• Realizing the Dream: September’s Bread for the Preacher

    Did you know that each month the church relations department at Bread for the World produces a resource specifically for pastors? Whether you are searching for inspiration for a sermon you’re writing, or just a lectionary enthusiast, Bread for the Preacher is for you. After reading this introduction, explore this month’s readings on the Bread for the Preacher web page, where you can also sign up to have the resource emailed to you each month. By Rev. Gary Cook A…

  • Indian Farmers Facing Affliction

    Suicide can be defined as the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally by an individual driven to despair out of a complex web of motivations. It is estimated that more than a quarter of a million of Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last 16 years. Even while this figure is […]

    The post Indian Farmers Facing Affliction appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Home Gardens: Alleviating Hunger in Developing Countries

    Homestead gardening in developing countries is now being viewed as a key to alleviating hunger and providing a source of nutrition for millions of people in developing countries. For low-income families, the quantity of food they consume must also be supplemented by adequate nutrition; research conducted by the Lancet earlier this year concluded that malnutrition […]

    The post Home Gardens: Alleviating Hunger in Developing Countries appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Irrigation Could End Poverty

    By now, it is a well known fact that clean water is necessary for drinking and hygiene. About 1.1 billion people go without clean water every day and must rely on polluted or infected supplies to survive. Even more than that go without basic sanitation. But, water is not just for human consumption and cleanliness. […]

    The post Irrigation Could End Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Essay 4: Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger

    The fourth essay in the Bread for the World series, called Development Works, is all about farmers solving problems. 

  • Reality Checks for High Level Panels

    Overcoming the dehumanization produced by a system of consumption, and reinvigorating love in every human being’s heart. Union and harmonious interaction in diversity are the…

Coffee Production in Vietnam

Coffee Production in VietnamIn southeast Asia, Vietnam has dominated the coffee industry as the second-largest producer in the world behind Brazil. In 2016 alone, 1.8 million tons of coffee worth the equivalent of over $3 billion, was exported from Vietnam. Coffee production in Vietnam means more than popularity. It means economic stability and eliminating poverty.

Historical Production of Coffee

Coffee culture is an established social tradition in nearly all countries. Coffee beans have been one of the most impactful and cultivated products dating back to the 15th century. Societies changed with the creation of coffee houses and advances in technology to keep up with demands. The spike in crop exportation shifted coffee from an early morning refreshment to a global trade phenomenon.

Coffee production in Vietnam stems from French colonization in the mid-1850s. The Robusta bean became widespread throughout the country. After WWII and the Vietnam War, private farming opened up for more business opportunities. Vietnam began to slowly regain economic security in the late 1980s. Since then, 3 million jobs have been generated from coffee-based agriculture.

Technology

Advances in machinery have cut costs for farmers and have kept coffee production in Vietnam consistent compared with other competitors. Reducing the labor-intensive strip-picking with automative and mechanical harvesters has become the norm. Even hand-made equipment serve farmers by reducing damage to trees. Investing in technology to improve sustainability practices contributes to the national output. Coffee production in Vietnam has also profited due to investments put into advanced coffee plantlets from companies such as Nestlé.

Irrigation has a significant impact on coffee plantations due to water stress. Monitoring groundwater changes with water pilots help farmers evaluate how to manage aquifer recharge. Less water and pesticide use means a higher yield for farmers without paying more to combat the effects of climate change.

Gender Equality

Integrating women into coffee production in Vietnam has provided them with increased job opportunities. In contrast with predominantly male-run businesses, the coffee sector provides better access to women who wish to pursue business ventures.

Eighty-five percent of both men and women participate in economic enterprises in Vietnam. The inclusivity of women is higher in Vietnam than in other developing countries, where women are performing unpaid work. Through the booming coffee industry, women have aided in economic development through coffee trading companies. Negotiation strategies implemented by women through buyers and farmers prove to be successful. Training for the coffee supply chain given to women empowers them to make their own household decisions as entrepreneurs, and even own larger plots of land. Gender equality in the workplace is paving ways for gender equality throughout the country.

Sustainability

Vietnam has been ahead of other competitors regarding sustainable coffee production. Cooperatives such as K’Ho Coffee have utilized sustainable strategies such as planting nitrogen-fixing crops alongside coffee plants. This enhances the fertility of the soil. In addition, farmers raised free-range livestock and planted their own produce on their property to provide for themselves. Some experts also suggest that intercropping is the best way to increase the yield.

Programs focused on sustainable coffee production in Vietnam also increase annual income for farmers. The Sustainable Coffee Program has run for four years to help farmers adapt to the changing market. The program’s focus involved various ways to increase production, from resiliency to climate change to developing financial awareness.

Combating the risk of groundwater depletion through soil testing and reducing energy outputs helps the country produce coffee at low costs. Being sustainably certified puts Vietnam at the top of the competition. Improved efficiency within smallholder farms means less waste as well.

With a forecasted output of 32.2 million bags for 2020 and the country exceeding exportation rates to the US and the UK, Vietnam plans to stay near the top of the coffee sector. Coffee production in Vietnam turned a once-war-torn country into an export powerhouse. Locals enjoy quality coffee in various ways while tourists seek to try Cà phê trúng, egg coffee, for the first time. The tiny green bean is more than just a sweet morning pick-me-up. It’s a growing culture that is ever-changing the success of the country.

