“Poverty is a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights”
United Nations Guiding principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Resolution 2006/9 adopted by the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Poverty is a multi-faceted issue characterized by various factors, which conduct to the deprivation of individual’s or group’s basic necessities.
The concept of Poverty was first defined by a lack of economic resources, which was considered as main even unique cause of Poverty. However new trends stemmed from project findings and lessons learned on the development field inferred a renewed conceptualization. In fact Poverty cannot be only reduced to low and insufficient income generation, it is indeed one of the features, but the experience showed that tackling only the economic aspect didn’t alleviate Poverty and masks the true extent. Human consideration has to be at the forefront before economic issues. In fact no concrete poverty line can be drawn, human beings are thoroughly diverse and many characteristics as well as circumstances have to be taken into account.
Poverty involves a range of aspects, which can be divided into “Inequalities”, “Denial, Restriction or deprivation” and “Discrimination”. The addition of those different features contributes to the misery of communities and individuals in every region and society in the world with more or less impact: Economic and social inequality, inequality of opportunities, participation and representation; denial, restriction or deprivation of access to safe water, to education, health services or resources; and gender or social discrimination, all these factors are responsible for Poverty on varying degrees.
For example, regarding the inequalities of wealth repartition, 90% of the world’s wealth is concentrated in rich countries North America, Europe and high-income Asia-Pacific countries, while 3 billion people (half of the world population) live in poverty and cannot cover the needed livelihood options.
As a matter of fact Poverty is a worldwide and multidimensional phenomenon, which severest forms are yet more visible in developing countries where “Absolute Poverty” (term used for designating a person who is not able to meet the basic survival needs) is common form.
The MDGs or rather the Millennium Development Goals result from discussions and reflections of worldwide leaders resolved to overcome the widespread poverty phenomenon, which has plagued nearly the entire world. The aim of the MDGs is to eradicate poverty and MDGs primary goal centered on cutting global poverty in half by the year 2015. The eight goals in total serve as a road map to achieve the target and act as a measure of progress at an international level. Tackling the different issues is crucial for the alleviation of poverty in all aspects.
With 70 million people living in absolute poverty, representing nearly 45% of the total population (2006: 150,448,339 total inhabitants registered), Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations in the world. The Human Development Indicator (HDI), a standard established by the UNDP (United nations Development Programme) measuring a country’s wellbeing, ranks Bangladesh at 138th position on a total of 177 countries.
100 million inhabitants are denied from the basic needs guaranteed by the constitution and 70% lacks adequate income to sustain livelihood options security.
Bangladesh is also prone to many environmental disasters whether man-made or natural, which boost the expansion of poverty.
Poverty or extreme poverty generally linked to society exclusion and marginalization constitutes a violation of “the right to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair”.
PEACE Foundation Responses
PEACE Foundation expressed deep concern that extreme poverty persists in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, and reaffirmed that extreme poverty and exclusion from society constitute a violation of human dignity and that it is essential for States to foster participation by the poorest people in the decision‑making process in the societies in which they live and in the realization of human rights.
In this regard PEACE Foundation strives to enhance the living conditions of underprivileged and marginalized grassroots people and urban citizens. The appellation: PEACE (Poverty Elimination And Community Education) abridges the global vision of the organization: the final target is Poverty Elimination And the major means to achieve this objective the Community Education. Indeed the main problem resides in the lack of knowledge and wisdom, in the dearth of awareness and of basic education; poor people need to be enlightened and sensitized in order to understand why they find themselves in this situation, why they are deprived.
Why am I sick? Because I don’t drink safe water. Why I don’t drink safe water? Because I don’t have access to drinking water and nobody teaches me how to purify water. Why I don’t have this access like other people? And why nobody told me about water purification? Because I am isolated in the country side and didn’t go to school, no social or health services are closed to my house and… What can I do? … Marginalized and poor people should not be victim of deprivation, but keep their ownership and enjoy rights and freedom.
PEACE Foundation believes that the first step of Poverty Elimination is to understand, to question, to become aware in order finally to be able to take position, to make informed choices and to take decisions. Through this process underprivileged people will be able to become actor of their self-development and partner of PEACE Foundation in the struggle against Poverty.