Goal No. 1 is the most important out of all the 17 goals, but one that relies on all other goals being achieved, for us to see true success and the eradication of global poverty. In it’s simplest terms, this goal looks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Global Progress Made
Globally, since 1990 we’ve seen the greatest decrease in extreme poverty levels in modern history. Since 2015, the percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty decreased to 8.6%, down from 10% in 2015. This shows that progress to reducing extreme poverty has continued, however the rate at which it is decreasing has slowed.
Most of this progress has been seen in Eastern and Southern Asia which is incredibly promising and shows us at a top level, global efforts are working. However, the poverty rate remains high in countries impacted by conflict and political upheaval, and more recently, climate change. We’re seeing this exacerbation of extreme poverty as a result of violet conflicts and political upheaval mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The impacts of climate change will hit the most vulnerable communities across the world, who’s infrastructure and economic systems cannot cope.
Until recently, the areas which saw the largest percentages of their population living in extreme poverty were South and East Asia. Over the last couple of decades, these countries have seen incredible economic growth, resulting in millions of people receiving the resources and support required to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. This economic growth has not been seen in sub-Saharan Africa and current forecasts see 87% of the worlds poorest living in sub-Saharan Africa in 2030, if current trends continue. The rest we will see spread across South and East Asia and it’s so important to remember that just because the poverty rate is increasing in these countries, does not mean these people and their communities are out of the woods. Even if India reduced their poverty rate to 5% of their population (currently approx. 22%), close to 67 million people would still be impacted. Although rates are decreasing, the end of this fight will be the hardest and we must not leave anyone behind.
The issue we’re now facing is that the global community is not paying attention to the lowest of poverty lines and the very poorest communities are being left behind. Research tells us that in countries where we have seen extreme poverty rates be dramatically reduced, or completely decimated, this came about due to that whole country experiencing economic growth, not just a small pocket. This causes concern for reducing extreme poverty in countries like Tanzania where the economy is not growing.
FutureSense Foundation Efforts
The research above is good. It shows us that economies are growing and in a general sense, as a result, the number of people leaving in extreme poverty is decreasing overall. As an organisation however, our concern still lies for those living in rural and disconnected areas who have not experienced economic growth at this greater level or for a country like Tanzania where the economy is growing, but the population is increasing at a higher rate, meaning that while poverty rate has declined, the number of citizens living in poverty have not.
Many of the communities we work with and support across 6 countries live on, under or too close to the poverty line. Our work focuses on supporting these communities through Education, Health & Wellbeing and Livelihood programs as well as more recently, through grass-roots Climate Change advocacy and education
In Thailand, our Social Enterprise program looks to ensure we increase the economic opportunities in isolated hill-tribe villages while addressing social challenges in the region. By engaging a number of Australian Universities and Payap University in Chiang Mai, we have completed needs assessments and research in all of our partner hill-tribes to identify issues and opportunities. The hill-tribe villages are disconnected from Thailand’s overall education, health and social support system and as a result are communities that need immense support.
In Tanzania, our hub focuses on long-term development programs in Majenga Village, near Arusha. Our main community partner is the Bukha Primary School, where we work with over 1200 primary aged students focusing on a number of important topics to support and enhance their education and overall livelihood. Over the past years our teams in Tanzania have delivered sessions focused on clean water and sanitation, personal development and conversational English. We see these sessions providing confidence and support for students to encourage them to actively participate in their learning.
In the last two years, our focus on climate and the environment has increased tenfold. We’ve introduced Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability programs and have embedded these themes across our Health, Education and Livelihood programs as well. Our overseas hubs are working to become carbon neutral in 2020 and in the last few months our teams and volunteers have planted over 2000 trees, looking to absorb more than double the amount of carbon produced by the our volunteers’ international travel.
Our Education and Sustainability programs look at running grass-roots workshops focusing on the impacts of climate change, alternative ways to reduce plastic and rubbish aside from burning items, teaching about the impact of environmental degradation on public health, the creation of eco-bricks in Cambodia, and more. We understand that climate change is threatening our livelihoods and vulnerable communities will be the worst hit. Efforts made to reduce these negative impacts across the world will positively impact global poverty rates.
At the FutureSense Foundation we’re dedicated to playing our part in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and eradicating extreme poverty. As we enter into a new decade now is the time to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ in the fight to achieve the SDG’s.