Friday, March 14, 2014

16 Trends: # 14 poverty

Living in India I'm closer to poverty than almost anywhere I've lived before.  In the neighbourhood next to my home there are people who live on the streets and are really destitute.  Yesterday I was reading statistics that show that almost half the world's population is living on less than $2 a day, and over a billion people are living on less than $1 a day.  The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger, despite the fact that governments around the world have set the goal of reducing poverty.  One issue (as mentioned in trends 1 and 2) is that the world's population is getting bigger.  In fact the % of people living on less than a dollar a day is around 15% of the world - this % has fallen in recent years - but because the population of the world has grown, the absolute numbers of those living in poverty remains the same.

Let's think about how this affects education.  Poverty determines the number of children who do not attend school (because they are doing other things).  The figures from the UN show that 10 years ago over 100 million children were not receiving even an elementary education - most of these were in Africa and south Asia and there was a much higher proportion of girls who did not attend school than boys.  This is a vicious circle because without education there is little chance to breaking out of the cycle of poverty.  Poverty limits education, and a lack of education leads to an increase in poverty, which in turn could lead to frustration, anger and instability.  The essence of this is that poverty makes us all poor.  Let's hope that people and governments become aware of this trend - and that they have the will and the resources to tackle it.

Photo Credit: fanz via Compfight cc

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