Poverty

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What we're doing

Reducing poverty around the world

Our goal

To eradicate extreme poverty by 2030

What is poverty?

Poverty is the severe lack of certain possessions which significantly reduces the quality of a person’s life. People living in poverty struggle to meet basic needs, including having limited access to food, clothing, healthcare, education, shelter and safety. People affected by poverty may also lack social, economic, political or material income and resources.

Poverty is a complex web of circumstances that hinders the very survival of people around the world. The World Bank’s definition of people living in poverty is those living on less than US$1.90 a day, but poverty isn’t just a low income – it is a lack of access to services and essential goods.

At World Vision, we are tirelessly working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is a set of global goals for the world to achieve by 2030, including to:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty for all people, everywhere.
  • Ensure that all girls and boys get to go to school.
  • Increase wealth for the world’s poorest countries and communities.
  • End preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age.
  • Double the global rate of energy efficiency improvements and increase renewable energy.
  • End all forms of violence against children.

“We are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a safer and more sustainable world for children everywhere.” – Claire Rogers, CEO, World Vision Australia

The consequences of poverty are far-reaching and long-lasting, including child deaths, lack of access to education and food insecurity, all of which can be caused by poverty and in turn can perpetuate it.

LEFT: Streetscapes of Jaipur, India, May 2013. RIGHT: A garbage tip, where people live, in South Delhi, India.

Poverty is responsible for the deaths of more than six million children before their fifth birthdays, and a child under 15 dies every five seconds around the world. Poverty contributes to a lack of access to healthcare and immunisations, as well as to proper nutrition, leaving children vulnerable to mostly preventable illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. Malnutrition is responsible for 45 percent of all deaths in children aged under five.

The situation is improving, and the number of deaths has fallen. In the late 1960s, 20 million children under the age of five died every year. In 1990 it was 12 million. However, almost 805 million people in the world – one in nine – don’t have enough access to food.

Drought, a lack of money, low productivity and poor health and limited education among farmers all contribute to food insecurity. A natural disaster or conflict, like the current situation facing Rohingya people who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, can further exacerbate an inability to access food, and families living in poverty are less able to make up the shortfall when markets change dramatically.

World Vision addresses both the short-term and long-term causes of hunger and food insecurity in many countries around the world, by teaching farmers how to nurture their land, prevent soil degradation and increase sustainability and productivity. We also provide farmers with new varieties of seed that are both more productive and nutritious, and training in improved agricultural techniques.

When food is assured and children don’t have to contribute to providing food, water and firewood to a household, they can focus on the education that will help lift them and their own children out of poverty.

Educated mothers, for example, are better informed about healthcare and appropriate nutrition, and raise healthier children. Education also results in higher wages and economic growth, with each additional year of schooling equating to a 10 percent increase in wages.

Poverty and its effects

45%

child mortality rate

Malnutrition is responsible for 45 percent of all deaths in children aged under five

805 million

people

Almost 805 million people in the world – one in nine – don’t have access to enough food

$1.90

living cost per day

People living in extreme poverty live on less than $1.90 a day

What is World Vision doing?

Education supports the growth of civil society, democracy and political stability, allowing people to learn about their rights and acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise them.

Once educated, opening up economic opportunities for people living in poverty is a fundamental step in helping them transform their lives. By identifying the ways incomes can be improved, communities can begin the process of wealth creation – an integral part of reducing poverty.

Higher incomes give children better opportunities to access education and healthcare, ensuring the cycle of poverty is broken.

World Vision works with communities by providing small loans to create and expand businesses, and help improve access to local and international markets. We also establish community savings groups and provide education and training to foster entrepreneurship.

World Vision also supports proven, cost-effective solutions that improve children’s health: immunisation, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, exclusive breastfeeding, oral rehydration to prevent death from diarrhoea, more skilled birth attendants, nutrition programs, and access to programs to learn improved hygiene practices.

break the cycle of poverty You can help children live life in all its fullness.

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