Things To Know About Poverty
What Is Poverty?
Poverty is the state of not having a sufficient amount of money or material goods, as determined by society.
It has historically been a major catastrophe and an open invitation to be despised, unappreciated, neglected and forgotten by members of society.
Poverty is a trending phenomenon in our society today that needs to be dealt with.
One of the people’s decisions to remain poor is the fact that many are not ready to learn new things and better ways to go about their lives. And by so doing, they remain paupers worshipping at the altar of poverty.
In research, Nigeria had one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4% according to the Nigeria economic report that was released in July 2019 by the World Bank.
Following the oil price collapse in 2014–2016, combined with negative production shocks, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate dropped to 2.7% in 2015.
In 2016 during its first recession in 25 years, the economy contracted by 1.6%.
Nationally, 43 percent of Nigerians (89 million people) live below the poverty line, while another 25 percent (53 million) are vulnerable.
For a country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources such as oil, the level of poverty remains unacceptable.
However, poverty may have been overestimated due to the lack of information on the extremely huge informal sector of the economy, estimated at around 60% more, than the current GDP figures.
As of 2018, the population growth rate is higher than the economic growth rate, leading to a slow rise in poverty.
According to a 2018 report by the World Bank, almost half the population is living below the international poverty line ($2 per day), and unemployment peaked at 23.1%.
Nigeria had one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4% according to the Nigeria economic report that was released in July 2019 by the World Bank.
Many individuals are faced with limited financial opportunities, extreme information poverty and unemployment, a lack of access to information technology resources, and other uniquely debilitating environmental circumstances such as poverty.
The impact of COVID-19 has been disastrous to the economy with inflation on food items on the rise, markets being disrupted by the increase in prices of things, and purchasing power.
Causes Of Poverty
Lack Of Education:
Extreme poverty is not experienced by every person without a formal education.
However, the majority of the very poor, lack formal schooling.
Worldwide, there are various obstacles to education, such as a lack of funding for uniforms and textbooks, and prejudice against girls’ education.
Education is often referred to as the great equalizer, because it can open the door to jobs and other resources and skills that a family needs to not just survive, but thrive.
UNESCO estimates that 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if they left school with basic reading skills.
Poverty threatens education, but education can also help to end poverty.
Lack Of Jobs Or Livelihoods:
It may seem obvious that people will experience poverty if they don’t have work or a means of subsistence. Many traditional livelihoods are under increasing strain as a result of decreasing access to arable land (sometimes as a result of conflict, population growth, or climate change) and overexploitation of resources like fish and minerals.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for example, most of the population lives in rural communities where natural resources have been plundered over centuries of colonial rule — while conflict over land has forced people away from their source of income and food.
Now, more than half of the country lives in extreme poverty.
Conflict is one of the most common forms of risk driving poverty today.
Large-scale, protracted violence that we have seen in areas like Syria can grind society to a halt, destroying infrastructure and causing people to flee (often with nothing but the clothes on their backs).
In its tenth year of conflict, Syria’s middle class has been all but destroyed, and over 80% of the population now lives below the poverty line.
But even small bouts of violence can have huge impacts on communities that are already struggling.
For example, if farmers are worried about their crops being stolen, they won’t invest in planting.
Women also bear the brunt of the conflict, which adds a layer of inequality to all conflicts.
During periods of violence, female-headed households become very common.
And because women often have difficulty getting well-paying work and are typically excluded from community decision-making, their families are particularly vulnerable.
Lack Of Government Support:
Social welfare services that people can access if they need medical care or food help are well known to a large portion of the population in the United States.
However, not every government can offer this level of assistance to its citizens. Without that safety net, there is nothing to prevent vulnerable families from falling further into extreme poverty.
The inability of ineffective governments to provide the required infrastructure, and healthcare, or guarantee the safety and security of their inhabitants in times of conflict contributes to many of the other reasons for extreme poverty listed above.