-Sydney Stokes
Photo: PIXABY

The post Coffee Production in Vietnam appeared first on The Borgen Project.

5 Facts About Poverty in Sri Lanka

Poverty in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island country that has 21.7 million inhabitants. However, that number sharply increases throughout the months of December to March as tourists flock to the island to visit its alluring beaches and mountainous terrain. The island nation resembles a tropical paradise, but poverty in Sri Lanka remains a critical concern as the country is still recovering from the tumultuous 30-year civil war which occurred from 1983 until 2009. Over the past decade, Sri Lanka has focused on reconstructing its economy and restructuring the distribution of wealth. The nation has made significant improvements but many serious issues remain in regard to poverty and the reconstruction process. Here are five facts about poverty in Sri Lanka.

5 Facts About Poverty in Sri Lanka

  1. Economic Growth and Living Standards: The poverty rate of Sri Lanka (excluding the Northern and Eastern provinces) decreased from 22.7% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2013. Unfortunately, the nation’s living standards do not reflect the same improvement. In 2013, approximately 45% of the population survived on less than $5 per day. However, the Sri Lankan economy has grown at an average of 5.6% over the past 10 years. This significant growth rate is expanding the middle class, improving purchasing power and increasing the disposable income of Sri Lankan citizens. Consequently, experts expect that living standards in Sri Lanka will improve in the years to come.
  2. Rural Versus Urban Regions: Sri Lanka has a large rural sector which causes an unequal spatial distribution of wealth. In 2013, 75% of Sri Lanka’s total population and more than 85% of Sri Lanka’s poor population lived in rural areas. The country’s wealth largely concentrates in urban centers, limiting poor, rural citizens’ access to resources and establishing a correlated pattern of economic inequality. After the Sri Lankan Civil War ended in 2009, the nation began rebuilding its economy with a focus on manufacturing and important services. This focus encourages the expansion of an urban-based economy which will help to spread resources and balance the apparent economic inequality.
  3. The Agriculture Industry: Almost 30% of Sri Lanka’s workforce and about 50% of the employed poor work in the agriculture industry. The agriculture industry typically has lower wages and fewer opportunities to advance compared to jobs in other sectors. Therefore, it is difficult for poor Sri Lankans in the agriculture sector to increase their annual income and improve their social standing, further perpetuating the rural pockets of poverty in Sri Lanka. Urbanization helps to counteract this phenomenon as it enables rural inhabitants to experience the resources and opportunities that once concentrated in Sri Lanka’s crowded cities. This structural transformation provides a wider array of choices in terms of employment and leisure, and it encourages poorer citizens working in the agriculture sector to engage in more productive industries which resultantly challenges the cycle of poverty in Sri Lanka.
  4. Key Development Indicators: Other socioeconomic issues, such as malnutrition and climate change, directly affect Sri Lanka’s poverty rate. According to the World Food Programme, 22% of Sri Lankans are undernourished or malnourished which signifies that many citizens lack necessary vitamins and minerals. Climate change also negatively affects the poverty rate in Sri Lanka as severe floods and droughts threaten food security and limit access to clean water. To combat these issues, the Sri Lankan government partnered with the World Food Programme to provide “technical and policy support to build national capacity to ensure access to food, end malnutrition and improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers.” Additionally, the Sri Lankan government has made significant advances in reducing maternal mortality and increasing access to primary education. The percentage of skilled practitioners attending births in Sri Lanka has dramatically increased in recent years. Resultantly, Sri Lanka’s maternal mortality ratio has decreased from 500-600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to 60 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020. Education is a primary focus for the Sri Lankan government, as education is one of the most salient factors in alleviating poverty. Today, 99.08% of children ages 5 to 14 years old attend primary school in Sri Lanka.
  5. COVID-19: Predictions determine that Sri Lanka will experience a 25% (or $750 million) decrease in exports due to COVID-19. The global pandemic has dramatically reduced Sri Lanka’s export earnings, consumption and investment. As a result, top export industries (apparel, tea and rubber) have had to deliver devastating job and earning cuts. Social distancing requirements continue to restrict job performance and tourism, thereby threatening the stability of the economy and the national poverty rate. While the country braces for the economic impact, the government has focused on efforts to contain the spread of the virus. In April 2020, the Sri Lankan government issued a 24-hour curfew, closed all international flights and increased coronavirus testing to slow its spread. These measures made identifying cases of coronavirus quicker and easier which prevented thousands of more deaths from occurring, and which limited the damage to the national economy and poverty rate.

While these five facts about poverty in Sri Lanka show the country’s challenges, it has made significant strides to reduce its poverty rate. Through its continued work independently and with NGOs like the World Food Programme, the country should be able to continue alleviating its poverty rate.

Ashley Bond
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The post 5 Facts About Poverty in Sri Lanka appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Decreasing Poverty in Ethiopia

poverty in Ethiopia
There have been both strides and setbacks in recent years in the process of decreasing poverty in Ethiopia. Poverty in the region has been steadily falling. Several factors, including increased agriculture and a decreasing fertility rate, are responsible for this decline. However, the developing nation needs to do much more to stay on track.

The poverty rate in Ethiopia has been on a steady decline for the last 10 years. As a result, the country’s health and quality of life have been improving. The World Bank reported that the national poverty rate decreased from 29.6% to 23.5% between 2011 and 2016. Here is a breakdown of what is decreasing poverty in Ethiopia. 

