18 million people die every year from poverty related causes.
What are the best ways to help?
An Open Letter to Everyone Fighting Global Poverty:
I'm impressed with your work. Our world is a much better place because of it.
I strongly agree with what you said:
You’ve joined the United Nations, dozens of the wealthiest nations, websites that sign up millions of concerned citizens, Bono the rock star and many other talented, caring people in this struggle...
Finally, in recent years, we hada growing consensus: Everyone should support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals seek to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.
That would be a very good start, but as you probably know, the MDGs are also a continuation of an international commitment for 0.7 percent of national income (GDP) to end poverty, first made in October 1970 (UN General Assembly Resolution 2626).
It’s been reconfirmed many times since...
More than 44 years later, it's still only partially done.
And here's the shocking truth: Shamefully, the USA still only gives a very small percentage of our national income for foreign aid. And more than half of that is given for strategic and commercial interests, not fully effective poverty alleviation. Many other wealthy nations also fall far short of their MDG commitments.
But even if all the wealthy nations finally keep these commitments, more than 800 million people are still be chronically hungry in 2015. And millions of innocent people will still die every year from poverty related causes.
We can't keep doing what we've done before!
For example, Sub-Saharan Africa has more than 110 million additional people in extreme poverty now than it did in 1990.
Big problems - bigger
All the charities in the world cannot match the resources government can provide. The Marshall Plan would never have succeeded in helping rebuild Western Europe after World War II, if it depended on private donations.
We can learn from the mistakes of previous international aid programs and our own domestic War on Poverty. Our government needs to fund more flexible, comprehensive programs. They work incredibly effectively and at remarkably low cost.
Social entrepreneurship programs work directly with those in greatest need. They bypass corrupt and inefficient bureaucracies. Some of these programs are well described in David Bornstein's excellent book, How to Change the World. The Ashoka and Skoll foundations, and many others, provide valuable help for innovative social entrepreneurs.
But we need to work on a much larger scale to help end extreme poverty.
A big waste
The resulting scandals fuel public cynicism and increase demands to cut back foreign aid.
Together, we can do better. Much
We advocate many more Peace Corps members collaborating directly with local people. This will bypass centralized bureaucracies. It gives aid recipients a far stronger voice for the aid they really need. It can also help ensure that funds are distributed locally and thereby spent much more cost-effectively.
I'm sure that you don't want to see even one child die of hunger or poverty. I’m also sure you agree that, as Tony Hall expresses in his wonderful book, Changing the Face of Hunger, justice and mercy help bring peace.
I can think of no better source of meaning and fulfillment than for us to move further forward for such a noble cause.
A new initiative
We recognize this will be difficult in the short run, though the world's poorest people are still hardest hit by economic challenges. Hearts & Minds also strongly advocates that whatever amount we do spend be used far more effectively.
Here's the solution:
Thanks for your consideration - and for all the very good work you're already doing!
and the volunteers of Hearts & Minds
This web page and entire website © Copyright 1997 - 2016 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc., http://www.heartsandminds.org/poverty/newgoals.htm - online December 21, 2006, Hearts & Minds' website statistics include through September 10, 2008, latest text changes December 15, 2016