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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Guest Commentary

Guest Column: Can we win the fight against poverty in this lifetime?


Yesterday, I watched a TED Talk called, “Three Reasons Why We Can Win the Fight Against Poverty” by Andrew Youn.

I thought to myself, “How can this possibly happen?” Poverty is a huge, deeply rooted issue that has been around since the beginning of time. However, I was intrigued and then asked myself, “If the human race is so advanced in technology and science — achieving a lot like going to the moon and having cars that can drive themselves — why have we not been able to figure out the solution for poverty?”

How is it that there are numerous organizations across the world providing services to people living in poverty and we still have 2.2 billion children and 750 million people living in poverty?

Maybe part of the issue is how some people believe that eliminating poverty on a global scale is an overwhelming issue that will take multiple lifetimes to solve. Like my original mindset. But what if there is a way to solve the issues underlying poverty within this lifetime?

Maybe a key element in winning the battle against poverty is to start changing our mindset and believing that it is possible within this lifetime. Changing our mindset from sorrow to shared commitment to problem-solving and collective action is fundamental.

Now, let’s discuss the important components needed in order to eradicate poverty. The speaker in the TED Talk identified three components to win the fight against poverty:

1. Most of the world’s poor are farmers.
2. Humanity already knows the tools to end poverty.
3. Delivery of these tools eradicates poverty.

When I first heard these three factors, I thought to myself, “It sounds good in theory but how does that actually play out in the field?”

The speaker gave an example of the organization he works for and how they are helping over 400,000 farmers rise out of poverty. This is just one organization helping 400,000 people living in poverty by following his logic. How inspiring. If one organization can help such a substantial number of people, then I believe that poverty can be eradicated in this lifetime.

This theory is not limited only to farmers.

This is applicable to other groups facing different kinds of human development issues. Therefore, I think that we have already found the tools needed to eliminate many social issues related to poverty.

So what’s missing? What is needed to overcome such social issues?

Well, we need more collective action, people doing the work, more resources, more philanthropists and more global leaders. If these are achieved, I believe we can definitely win the fight against poverty in this lifetime.

Holly Heil is a graduate social work student specializing in global social work and can be reached at [email protected]

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