1.4 Billion Reasons

A daunting fact: 1.4 billion people in the world live on less than $1.25 per day. They live in “extreme poverty”. 

The Global Poverty Project aims to educate and catalyze a world movement to end extreme poverty.

So they  developed a multimedia presentation called 1.4 Billion Reasons  to explain extreme poverty and what you can do about it.

You can do something. We all can. Check it out.

Recommended Reading

This book should top the list for anyone in global development:

 Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Authors Banerjee and Duflo, both MIT economists, take a close look at the poor and the decisions they make. With over fifteen years  research in dozens of countries, they suggest that poverty programs and actions should be “radically rethought”. To be effective, these programs need to change to to reflect the reality of poverty as evidenced.

Maybe…we had it all wrong? Some of these insights really challenge basic assumptions. For example, we assume the poor don’t have enough to eat, right? But Banerjee and Duflo observed that given more money, the poor didn’t buy more food, they bought better food (in similar amounts).

I don’t pretend to know all the implications of Banerjee and Duflo’s work, but I find it fascinating and think the impacts, if and when applied to poverty programs, could be profound.

For more, go to the book’s companion website:

Companion Website — Poor Economics

Have you read a great book on development lately? Recommend it here!!

50% Fewer Live in Extreme Poverty…and….

Five years before the 2015 deadline, the world has achieved one of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce extreme poverty by half.

Check out the New York Times article on March 6, 2012:

Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump

Definitely this is a huge achievement to be celebrated!!  And a word of caution comes from the Trickle Up President Bill Abrams. One caveat is how we understand and define poverty. The gross numbers for poverty have fallen, but the numbers of the ultra-poor (living on $1.25/day or less) haven’t improved all that much.

Why would that be? Continue reading

Hey, I’ve got some new shoes on…

Here is one of those inspiring stories about people making a difference with simple, yet powerful ideas.  Take a couple minutes to listen to this audio of an interview with Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes.

It’s BOGO philanthropy! And I gotta love it. Continue reading

Can a good story change the world?

Check out this audio podcast from the  Social Philanthropy blog:

The Power of Stories in Social Change

What especially gets my attention these days  is the power of social media as a channel– okay, lots of channels!–  for  telling stories for social change.  Continue reading

Pregnant girls, poor girls

The Girl Effect continues to grab my attention. I have always wanted to work with a development organization or foundation that focuses on women and their issues. And I’m drawn to the fact that working with women and girls can help solve some of the biggest challenges in development.

This Poverty Matters blog posting asks: “Will the girl effect really help to combat poverty?”

A simple explanation of the girl effect Continue reading

The Big Idea: (UPDATED) Simple Truths About Mobile Money via NextBillion.net

Check out NextBillion.net’s latest blog post:

The Big Idea: (UPDATED) Simple Truths About Mobile Money.

Financial Inclusion is development-speak for access to banking services for the poor. Some people in development– banks?– think we need to reach the poor and “unbanked“.

That would be 2.7 billion unbanked people in world. The premise is that even if, or perhaps especially if, you have very little money and/or you live in the countryside, your money is safer at the bank.

One way to deliver financial services, when you have no brick and mortar bank,  is through cell phones. Mobile technologies have created a wealth of opportunities (pun intended) for global development.

Continue reading

The Power of Bill Gates

Let me qualify this post by saying that I am posing a question, not an outright criticism.

But I can’t help but wonder…who is Bill Gates and how is he is changing the face of the world not only with his money but also with his opinions on development policy and his access to world leaders?

Gates is a famous businessman (formerly the world’s richest) and, since 2006, a full-time  philanthropist.  And, thinking about it, this is one powerful guy.

Yesterday, February 24th, Gates committed $200 million dollars to helping small farmers in developing regions. Continue reading

All things being (more) equal, we’re happier people.

I recently viewed the video “How Economic Inequality Harms Societies“.  Here Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level, explains how gaps in income distribution hurt societies.

The bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the bigger society’s problems. Conversely, the more homogeneous a people are, in terms of income, the greater the well-being and happiness in the society.

And, according to Wilkinson, the determining factor for social well-being is not how rich or poor a given society is overall. Rather, it’s how similar the individuals in the population are to one another in terms of the distribution of wealth.

It would stand to reason, by this argument, that what we need to increase well-being is not more money per se. We need to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Continue reading

The “Girl Effect”: it’s not what you might think.

Inspired by a comment on an earlier post, I went in search of information on social investments to support women and girls, whether investments in education, health, microfinance, etc.

But I had never before heard the exact term the “Girl Effect“. (Yes, click and watch the video!)

I came across a commentary called “Understanding the Girl Effect” in defense of how this one action– delaying childbirth–does have the overall, or domino, effect of preventing poverty.

Here’s the statement that struck me hard: “…(in developing countries) pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death for girls 15–19 years old”.

Continue reading