HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.
“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 83). This blog is a continuation of the review of ENDING GLOBAL POVERTY: A GUIDE TO WHAT WORKS by Stephen C. Smith, published in 2005.
The Second Key: Basic education to build foundations for self-reliance
To be illiterate in the 21st century is truly to be blind to much of what the world has to offer.
Despite the fundamental importance of basic education, even today the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimates as many as 113 million primary school-age children do not attend school at all. Many children who enroll in government schools find no desks, no books, and often as not, no teachers.
The Third Key: Credit and basic insurance for working capital and defense against risk
For the poor rural peasant, access to credit provides the chance to purchase tools, a draft animal, or a small tractor, and irrigation. Thee animals and instruments can help a farmer greatly improve her productivity, help her diversify crops, and help her move toward commercial farming. Fertilizer, once a luxury, is now essential for survival in many poor areas, where population growth has necessitated an end to traditional practices that left land uncultivated for many years to restore its fertility.
Access to credit
For the poor landless laborer, access to credit can mean a chance to purchase raw materials (such as cloth) and tools (such as a sewing machine), and eventually move from the edge of survival to becoming an established businessperson. For the poor urban peddler, access to credit can mean a chance to build a bigger inventory so that she has items on hand when customers request them, and so that she can eventually move from the insecurity of being a petty street hawker to the stability of being an established vendor.
There has been an explosion of village banks
This message – that credit can be a powerful tool for poverty alleviation – has spread throughout the world. There has been a virtual explosion of microfinance institutions, sometimes called village banks – may sponsored and supported by donors in the developed countries. Millions of borrowers have taken part, and these banks have done much good, particularly when accompanied by programs that help the poor to gain some of the other keys to capability.
It has been estimated that microfinance institutions are currently serving only 11% of the world’s 240 million poorest families.
The effort to provide credit and insurance to the poorest to help them escape from working capital traps has only just begun.