The Agricultural Factor

One of the main ways that Ethiopia has improved its poverty rate is through increased agricultural activities, which are the backbone of its economy. Data from 2018 shows that the majority of the population, approximately 80%, live in rural areas. Additionally, the World Bank estimated that in 2018, approximately 67% of employment was in agriculture. For Ethiopians, agriculture is a vital part of their income. As a result, one of the most effective ways of targeting poverty in Ethiopia is stimulating the agricultural industry. 

The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency has been identifying and remedying obstacles in Ethiopia’s agricultural industry since 2010. According to the ATA’s website, it operates “in order to provide a platform to address the most critical systemic bottlenecks constraining fulfillment of agriculture sector goals and targets identified by the government.”

Another project that is positively impacting Ethiopia’s agricultural industry is the Second Agricultural Growth Project. This project began in 2015 and aids in commercializing and increasing agricultural production.

All of this work has been paying off. According to a report published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Ethiopia’s total agricultural output in 2013/14 had risen an impressive 124% since 2004/5. With agriculture playing such a large role in Ethiopia’s economy, a continued focus on expanding and commercializing this sector of the economy should continue to help eradicate poverty in the country.

The Fertility Rate Factor

Another factor affecting Ethiopia’s poverty rates is a decrease in the fertility rate. The fertility rate is a measure of the average number of children per woman. In Ethiopia, the fertility rate has fallen from approximately 6.5 children in 2000 to 4.2 children in 2018. Fertility rates often correlate with poverty because the birth of fewer children results in a smaller drain on the nation’s resources. Countries with lower fertility rates can often offer better resources to citizens because more resources are available to each child.

Setbacks

While the nation is working towards overcoming poverty, it still plagues daily life in many ways. One particular effect of poverty on public health is a lack of resources for maintaining hygiene, which is particularly vital in the era of COVID-19. A lack of running water in the country has led a chunk of the population, around 22%, to practice open defecation. This practice has many health risks for the Ethiopian public, as it often leads to people coming into contact with fecal pathogens.

Another hygiene-related issue tied to poverty in Ethiopia is a lack of running water to wash hands. In Ethiopia, approximately 30% of the population is without a facility in which they can practice basic hand washing. During the era of COVID-19, hand washing is more important than ever, and this lack of washing facilities could be detrimental to the country.

Steps Forward

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project at World Vision Ethiopia has made great strides in providing clean drinking water and sanitation to Ethiopia. WVE’s project “principally aims to reach children and families with a holistic suite of WASH interventions.”

WVE has made a big difference since it started the WASH project in 2011. Between 2011 and 2018, WVE successfully provided 2.4 million Ethiopians with dignified sanitation. In addition to this success, it was also able to make sure that 2.45 million Ethiopians are practicing good hygiene.

In addition to the WASH project, WVE also works to fight disease and sickness. The organization’s programs contribute to the health of more than 3.5 million vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Over the past 10 years, the organization has successfully built a hospital, 55 health centers, 257 health posts and 131 additional maternity blocks. The programs also renovated 11 outdated facilities and worked to provide the facilities with the necessary equipment.

WVE has also committed itself to combating illiteracy in Ethiopia, a necessity in any developing country. It offers a literacy program to children in Ethiopia, which is to help the children further their reading skills.

Over the past 10 years, there have been great steps forward towards decreasing poverty in Ethiopia. While these improvements are cause for celebration, it is also vital to address the poverty that still exists in the developing nation. All too often, people see progress as a sign that efforts are working and that they can simply maintain them or even cut them back. Ethiopia’s recent success is an encouraging sign, but one that needs to spur, not curtail further action.

– Sophia Gardner
Photo: Flickr

The post Decreasing Poverty in Ethiopia appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Taiwan: from Poor to Prosperous

Prosperity in TaiwanAfter World War II, Taiwan faced severe poverty. The conflict between China and Japan ravaged the land, and the Chinese Civil War that followed brought about even more destruction. By then, the majority of the Taiwanese people lived in absolute poverty; over 60% of the population were farmers just scraping by. However, as of 2019, Taiwan’s GDP broke $1.2 trillion. With a Purchasing Power Parity of $52,300, Taiwan now ranks 19th highest in terms of GDP per capita. So, how did prosperity in Taiwan develop so quickly?

Foreign Aid

After the war, nations, especially the United States, provided aid for hundreds of millions. From 1950 to 1965, U.S. Aid accounted for roughly 6.5% of Taiwan’s GDP. The stimulus worked: the funds sparked Taiwan’s economy and resulted in self-sustainable and rapid economic growth. The country became part of a group called The Four Asian Tigers, consisting of Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The rapid industrialization of these nations pushed their economic growth rates near 8%, which is an extraordinarily high mark. In Taiwan’s case, this phenomenon became known as the Taiwan Miracle.

Agricultural Economy

When the Japanese occupied Taiwan, they established a tenant farming system. More than 70% of farmers were part of this system, where they labored only to give the majority of their harvest to their landlords. The distribution of land, wealth and power was absurdly unequal.

