Somalia’s famine brings issues of global poverty to the forefront
Prachi Kamble, Staff Writer
The recent famine in Somalia brought the fate of eighty percent of the world’s population to the spotlight. With catastrophic events such as this famine, poverty resurfaces yet again in the global consciousness. A consciousness that is mostly preoccupied with the rapid advances of its more exciting urban economies. Questions are then raised on the prevalent quality of poverty and the horrors of its consequences.
The causes of poverty are manifold. War, disease, famine and unemployment being the big players. What steps can then be taken towards addressing the massive social issue of global poverty that has afflicted humanity for centuries?
1. Employment generation
Carefully and extensively planned employment programs funded by the government can spur growth in jobs. Industries requiring substantial labour forces can also be given significantly larger aid from the government. Focus should be placed on developing companies that offer sustainable and long-term jobs to the community. Companies should also budget sufficiently for employee training and related community programs, so that employees and prospective employees can keep their skills relevant and up-to-date.
2. Drawing on various social institutions to fund poverty fighting programs e.g. charities, research institutions, U.N. , non-profit organizations, universities.
Money funnelled from every organization available adds up to powerful sums that can produce tangible change. When organizations develop an interest, albeit vested, they tend to be more strongly motivated. Organizations that have a concrete goal to achieve with strict project plans are able to efficiently concentrate their efforts into producing change. For this reason charities with numerous middlemen organizations should be discouraged to ensure money reaches those in need. Importance should be given to organizations that follow the teach a man to fish ideology rather than the give the man a fish one, unless in extremely dire emergency circumstances.
3. Transparency in government spending
Where and how a government chooses to spend taxpayers’ money and its own revenue should be visible to the media and the common man. This makes governments accountable for their actions and inaction becomes easier to pinpoint and address. It also discourages corruption in government systems. For example, transparency will be especially beneficial to civilians whose government might be allotting money to its nuclear weapons program instead of to its poverty programs.
4. Cancelling impossible to repay world debts
Many developing countries are trapped in the cycle of constantly repaying debts that are impossible to pay off. This ensures that they never get a chance to develop and become self-sufficient. The priorities of these countries are therefore unnecessarily skewed and the citizens of these debt-ridden nations are devoid of any hope for a better future.
5. Prioritizing programs that target fundamental human rights
Every individual should have access to housing, food, clean water, healthcare and electricity. Technically governments should only move on to other projects after they have made sure that programs that provide these basic amenities to their people are up and running. This might prove to be the hardest step yet.