Global poverty grips 1 in 5 people PDF Print E-mail
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 11:07
More than 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty. That's about one out of every five people.
Many of these people have to worry if they will have food on the table each day, have to walk miles for safe drinking water, are at the mercy of a harvest for survival, and may not have the funds to send their children to school. They live on less than $1.25 per day.
The harsh realities of global poverty were presented Saturday afternoon to a crowd at BGSU's Olscamp Hall where Dr. Donald Lee, an expert on global poverty and a retired economist with the United Nations, presented a program called "Ending Poverty: The United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals."
"Poor people feel they are powerless and suffer from a sense of shame," Lee said. "When you cannot provide for your children, you have a sense of shame and failure."
And it feels like life will forever be in survival mode.
"You lose hope of ever escaping from your hard work," Lee said.
And the view of those living in poverty, he said, isn't always positive.
"Often language about people living in poverty stigmatizes them and makes judgments about them as stupid or lazy," he said.
"Don't feel sorry for those people who are poor. Get angry and help make a change."
The United Nations has already begun several initiatives for making change through its 2015 Millennium Development goals.
The first goal is to eradicate poverty and hunger. Within that goal are specific targets to achieve eradication including:  cut in half the proportion of people whose income is less than $1/day; achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all; and cut in half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
The United Nations' other goals are: achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and foster a global partnership for development.
The ability to achieve these goals, Lee said, requires "recognition that people matter."
"That means you have to talk to them and find out what their needs are," he said. "They have to help decide how their lives are going to be changed."
And, he said, it is important to remember that much progress has already been made.
In fact, in 1981 the extreme poverty rate was 52 percent. That figure dropped dramatically to 22 percent by 2008.
Lee came to BGSU through a collaboration between Rotary International District 6600 of northwest Ohio, the Bowling Green Rotary Club, and the International Studies Program at the university.
The retired U.N. economist spoke in four locations in northern Ohio over a four-day period including Bowling Green, Elyria, Findlay and Lima

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