Poor HealthCare Systems — Especially For Mothers And Children:
Extreme poverty and poor health often go hand in hand.
In countries where health systems are weak, easily preventable and treatable illnesses like malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections can be fatal — especially for young children.
And when people must travel far distances to clinics or pay for medicine, it drains already vulnerable households of money, and assets, and can tip a family from poverty into extreme poverty.
For some women, pregnancy and childbirth can be a death sentence. In many of the countries where Concern works, access to quality maternal healthcare is poor. Pregnant and lactating mothers face a multitude of barriers when seeking care, from not being allowed to go to a clinic without a male chaperone to receiving poor or even abusive care from a doctor. This is especially true for adolescent girls aged 18 and under, leaving mothers-to-be and their children at increased risk for disease and death.
Hunger, Malnutrition, And Stunting:
You may believe that hunger results from poverty (and you would be correct! ), but hunger also contributes to and sustains poverty. A person won’t have the strength and energy they need to work if they don’t eat enough (or their immune system will weaken from malnutrition and leave them more susceptible to illness that prevents them from getting to work).
The first 1,000 days of a child’s life (from womb to the world) are key to ensuring their future health and likelihood of staying out of poverty.
If a mother is malnourished during pregnancy, that can be passed on to her children, leading to wasting (low weight for height) or stunting (low height for age). Child stunting, both physical and cognitive, can lead to a lifetime of impacts.
Adults who were stunted as children earn, on average, 22% less than those who were not stunted.
In Ethiopia, stunting contributes to GDP losses as high as 16%.
Little Or No Access To Clean Water, Sanitation, And Hygiene:
In research, more than 2 billion people don’t have access to clean water at home.
This means that people (which is to say, women and girls) collectively spend some 200 million hours every day walking long distances to fetch water. That’s precious time that could be used working or getting an education to help secure a job later in life.
A variety of waterborne diseases, from chronic to life-threatening, can also be brought on by contaminated water.
This can be made worse by inadequate water infrastructure, which also affects sanitation and hygiene facilities.
It can also create other obstacles to escaping poverty, like preventing girls from attending school while they are menstruating.
Climate change contributes to the cycle of poverty in several ways, including by disproportionately harming women, producing refugees, and even influencing conflict.
It causes hunger by either too little (drought) or too much (flooding) water.
One World Bank estimates that climate change has the power to push more than 100 million people into poverty over the next decade.
Many of the world’s poorest populations rely on farming or hunting and gathering to eat and earn a living — for example, Malawi is 80% agrarian.
They often have only just enough food and assets to last through the next season, and not enough reserves to fall back on in the event of a poor harvest.
So when climate change or natural disasters (including the widespread droughts caused by El Niño) leave millions of people without food, it pushes them further into poverty and can make recovery even more difficult.
Poor Public Works And Infrastructure:
Imagine that there are no roads leading to the place where you need to get to work. Or perhaps your path has become impassable due to recent severe rainfall.
A lack of infrastructure — from roads, bridges, and wells, to cables for light, cell phones, and internet — can isolate communities living in rural areas.
Living off the grid often means living without the ability to go to school, work, or the market to buy and sell goods.
Traveling further distances to access basic services not only takes time but also costs money, keeping families in poverty.
Lacks Of Reserves:
If a family or community has reserves in place, they can withstand any of the risk factors mentioned above, including conflict, climate change, and even a family disease. Unemployment brought on by conflict or illness might be compensated by cash reserves and loans.
If a drought or other natural calamity spoils a harvest, proper food storage methods can be helpful.
People living in extreme poverty usually don’t have these means available.
This means that, when risk turns into a disaster, they turn to negative coping mechanisms, including pulling children out of school to work (or even marry) and selling off assets to buy food. That can help a family make it through one bad season, but not another.
For communities constantly facing climate extremes or prolonged conflict, the repeated shocks can send a family reeling into extreme poverty and prevent them from ever recovering.
