How can one person act in order to end poverty? Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of blogs to show you how your actions can make a difference.
At the Global Poverty Project we group the actions you can take into six categories: learn, talk, volunteer, buy, donate and shout.
The first of these actions is to learn more. Many people reading this may now be thinking ‘How can my learning more about poverty help end it?’ I will admit that, were I not already involved in the campaign to end extreme poverty, I may be tempted to ask the same question.
We’ve all heard the old adage knowledge is power. As people gain knowledge about issues of extreme poverty, they gain the power to act to bring an end to it. We gain the power to hold our leaders to account for the pledges they make, to ensure that they are working in the correct areas and in the correct way and to encourage others to take action.
To give one example of how learning can give people the power to act to end poverty, have a look at the video below telling Caroline Hurd’s story:
To gain knowledge about issues is also the primary way you can ensure any aid delivered is done so effectively.
In 1987, the ORB embarked on a project to install mills in rural communities in Mali. The project was blighted by a lack of knowledge from the outset. The end result of this lack of research and local knowledge meant that the mills, rather than bringing the community together, generated resentment and discord, the project took a year to complete, rather than the planned three months. Furthermore, the mills had the wrong grindstones installed, leading to all four of them breaking and because there was no written agreement they were never repaired. The entire project was wasted. You can read the full story here.
In the wake of the tsunami millions of people donated clothes to support those affected. However, while well intentioned, it was not fulfilling the primary needs of the recipients of the aid, which were food, water and shelter.
Taking the time to learn more means that you can ensure you’re not inadvertently supporting projects that don’t work, and that you can see beyond the headlines in newspapers about progress in fighting poverty. To help get you started, we have published a list of useful books here, and a guide to learning on the web here.
If you’ve got a story of how you, or someone you know has made a difference in the campaign to end extreme poverty through learning, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below or by upload a video, photo or story to our creative commitments page in the category ‘How I’m helping to end poverty’.