The First Step to Fixing Poverty is Talking About It

“Educating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.” –UNDP, 2021

Graphic from Hannah Medina

There is a reason the goal of eradicating poverty is the number one goal of The United Nations Development Programme. No matter where you go or the people you meet, the expansiveness of poverty across the world still exists. It exists that there are still 736 million people living in extreme versions of it daily. So how do we begin to change this course towards that of a brighter future? In many respects, this boils down to how we communicate not only with our peers but interculturally so that a more significant impact may be made.

Awareness

The first step in starting this “harmonic discourse” of communication is overcoming the inner fear of isolation from others, therefore, inhibiting our abilities of both productivity and human potential (Martin & Nakayama, 2018). “Harmonic discourse,” which is the ability to hold an intelligible conversation with others while still holding personal integrity, begins with the first step to making social change, awareness.

The suggestions of awareness, acceptance, and action all follow along a path that may lead to further social change. It takes humility and openness to honestly acknowledge the oppression and struggle those facing the daily exertion of severe poverty experience with awareness. Not looking at this global problem from our societal high horse that seems to employ a sense of blame on other communities, or individuals, for somehow not being capable of fixing this problem themselves.

Acceptance

Furthermore, the usage of acceptance in the situation exists. We may play a part in both the lessening and, unfortunately if no action is taken, the worsening of it in the near future. Giving attention to the widespread problem of poverty is part of this next step of moving forward. Everyone has a role to play in the betterment of this issue, but for that fact to be accepted, we must educate and bring attention to a problem many would rather stay ignorant of.

Action

The final suggestion in this process is to take action, to do something. Oppression is a system that is constantly fed from others’ silence in the world. Financial contribution, virtual volunteerism, providing subject matter expertise, even raising awareness among friends and colleagues are viable options that could be accessible at this moment.

As a more specific example, in Morocco, poverty and lack of attention are at an all-time high from the past year of setbacks. “Morocco’s Gini Coefficient, an index of a country’s income inequality, was highest of all countries in Northern Africa, at 40.3%” (Yi, 2020). Morocco as a country has a 10.5% unemployment rate and only a 68.5% literacy rate. With these numbers, it is easier to understand where the root of this problem is in this country, education. With a lack of access to proper education systems in these regions and other countries besides Morocco, the ability to prosper and gain access to more opportunities to grow the community shrink significantly. Implementing proper education for these communities and job opportunities may lead to a quicker turnaround in these areas. To move towards a brighter future and create a world where all individuals may have access to running water and four walls to live is not an easy fix. It must start at the root of the problem, the education of a nation.

In other countries such as South Sudan and Yemen, the poverty crisis continues to increase. In South Sudan alone, over 73% of adults are considered illiterate, and 80% considered living in poverty. Yemen has been listed as one of the top countries in the world to experience child labor and is considered “now the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”

The solution to these countries’ dire need for change is not held within how much funding may be thrown towards them. It comes down to awareness and how the world may begin to stop playing ignorant to these timely issues.

The road to changing the stance of poverty in our world today may not come down to a string of 750 words, but it is a start. Even through reading this article, you have begun your road from awareness to acceptance of the problem at hand. Begetting a chance of not only the UNDP reaching their goals but the world. And it all starts with the power of communication. So what conversation are you going to start?

References:

Alexander, L. (2020, June 30). The State of Poverty in Morocco. The Borgen Project. https://borgenproject.org/the-state-of-poverty-in- morocco.

Eljechtimi, A., & Laessing, U. (2018, August 3). One in three Moroccan graduates jobless in slack economy: planning chief. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-morocco-economy/one-in-three-moroccan-graduates-jobless-in-slack-economy-planning-chief-idUSKBN1KO1Z6.

Goal 1: No poverty. UNDP. https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable- development-goals/goal-1-no-poverty.html.

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2018). In Intercultural Communication in Contexts (7th ed., pp. 493–497). essay, McGraw-Hill Education — Europe.

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Hannah Medina

Hannah Medina

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