Inequality And Marginalization:
The term “inequality” is used to describe systemic barriers that prevent certain groups of people from having a voice or being represented in their communities. However, it can be misleading at times.
All groups must participate in decision-making for a population to transcend poverty, especially when it comes to having a say in issues that affect their standing in society.
Some of them might be plain to see, while in other cases they might be subtle.
Economic and social inequities such as gender inequity, caste systems, and marginalization based on racial or tribal affinities all result in little to no access to the resources required to lead a full, productive life.
A marginalized community may become even more susceptible to the cycle of poverty when combined with the various combinations of susceptibility and dangers.
Solutions To Poverty:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
One of the most effective ways to combat poverty is education.
In the world, even the most fundamental education—reading, writing, and arithmetic —can help children access opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them.
For education to be an antidote, everyone should note that the desire to learn is very important and also that no one is too old to learn.
This is evident in a statement given by a man from Switzerland in 1997 which states that “I don’t use to worry about my illiteracy and the fact that I was not able to send my children to school, as long as we had something to eat, but now, I realize that my children are in trouble for life because they can’t get any decent job if they don’t know how to read and write.”
This statement is a pointer to the fact that with education, you can shun poverty, you can be a boss of your own, and with education, you can be out of life’s troubles.
Unquestionably, the word illiteracy is the number one cause of poverty. An illiterate man or woman is more or less a blind person who always needs guidance to go about their ways.
Old methods can no more be used in fighting poverty in the new world. For example, charity and donations, as well as training, do not work as effectively as they did decades ago.
In today’s world, people need education because people get paid based on what they know. In other words, education empowers people. It enables them to support themselves and their families and it gets them out of poverty which in turn makes them independent.
With education, people do not need charity but without education, charity alone cannot save.
Furthermore, some successful men and women struggled hard to defeat their distasteful situation with the weapon of education, a name that readily comes to mind is the author of the book, ‘Gifted Hands’ Dr. Ben Carson.
Skimming through this book, it is realized that Ben Carson came from a poor family but the zeal to read and succeed was initiated by his mother who pushed her sons to read and believe in themselves. Going further, he received academic honours for being an excellent student despite his poor background and eventually attended medical school.
Also, the deciding factor for education to be an antidote is to have well-planned and constructed educational facilities and structures that can aid learning and mind-opening performances.
Both formal and informal education can be merged to strike a balance in building a well-baked individual who is ready to face life challenges and is willing to emerge strong and successful.
One-time President of America, Barack Obama once said that “the best anti-poverty program is a world-class education.”
Therefore, a country that does not invest so much in the education of its citizens is far from successful because, not only is education important in reducing poverty, but it is also a key to wealth creation.
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.
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.
Empower A Girl Or Woman:
Societies with greater gender equality enjoy more sustainable development and faster economic growth.
Empowered women are role models for girls in their communities. And they are more likely to send their daughters to school.
Yet around the world, women and girls are often drastically limited in their options and opportunities. Girls and women have all the same human rights as men and boys.
When those rights are ignored, overlooked, or violated, not only do women and girls suffer. Entire communities get stuck in a cycle of poverty.
According to the United Nations, less than 50 percent of working-aged women are in the labour market, a figure that has barely budged in the last 25 years.
In Northern Africa and Western Asia, women still spend over seven times as much time as men doing unpaid domestic and care work.
With so few options available, perhaps it’s not surprising that globally, a disproportionate number of girls remain out of school, compared with boys. Or that two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills are female.
Many experts say that gender equality programming is critical for any other solutions to poverty to be effective.
Prevent Child Marriage:
Child marriage is a fundamental violation of a girl’s inherent rights.
If Early marriage can be prevented, poverty will be reduced because the girls’ children will be empowered rather than nursing children when they are not supposed to do so.
Provide Clean Water:
Ensuring children have access to clean water is another 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.
– Kehinde Owoeye