However, after the war, in 1949, Taiwan’s Provisional Governor, Chen Cheng, advocated for land reform that would allow farmers to own the land they toiled. The revolution took place without bloodshed. Moreover, rice yield went up 46% in just a 4-year span after the reform, from 1.037 million metric tons in 1948 to 1.517 million metric tons in 1952. This increased yield freed up a vast labor source, who left the farms and sought new opportunities.

Investing in People

With little natural resources on the island, Taiwan took to investing in its greatest asset: the people. An indicator called the Human Development Index score is calculated in regards to the standard of living, life expectancy and education of a country. Taiwan’s Human Development Index score of 0.880 ranks them 6th in Asia.

Taiwan’s investments in education led to valuable innovation. In 1987, Taiwan established the world’s first semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Today, TSMC is the third-largest producer of semiconductors, right behind South Korea’s Samsung and the United States’ Intel. These chips are found in electrical devices around the world, and, moreover, TSMC provides thousands of high-paying jobs. The current state of the Taiwanese economy sets a definitive difference from the agricultural economy just a few decades ago; prosperity in Taiwan is exponentially greater today than it used to be.

Conclusion

Taiwan’s rapid shift from poor to prosperous, also known as the Taiwan Miracle, demonstrates how foreign aid can greatly influence the development of a nation. Their story is one of rags to riches on a national scale.

Today, prosperity in Taiwan marks the country among the wealthiest in Asia despite its small size. Taiwan has experienced the first-hand benefits of aid; now, Taiwan has become a donor itself. The country works to lessen poverty, increase harvests and assist with medical care across the globe. Perhaps the countries receiving Taiwan’s aid will someday become the next helping hand, and the Taiwan Miracle will live on in the receiving and giving of other developing countries to continue the chain effect of poor to prosperous.

Jacob Pugmire
Photo: Unsplash

The post Taiwan: from Poor to Prosperous appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Science-Based Targets Initiative Fights Poverty

Science-Based TargetsThe Science-Based Targets initiative is a coalition of 885 companies to date that have set goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The overarching goal of the initiative is to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement’s established standard of limiting temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The initiative lays out guidelines and strategies for companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies can accomplish this while producing transparent reports on their current emission levels. The purpose of this is to increase the companies’ credibility and public reputation. A team of experts reviews and approves each company’s proposed strategy to ensure that the strategy is effective and efficient. The initiative is led by a group of NGOs who work to reduce emissions: the CPD, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund. Some notable American companies taking part in the initiative include Walmart, Unilever and Coca-Cola. However, companies from countries across the globe are taking part.

Setting Science-Based Targets not only benefits the environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions, but it also benefits each company internally. The initiative conducted a series of polls of company executives to quantify how setting a Science-Based Target benefits their companies. The poll found that 63% of the executives said that Science-Based Targets drive innovation. This is because companies must find greener, more eco-friendly ways to conduct business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, 52% of the executives found that establishing Science-Based Targets has improved investor confidence. Many investors choose to assess a company based on its environmental friendliness. Therefore, partnering with the Science-Based Targets initiative gives companies credibility and a good reputation in these terms.

How Will the Science-Based Targets Initiative Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

The Science-Based Targets initiative describes three approaches companies can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

  1. A Sector-based Approach: Every sector in the economy receives a carbon emissions budget. If the companies are in excess of the budget, then they are tasked to find a way to reduce their emissions.
  2. An Absolute-based Approach: The initiative sets a blanket percent reduction in carbon emissions for all companies globally. Those companies would have to reduce their emissions by that specified amount.
  3. An Economic-based Approach: Each company’s gross profit is a share of global gross domestic product. Each company must reduce its carbon emissions proportional to the size of its share.

No matter the approach, the goal of each method is to reduce a company’s carbon emissions, with the overarching goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the increase in the Earth’s global temperature caused by greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane) trapping solar radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere. Some solar radiation is reflected back into space, but other radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and reradiated back to Earth. In 2018, carbon dioxide accounted for 81% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing carbon emissions reduces the greenhouse effect, preventing Earth’s temperature from sharply increasing.

How Does Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Help the World’s Poor?

Natural disasters, such as flooding and drought, disproportionately affect the world’s poor. Millions living in poverty are farmers, and weather changes easily affect agriculture. The livelihood of these farmers depends on predictable weather patterns, so natural disasters could be devastating to them. They could also devastate the world’s food supply. If farmers are unable to produce crops at the same rates due to changing weather patterns, food prices could rise. As a result, this could leave the world’s poor at risk of not being able to afford sufficient food.

Climate gentrification has disproportionate impacts on the world’s poor. Climate gentrification is the notion that the wealthy have the means to escape natural disasters, whereas the poor do not. Rising sea levels and increased temperatures may cause many to have to relocate. However, the poor may not have the resources to relocate. This puts them in grave danger and exposes them to the devastation caused by natural disasters.

By reducing carbon emissions in the private sector, the Science-Based Targets initiative hopes to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. These actions could save millions who could be subject to natural disasters. Reducing carbon emissions slows the greenhouse effect, preventing the global temperature from reaching unlivable levels. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions could prevent the millions already in poverty from being subject to natural disasters. The Science-Based Targets initiative is quickly gaining traction worldwide. One would hope that the private sector continues to do its part to reduce global carbon emissions.

