Addressing poverty

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SO I had another assignment that led me to write on this week’s piece. It concerns the sustainable development goals and as I was researching, I realised the first goal is to reduce poverty.

Why is that so? When we speak of poverty, we stress on the economic poverty. Globally, I’d say there’s no fixed definition as it may vary in different societies. Perhaps it’s the lack of education, not being able to buy food or even ignorance. Here in Guyana, we’d call someone poor if that person doesn’t have the financial means to buy things they want, moreover needs, like an average citizen. For me personally, I take sides with the saying, ‘some people are so poor all they have is money.’

In a country such as ours, with abundant and underutilised resources, why does poverty still exist? In excess of 800 million persons currently live in poverty worldwide, that’s a better statistic than 1 billion persons, in the year 1999. There’s hope for our country with the oil industry and it’s promised wealth but one can only wonder, if we have gold, bauxite, timber, sugar, tourism, coconut and countless other exports and resources, why was progress still very slow? And what makes oil outshine the others?

A country and the way it manages its resources, job availability as well as inclusion of all the regions into the economy plays a key role in this topic. I find it ludicrous when a country, whether it be Guyana or any other, boast about its country and there are still exceeding numbers of hungry bellies and homeless souls on the streets.

Perhaps, we also fail our people when we do not teach them better. Budgeting, how to calculate taxes, how to write a CV, emergency plans for failed industries and natural disasters, the value of money, are all things that are not often emphasised. I also believe we should teach people how to be more independent; grow your kitchen gardens, start small home businesses, save money and make personal investments.

Economic growth and plans should include everyone. The government and NGOs have many programmes in place to help eradicate poverty and in many countries the numbers have surely been decreasing. However, it makes no sense there are many programmes and there’s still a stigma attached to poverty. There are many persons who are afraid to ask for help because of what people will say. In many ways the wealth shared is unequal. Females especially, are very underprivileged when it comes to economic wealth. The feminisation of poverty is a world-wide issue even in developed countries.

The reduction of poverty is everybody’s business. No human being should fight for survival when they’re many others dwelling in luxury. To put into better words, ‘Poverty is not a lack of character; it’s a lack of money, a lack of opportunity, a lack of investment. It’s when society turns its back and makes you invisible.’