Action on Poverty

The traditional discourse on the alleviation of poverty has always focused on what governments can do to eradicate or minimise the effects of poverty on their population or on populations across the world. Wikepedia estimates that approximately 1/2 of the world’s population suffers from poverty which indicates that it is a huge problem that needs co-ordinated government action.

However, I am really interested in the role of individuals who are suffering from poverty and what they can do to reduce poverty on the world population. The work we do on Youth Act constantly shows us that the best and most effective solutions to public policy problems come from groups made up of individuals who are affected by that problem, so what can we do to engage people to take action on their own poverty?

The libertarian educationalist in me thinks that we need to invest time in equipping people with the skills and knowledge to find solutions to their own poverty as there isn’t a univeral solution to worldwide poverty – we need to ensure that the voices of the people who are being affected directly by poverty are heard in the discussions to allocate resources. It is more that participation we need to bring social action to the discssion on solutions to poverty!

I will be back to blog more on how to create spaces for a more deliberative discussion that leads to action on poverty later after I come back from the G-Nation Awards!!

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

4 thoughts on “Action on Poverty

  1. Pingback: Forever young » Blog Archive » Action on Poverty

  2. I think sometimes the discussion of how “we” can help people “suffering” from poverty needs to change more towards understanding that most of those people are just getting on with their normal lives.

    Rather than simply considering what ‘we’ can do to ‘help the suffering people’ more effort needs to be put on letting people get on with it themselves and letting them identify what additional support they feel they need (something that can only happen at a very local level in my opinion before corruption or bigger interests come into play).

    I think the point about Youth Act is very relevant – over the years we did courses with Youth Act groups there were clear differences between those groups that wanted to campaign on an issue they were genuinely interested in and those who chose a topic just because they had to as part of the process. This links nicely back to my first point to question how many well intended services are given over to communities that actually don’t want them?

    Part of the problem with the notion of “we helping” is the implication “they helpless”, yet in those communities are highly intelligent, highly motivated people capable of helping themselves. So I wonder sometimes whether the debate should be what we can do? or whats stopping them from doing it?

  3. I think you are right about the ‘we’ trying to help the helpless ‘them’ and I suppose the reality of poverty means that it is not an equal playing field. We talk about poverty alleviation as an action we take against poverty and people trapped in it so you are right the debate itself needs to be re-shaped – what can we do? Something to pass the power back so that people can do something to alleviate their own poverty I suppose (that all sounds great in theory but how it will work in practice is the real issue!)

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