Harry Yeung
Photo: Flickr

The post Science-Based Targets Initiative Fights Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Examining Poverty in Rwanda

Poverty in Rwanda
Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the center of Africa. With a sprawling savanna in the east and mountainous jungle in the west, the country has impressive natural features that have increasingly drawn international intrigue. Beyond Rwanda’s natural wonders, there have been great strides to combat poverty in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people died in 100 days. While the country faces substantial obstacles, there are many positive indicators of Rwanda’s future economic stability.

The Good News

Over the last two decades, Rwanda has shown an average annual GDP growth rate of 7%; this is consistently above the average in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another promising factor is that Rwanda has an increasingly diverse economy. Traditional sectors, such as agriculture and services, are contributing alongside emerging sectors, such as electricity, infrastructure and construction. Tourism has also been a key factor and now contributes to 10% of the national GDP.

Due to these economic advances, Rwanda has become the darling of the World Bank. The World Bank consistently invests hundreds of millions of dollars in public improvement projects in areas ranging from education to renewable energy. The results of those projects are promising. From 2009 to 2019 national electricity access jumped from 9% to 47%. Additionally, through the World Bank-supported Rwanda Urban Development Project, six cities have directly benefited from a massive increase in urban roads and stand-alone drainage.

The Obstacles

Poverty in Rwanda is still significant; around 39% of the population lives below the poverty line. One contributing factor is that Rwanda suffers from a poor education system where only 68% of first-graders end up completing all six years of primary education. Another component is that domestic private investment in Rwanda has yet to take off, mainly due to low domestic savings. Additionally, many rural Rwandans operate subsistence farms and thus have little disposable time and income.

According to The Washington Post, the authoritarian streaks of Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, are another hindrance to the alleviation of poverty in Rwanda. In recent years, tourists have marveled at the clean streets of Rwanda’s cities. What those tourists cannot see, is the forced removal of “undesirables” into detention centers.

In rural areas, the government has burned farmers’ fields because they did not grow their assigned crops. Rural residents have also had to deal with Kagame’s heavy-handed approach to modernization. In some villages, Rwanda’s regime has stripped villagers of their grass roofs with the promise they would return with metal replacements. When the new roofs do not come residents live in exposure which leads to illness and fatalities.

Some of Kagame’s policies have drawn international outrage. In 2012, Kagame supported Congolese rebels which resulted in the United States and the European Union suspending international aid. Another similar scenario may be on the horizon with recent reports of Kagame’s regime manipulating poverty statistics.

In 2019, a Financial Times analysis of poverty statistics found that the government was misrepresenting data to exaggerate the decrease in poverty. Despite that claim, the World Bank has continued its myriad of investments in the country and so have many other major donors. However, as countries on a global scale focus more resources domestically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international aid to Rwanda is in danger. Aid is still necessary to prevent catastrophic consequences as Rwanda is experiencing a dire humanitarian situation. The silver lining is that many of Rwanda’s usual donors are still in positions to assist.

The pandemic has also adversely affected tourism and exports, which are huge pillars of the Rwandan economy. Furthermore, as the country directs its healthcare workers and fiscal resources towards emergency response, other health concerns, such as the AIDS epidemic, move to the sidelines.

Hope for Poverty in Rwanda

Though Rwanda has problems that it cannot easily solve, there still is hope. Before the pandemic, Rwanda’s economic growth exceeded 10% in 2019. A two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal primary school enrolment accompanied this statistic.

Additionally, two World Bank-funded projects including the Rural Sector Support Program, and the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation Project have increased the productivity and commercialization of rural agriculture. As a result, maize and rice yields doubled and potato yields tripled between 2010 and 2018. These results are especially promising considering poverty in Rwanda is the most severe in rural areas.

Rwanda has also achieved a strong level of political stability. Women make up 62% of the national legislature and previously marginalized opposition parties have gained parliamentary seats without disrupting the system’s stability. These are indicators that will increase confidence in foreign investors. While Rwanda has a troubled history, the future holds a lot of potential.

Cole Penz
Photo: Wikimedia

The post Examining Poverty in Rwanda appeared first on The Borgen Project.

How Daylilies in China Are Fighting Poverty

daylilies in ChinaChinese President Xi Jinping has made substantial efforts to alleviate poverty in China for the millions living without basic necessities. In 2015, President Jinping set the goal of eliminating poverty in China by 2020. There were 1.4 billion people in poverty at that time. The government defined impoverished people as earning less than $1.10 a day. This is a lower benchmark than the World Bank poverty guideline of $1.90 a day. While some of his methods to alleviate rural poverty have been conventional, like increasing tourism and promoting produce production, in one Chinese district, his tactic has been far from ordinary. Here’s an explanation of how daylilies in China are fighting poverty.

What are Daylilies?

The Yunzhou district of China is located about 200 miles west of Beijing, in the Yanshan and Taihang mountains. Given its remote location, the cities in that district have dealt with high levels of poverty. However, in the last decade, farmers have capitalized on the fecund growth of daylilies. Farmers have positioned the daylilies to alleviate the district’s poverty and poverty in China generally. 

Daylilies are an edible flower used in Chinese herbal medicine. According to studies, they possess detoxification properties, aid in reducing insomnia, lessening hemorrhoids and calming nerves. Daylilies in China belong to a heartier class of flowers since they can grow in a variety of soil conditions. Additionally, the flower itself can come in many colors. Its botanical name, Hemerocallis, translates to “beauty for a day” because most daylilies will bloom in the morning and die by nightfall. However, the flower will stay in bloom for several weeks because each stem has over 12 flower buds. 

