents to enter the workplace and earn a living for their families. They also ensure that children are exposed to a learning environment from a young age – giving them a better chance in life.
It is imperative that governments nip corruption in the bud and carefully allocate resources where they are most needed. Likewise, businesses should take care of their lower-salaried employees by assisting them wherever they can. This all starts with paying them a fair wage for their work, it continues when you invest in ongoing training for your employees to help them grow in their roles.
Contented, healthy workers perform better and are a valuable asset to any business.
By supporting local charities and community initiatives, businesses indirectly help to improve the circumstances of their employees.
To access education and healthcare, there needs to be a solid transport infrastructure in place. To stay healthy and productive, efficient electrical, water, and sanitation systems are needed. Decent buildings and proper facilities are vital for schools and hospitals to fulfill their roles effectively.
Low cost housing is an effective way to clean up neighborhoods and ensure that deserving people have a warm, dry and safe place to sleep and shelter from the elements.
The internet may seem like a luxury to some, but it is a cheap means of communication and is beginning to play a more important role in educating people and keeping them informed.
Poverty Breeds Poverty
When foreign investors are considering where to spend their money, they look at elements such as infrastructure to gauge their risks. They cannot consider investing in businesses that may suffer from service interruptions, poor internet signal, corruption and high crime rates.
Investors are hesitant to invest in countries where these poor conditions are rife, and when they turn away, they take their much-needed jobs with them.
Poverty is an epidemic in Africa, and it is up to every one of us to do whatever we can do to assist those in need. After all, it’s for our own benefit.
In the same vein, those who are truly poor should leap at every opportunity for employment. They should take every chance to re-educate themselves with new skills and be willing to accept any work that comes along.
No matter what your circumstances, your vote counts. Those who are less fortunate should take the time to ensure they are well-informed and educated about which elected officials truly have their best interests at heart, and support them by ticking the right boxes on election day.
By doing these things, even the truly poor can help to improve the circumstances of themselves and those around them.
Keep reading our blogs for inspiration on how you can help to make a difference in the world.