Unit 1 (fighting poverty)


Eradicating poverty “in all its forms” remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity till date. Indeed, the number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped significantly by more than half between 1990 and 2015, there are still too many people stuck below the poverty line.

In Nigeria, almost half the entire population live below the poverty line. By 2015, roughly 736 million people still lived on less than US$1.90 a day; lacking food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Although rapid growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to be poor than men because they have less paid work, education, and own less property.

In this course, we will explore the most effective methods and action plans that you can adopt to contribute in the fight against poverty in any part of the World. However, in order to effectively make impact irrespective of your eventual action plan, it is imperative that you understand the topography and fundamental dimensions of poverty.

The easiest way to measure poverty is to use the international poverty line, which is currently $1.9US per day. Although indicators other than money are also used to measure poverty. Nevertheless, consumption and income are closely related to many other aspects of poverty and are among the easiest to measure. That is why a dollar a day ($1.9 today) has become the most frequently used indicator to measure how widespread global poverty is.

Most of the extremely poor people live in Asia, but it is in sub-Saharan Africa that the extremely poor account for the largest proportion of the population and the prospects are still dim. More than 300 million, or 48 per cent of the people in sub-Saharan Africa, live in extreme poverty. In Asia, between 750 and 800 million live in extreme poverty. About 2.8 billion people have to manage to live on 1.9$ and below per day. This sounds very troubling, but there is hope especially giving past statistics. The number of extremely poor people fell by almost 140 million between 1990 and 2000. In 1990, 28.3 per cent of the world’s population were living in extreme poverty.

In 2000 this proportion had dropped to 21.6 per cent. There has indeed been a decline or no change in the percentage of poor people in three regions, but a rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. The strongest decline has been in East Asia, where the proportion of impoverished people has been halved, with very significant progress in China.

Fighting poverty does not necessarily require a college degree in economic development, but a proper understanding of the issues at hand. We will focus more on the possible action plans to adopt in your bid to combat poverty and how you can get these plans to work, but please read and understand the attached material(s) in this unit as they contain detailed information on the fundamental dimensions and development challenges of poverty.

Please download the attached PDF for this unit. (Dimensions of poverty, Sida’s conceptual framework).


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