Though areas in the district like Datong city and Fangchong new village have been cultivating daylilies for over 600 years, the district recently increased the land the daylilies were grown in by tenfold. Now, 10,000 hectares, equivalent to over 18,000 football fields, grow millions of daylilies. 

Benefits of Daylilies in China

In a recent trip to the district, President Jinping encouraged farmers and locals alike to continue developing the industry of daylilies in China. During his visit, President Jinpng spoke to the country’s efforts to reach its goal of total poverty eradication by the end of 2020. So far, daylily production has helped lift over one million people out of poverty. Last year, daylily production generated $9.17 million for the district. President Jinping remains steadfast in alleviating poverty in the country despite the few months left before his deadline.

Revenue from daylilies in China may seem like an unusual product to reduce poverty by Western standards; however, according to Eastern culture, the flower is a cornerstone of the Chinese market and therefore a logical aspect of poverty alleviation. Even though the Yunzhou district has been cultivating the flower for over 600 years, it may be comforting to know that the towns and cities in that district have utilized daylily production in the last ten years to bring over a million individuals out of poverty. 

– Mimi Karabulut 
Photo: Flickr

The post How Daylilies in China Are Fighting Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho

Poverty in LesothoIn the country of Lesotho, a mountainous region landlocked by South Africa, there are two playing fields, although neither one of them results in a fair chance of winning a life away from poverty’s grasp. Instead, the two fields paint similar pictures of poverty with contrasting colors. The first field, the lowlands, is statistically less impoverished than its towering companion, the highlands. Agricultural impacts are not the only factor impacting poverty. Here is some information about the impacts on poverty in Lesotho.

Agricultural Impact

According to UNICEF, 82% of children living in the highlands are multidimensionally poor compared to 53% of children living in the lowlands. This is due to the fact that the natural landscape of the lowlands is more suitable for agricultural endeavors as opposed to the rocky, mountainous terrain of the highlands. Since the majority of Basotho, the proper term for the country’s natives, grow their own food, a season of drought could greatly impact not only the current year’s harvest but future harvests as well because seeds would not reproduce for the Basotho to use the following year. Children lacking food and proper nutrition also increase student growth. In 2014, stunting impacted approximately 88,900 of 275,000 Basotho children. Stunting can result in a compromised immune system and poor cognitive performance which adds an unnecessary barrier to childhood education and future employability.

Educational Impact

One of the impacts on poverty in Lesotho including both the highlands and the lowlands is the absence of proper and consistent education. School is free for elementary-aged children. However, after these years, children have to purchase school uniforms to continue their education. This pulls many children out of the cinder-block classrooms and back into their homes. At home, they must often care for younger siblings or other abandoned children even though they have yet to reach puberty.

Allison Barnhill of Reclaimed Project, a nonprofit that partners alongside local churches to educate, equip and care for orphaned children, spoke with The Borgen Project saying, “Education is a huge part of it [poverty]. If you want to grow up and change the country, you have to be educated.” Reclaimed Project acknowledges this need by providing uniforms and school supplies to children in its program. These children also receive educational training outside of the classroom after each school day at one of Reclaimed Project’s orphan care centers. The care centers are located in two different highland villages and allow students to grow forward. Later in 2020, Reclaimed Project plans to open a skills training center to teach high schoolers and local Basotho basic computer, mechanic and sewing skills.

HIV/AIDS Impact

Another of the impacts on poverty in Lesotho is HIV/AIDS. It is easy to tell if a family does not have the means to purchase school uniforms. However, there is a type of poverty the Basotho people face that others cannot see. It is invisible and inescapable. HIV and AIDS fell upon the country of Lesotho in the 1990s, creating a wave of economic and social destruction. Currently, it affects 74% of children under the age of 2 with 23.2% of adults affected. Many victims of the disease are Basotho who once held steady jobs and now must succumb to treatment interventions.

Unfortunately, Basotho culture still highly stigmatizes this disease. Medical clinics, which predominantly serve people infected by HIV and AIDS, have specific days when people come to receive treatment. Therefore, if others witness a Basotho walking towards the clinic on this given day, they might assume that he or she has HIV or AIDS. This makes the unknown known and creates a social scar. To prevent this from happening, some Basotho willingly choose to avoid treatment and risk death to maintain their social standing. Overtime, refusing treatment can result in the inability to work, further lengthening the downward economic spiral of poverty.

Fortunately, with the passage of time comes the gradual reformation of these ideals. Within a five-year time span, the average percentage of full acceptance of Basotho living with HIV increased by 3.5%. This indicates that community acceptance is improving. However, HIV/AIDS treatment funding is limited and a burden on the government of Lesotho. In fact, the government funds less than half of Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS response. The majority of funding for HIV/AIDS reform comes from international resources. Therefore, the country relies heavily on the generosity of middle-income countries and nonprofits.

Future Impact

Speaking on the many dimensions of poverty, Barnhill stated that, “The issues are always compounding. If you’re living on the brink, it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge.” Fortunately, by 2030, the number of people living near the edge should reduce as the World Bank works with the Government of Lesotho to reduce extreme poverty. Even though poverty plagues the country of Lesotho, the country has come a long way from its roots. Lesotho continues to grow forward, creating branches of prosperity and leaves a budding of hope.

