The global presentation, 1.4 Billion Reasons, was delivered by development advocate and student Hugh Evans at the Corn Exchange. He believes we can end poverty in our lifetime. The Global Poverty Project works to instil a connection in people so we can strive to eradicate the poverty that is destroying so many people in our world. They do this by communicating why poverty persists, what has been done and what needs to be done. Professor Christopher Dobson, Master of St John’s College, welcomed us and stated, “Impact has already been felt around the world” from this student led campaign, and that, “poverty is the modern form of slavery”.
Poverty is living on less than $1.25 per day. Many believe it is cheaper to live in developing countries, but research shows otherwise. In Indonesia this would buy 2 bowls of rice with vegetables with 10 cents left over to pay for bills, school, medicine and water. Education is crucial; without educated people the government will not be made to account for their actions. A generic look at poverty shows it is decreasing, however in Sub-Suharan Africa and Asia there has been an increase in poverty since 1981.
Ideas about how to eradicate poverty from the audience included importing only ethical goods. Valuing what is important – food not fast cars and wasting less food; as we found out later the UK throws away £10 billion per year.
The goals of the Global Poverty Project are to eradicate hunger – communities have elevated from hunger by farming their land. 99% of women who die during childbirth lived in the developing world, and so another goal is to improve maternal health. If London escaped from Cholera then developing countries can too, giving rise to combating disease. Progress is being made despite the collapsed medical infrastructure of developing countries, especially with HIV in Zimbabwe. Hairdressers are being trained as HIV educators funded by the department of international development. Therefore when people visit the hairdressers they will not only get the latest hairstyle, but will also be educated on HIV prevention. The feature film that was intermittently played throughout showed Gordon Brown stating there had been a debt relief of $100 billion which has gone towards vaccinations and building schools. The Global Poverty Project hopes to continue this goal of establishing global partnership for development until this has been achieved.
The barriers to ending poverty are many, but to name one – corruption. Teodorin Oblang who lives in a $21,000,000 mansion yet earns just over $2000 per month, as he treats oil revenues like his own property. This is one of too many examples of money from corrupt sources. Global income has tripled in recent years, whereas poverty has only halved. To name another – lack of resources. Natural resources are rapidly depleting, but there is aid – good aid and bad aid. Bad aid happened during the Tsunami when vast amounts of clothes were sent but they had no clean water, however good aid is aid that helps development for the long-term.
This matters to us because conflict, climate change and disease affect the whole world. If you would like to help this cause, there are many ways to get involved such as volunteer work where you can have an impact working in Cambridge, joining panel debates and buying fairtrade products. There may be a lot of statistics here, but as Hugh said, “these statistics have a human face”.
For more information on the project, or volunteering, visit: