How can education end poverty

Is a world without poverty possible?

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Yes, there is a special world day for.

Since the introduction of the first UN World Day in 1947 there have been around 100 - and I am far from knowing all of them.

Today is very important to me personally.

It was introduced in 1992 by the General Assembly of the United Nations and has been celebrated on October 17th every year since then. It is intended to draw our attention, including yours, to the fact that billions of people around the world still live in poverty - who lack money and resources for the bare minimum.

I see the day as an opportunity to take stock: What is the current state of poverty around the world?

At the same time, however, it is also a call to action, to remind governments around the world of their promises to "end poverty in all its forms everywhere". The world community has committed itself to this with goal one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short).

What is poverty anyway? And what does social inequality have to do with it?

First of all, poverty means a lack of essential basics, such as B. shelter, food and clothing, but also a lack of access to health, education, political participation and decent work.

It is difficult to measure poverty and there are different approaches to doing this. The World Bank defines poverty in terms of the gross national income of a country and differentiates between absolute and extreme poverty. Extreme poverty means that people have less than $ 1.90 a day. But can you (survive) live from it? No! Because they live at the subsistence level, often have no access to clean drinking water or enough (healthy) food.

Poverty and its Consequences

For 736 million people, i.e. around 10% of the world's population, this is a tough reality, as calculations from 2015 show. Living in poverty also affects health and results in social exclusion. A lack of social security systems, access to free public health care and education cement poverty. Access to these basic public social services is a prerequisite for a self-determined and social life. Is z. If, for example, free medical care is not possible, people die every day of actually preventable diseases because they lack medical treatment and medication. But health shouldn't be a social question!

However, I personally discovered that it is one in many countries when I traveled with my mother to different countries during my childhood. Through contact with people of the same age, I realized that the country in which I was born is decisive for the course of my further life. Also the question of whether, regardless of my parents' income, e.g. B. going to school and completing an apprenticeship depends largely on whether there is access to public and free school education. If this is not there, poverty is further entrenched.

Girls, women and the elderly are particularly hard hit

Girls and women as well as the elderly are particularly affected by poverty and exclusion around the world. In a third of all countries, there are still fewer girls than boys going to primary school. Access to education is a key element in ensuring gender equality and overcoming social inequality, as our current education report shows.

What is Relative Poverty?

For richer countries, the World Bank introduced a higher value for measuring poverty, which is based on the local cost of living. But even according to these calculations, 3.4 billion people - that is almost half of the world's population - live in poverty: They have to live on only 5.50 US dollars (around 4.99 €) per day and per person.

In Germany, too, the so-called risk of poverty has risen sharply in recent years. According to the Federal Government's 5th Report on Poverty and Wealth of 2017, 15.7% of the population live in poverty. That's about 13 million people. In a country as rich as Germany, it is a question of forms of relative poverty, poor people have less available than the average in society in terms of their income. In contrast to absolute poverty, physical existence is not threatened. However, life and (own) health are significantly impaired. The impacts and living conditions of poor people around the world differ greatly. However, they always point to the unequal distribution of opportunities - also with regard to participation in social and political life.

"Numerous problems that go hand in hand with inequality, that exacerbate them, or that continue over generations, do not differ fundamentally between poor and rich countries, but only in terms of intensity," as our inequality report shows. And social inequality is increasing dramatically around the world. This makes the fight against poverty difficult. We draw attention to this every year in our study “Better equal - closes the gap between rich and poor”.

But has something already happened?

The number of people in extreme poverty worldwide fell from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 736 million in 2015. So fewer and fewer people are extremely poor. It's a success! Above all, it shows that extreme poverty can be reduced if there is (political) will and measures are implemented in a sustainable manner.

However, this development is not enough. Many of the people affected by poverty are only one visit to the doctor or a crop failure away from sliding (again) into extreme poverty. In view of the increasing number of natural disasters (such as storms, droughts and floods) as consequences of climate change, this unfortunately does not seem an unrealistic scenario.

The number of people living in poverty is not falling fast enough to end extreme poverty worldwide by 2030.

Last month the heads of state and government met in New York to take stock of the UN sustainability goals. Conclusion: There is a lot of talk about it, but little investment, as many scientists and development experts agree on. As things stand now, no country will be able to meet the targets by 2030.

Can the fight against poverty be won?

Yes, but that requires a different policy!

The reduction in extreme poverty to date shows that we can end extreme poverty and its consequences - also by 2030!

But not if we just carry on as before and pay lip service to the goals of the sustainability agenda. As long as our political and economic systems reward wealth and cement poverty and inequality, the gap between rich and poor is likely to continue to widen and social inequality to increase.

We need to remind governments around the world of their promise to work seriously to fight poverty. We have to call on them to enforce basic human rights and to adopt a policy that benefits everyone in society and in which the parents' income does not determine their future life!

Civil society in particular is needed to attract attention and generate pressure. Therefore, I would also like to thank our supporters who work with us in so many ways for a just world without poverty. I hope for further support so that Poverty Eradication Day will no longer be necessary in the near future.

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