– Chatham Kennedy
Photo: Chatham Kennedy

The post The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho appeared first on The Borgen Project.

The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho

Poverty in LesothoIn the country of Lesotho, a mountainous region landlocked by South Africa, there are two playing fields, although neither one of them results in a fair chance of winning a life away from poverty’s grasp. Instead, the two fields paint similar pictures of poverty with contrasting colors. The first field, the lowlands, is statistically less impoverished than its towering companion, the highlands. Agricultural impacts are not the only factor impacting poverty. Here is some information about the impacts on poverty in Lesotho.

Agricultural Impact

According to UNICEF, 82% of children living in the highlands are multidimensionally poor compared to 53% of children living in the lowlands. This is due to the fact that the natural landscape of the lowlands is more suitable for agricultural endeavors as opposed to the rocky, mountainous terrain of the highlands. Since the majority of Basotho, the proper term for the country’s natives, grow their own food, a season of drought could greatly impact not only the current year’s harvest but future harvests as well because seeds would not reproduce for the Basotho to use the following year. Children lacking food and proper nutrition also increase student growth. In 2014, stunting impacted approximately 88,900 of 275,000 Basotho children. Stunting can result in a compromised immune system and poor cognitive performance which adds an unnecessary barrier to childhood education and future employability.

Educational Impact

One of the impacts on poverty in Lesotho including both the highlands and the lowlands is the absence of proper and consistent education. School is free for elementary-aged children. However, after these years, children have to purchase school uniforms to continue their education. This pulls many children out of the cinder-block classrooms and back into their homes. At home, they must often care for younger siblings or other abandoned children even though they have yet to reach puberty.

Allison Barnhill of Reclaimed Project, a nonprofit that partners alongside local churches to educate, equip and care for orphaned children, spoke with The Borgen Project saying, “Education is a huge part of it [poverty]. If you want to grow up and change the country, you have to be educated.” Reclaimed Project acknowledges this need by providing uniforms and school supplies to children in its program. These children also receive educational training outside of the classroom after each school day at one of Reclaimed Project’s orphan care centers. The care centers are located in two different highland villages and allow students to grow forward. Later in 2020, Reclaimed Project plans to open a skills training center to teach high schoolers and local Basotho basic computer, mechanic and sewing skills.

HIV/AIDS Impact

Another of the impacts on poverty in Lesotho is HIV/AIDS. It is easy to tell if a family does not have the means to purchase school uniforms. However, there is a type of poverty the Basotho people face that others cannot see. It is invisible and inescapable. HIV and AIDS fell upon the country of Lesotho in the 1990s, creating a wave of economic and social destruction. Currently, it affects 74% of children under the age of 2 with 23.2% of adults affected. Many victims of the disease are Basotho who once held steady jobs and now must succumb to treatment interventions.

Unfortunately, Basotho culture still highly stigmatizes this disease. Medical clinics, which predominantly serve people infected by HIV and AIDS, have specific days when people come to receive treatment. Therefore, if others witness a Basotho walking towards the clinic on this given day, they might assume that he or she has HIV or AIDS. This makes the unknown known and creates a social scar. To prevent this from happening, some Basotho willingly choose to avoid treatment and risk death to maintain their social standing. Overtime, refusing treatment can result in the inability to work, further lengthening the downward economic spiral of poverty.

Fortunately, with the passage of time comes the gradual reformation of these ideals. Within a five-year time span, the average percentage of full acceptance of Basotho living with HIV increased by 3.5%. This indicates that community acceptance is improving. However, HIV/AIDS treatment funding is limited and a burden on the government of Lesotho. In fact, the government funds less than half of Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS response. The majority of funding for HIV/AIDS reform comes from international resources. Therefore, the country relies heavily on the generosity of middle-income countries and nonprofits.

Future Impact

Speaking on the many dimensions of poverty, Barnhill stated that, “The issues are always compounding. If you’re living on the brink, it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge.” Fortunately, by 2030, the number of people living near the edge should reduce as the World Bank works with the Government of Lesotho to reduce extreme poverty. Even though poverty plagues the country of Lesotho, the country has come a long way from its roots. Lesotho continues to grow forward, creating branches of prosperity and leaves a budding of hope.

– Chatham Kennedy
Photo: Chatham Kennedy

The post The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Addressing Homelessness in Madagascar

Homelessness in MadagascarMadagascar is an island of abundant resources and wildlife, yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The African country experiences high rates of poverty and vulnerability since it gained independence in 1960. It possesses a complex history of poor leadership, inadequate infrastructure and economic colonialism that continues to negatively affect its population today, specifically resulting in an issue with homelessness in Madagascar.

The Causes of Homelessness

Its geographical location off the Southern African coast makes Madagascar susceptible to natural disasters, such as severe hurricanes, floods and droughts. Unpredictable weather persists, not only destroying homes but also leading to detrimental effects on food supply, health pandemics and overall quality of life. More than 50 natural disasters have impacted Madagascar’s homelessness rate in the last 35 years.

For example, in 2019, a cyclone killed two people and left 1,400 people homeless. Two years prior, an even more powerful storm left 247,000 people without shelter. However, some villages like Antanandava rallied together to rebuild as a community.

Chaotic weather patterns also impact the key drivers of economic growth namely, agriculture, fishing and forestry. While agriculture can sometimes reap the rewards of extreme weather, like heavy rain on crops, droughts on the other hand dry up rice plants, leaving workers with a much lower income. According to a 2017 study, this inconsistent economic growth creates patterns of financial insecurity and failure to diminish the homeless population in rural communities.

Unequal Housing

While some are able to rebuild their homes after a disaster, others are left destitute. More than 65% of the population lives in rural areas, where poverty is significantly higher than in urban regions and where most of the working-age populace resides. Homes in rural communities are mostly built of local materials such as cheap wood or mud, leaving thousands of individuals homeless after one intensive environmental hazard. Southern and coastal areas are usually the first to get hit by a weather crisis, damaging homes instantaneously. This creates a widespread housing shortage and results in the displacement of many Malagasy people.

Solutions

In an effort to fight this consequence of poverty, homelessness in Madagascar has become a priority in the eyes of the World Bank Group which partners with other organizations to offer aid. The organization currently invests a combined $1.28 billion across all 15 of its programs working to reform multiple sectors of Madagascar, including energy, education and health crises. The WBG, in collaboration with the Country Partnership Framework, has created economic objectives to accomplish in its plan for 2017-2021. Some initiatives include strengthening households living in poverty and upgrading means of transportation and energy. In 2019, over 783,000 Malagasy families’ incomes stabilized, allowing them to start businesses and secure their residences.

In addition, aid from UNDP began in 2015 and the long-term goals include ending all poverty, generating universal access to clean water and nurturing sustainable communities. Achieving these goals will ensure that families will gain new homes of their own and be able to maintain them.

Homelessness in Madagascar is a complex problem with many economic and domestic factors contributing to the issue. It continues to be an urgent threat to the lives of its citizens, creating harmful short- and long-term effects. However, with the improvements made thus far, the future for Madagascar is hopeful.

– Radley Tan
Photo: Flickr

The post Addressing Homelessness in Madagascar appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Coffee Production in Vietnam

In southeast Asia, Vietnam has dominated the coffee industry as the second-largest producer in the world behind Brazil. In 2016 alone, 1.8 million tons of coffee worth the equivalent of over $3 billion, was exported from Vietnam. Coffee production in Vietnam means more than popularity. It means economic stability and eliminating poverty. Historical Production of […]

The post Coffee Production in Vietnam appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

5 Facts About Poverty in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country that has 21.7 million inhabitants. However, that number sharply increases throughout the months of December to March as tourists flock to the island to visit its alluring beaches and mountainous terrain. The island nation resembles a tropical paradise, but poverty in Sri Lanka remains a critical concern as the […]

The post 5 Facts About Poverty in Sri Lanka appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Decreasing Poverty in Ethiopia

There have been both strides and setbacks in recent years in the process of decreasing poverty in Ethiopia. Poverty in the region has been steadily falling. Several factors, including increased agriculture and a decreasing fertility rate, are responsible for this decline. However, the developing nation needs to do much more to stay on track. The […]

The post Decreasing Poverty in Ethiopia appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Taiwan: from Poor to Prosperous

After World War II, Taiwan faced severe poverty. The conflict between China and Japan ravaged the land, and the Chinese Civil War that followed brought about even more destruction. By then, the majority of the Taiwanese people lived in absolute poverty; over 60% of the population were farmers just scraping by. However, as of 2019, […]

The post Taiwan: from Poor to Prosperous appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Science-Based Targets Initiative Fights Poverty

The Science-Based Targets initiative is a coalition of 885 companies to date that have set goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The overarching goal of the initiative is to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement’s established standard of limiting temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The initiative lays out […]

The post Science-Based Targets Initiative Fights Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Examining Poverty in Rwanda

Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the center of Africa. With a sprawling savanna in the east and mountainous jungle in the west, the country has impressive natural features that have increasingly drawn international intrigue. Beyond Rwanda’s natural wonders, there have been great strides to combat poverty in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide in […]

The post Examining Poverty in Rwanda appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

How Daylilies in China Are Fighting Poverty

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made substantial efforts to alleviate poverty in China for the millions living without basic necessities. In 2015, President Jinping set the goal of eliminating poverty in China by 2020. There were 1.4 billion people in poverty at that time. The government defined impoverished people as earning less than $1.10 a […]

The post How Daylilies in China Are Fighting Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho

In the country of Lesotho, a mountainous region landlocked by South Africa, there are two playing fields, although neither one of them results in a fair chance of winning a life away from poverty’s grasp. Instead, the two fields paint similar pictures of poverty with contrasting colors. The first field, the lowlands, is statistically less […]

The post The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho

In the country of Lesotho, a mountainous region landlocked by South Africa, there are two playing fields, although neither one of them results in a fair chance of winning a life away from poverty’s grasp. Instead, the two fields paint similar pictures of poverty with contrasting colors. The first field, the lowlands, is statistically less […]

The post The Impacts on Poverty in Lesotho appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Addressing Homelessness in Madagascar

Madagascar is an island of abundant resources and wildlife, yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The African country experiences high rates of poverty and vulnerability since it gained independence in 1960. It possesses a complex history of poor leadership, inadequate infrastructure and economic colonialism that continues to negatively affect its population […]

The post Addressing Homelessness in Madagascar appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More