Still the very best thing we could do: End extreme poverty in a generation

For the last few years, I have been involved with The Global Poverty Project, a charity with the goal of seeing the end to extreme poverty within a generation. They support the work of other charities, of advocacy groups and of corporations who are working together to make this dream a reality. Their flagship “product” is a remarkable presentation, “1.4 Billion Reasons” which they want as many people as possible to see.

You can book one of GPP volunteer presenters to come and deliver this to any group – from your company’s annual conference to a small group of friends at a dinner party. Check it out here and find out about hosting a presentation. You can also sign up to their newsletter and blog to be kept up to date about advances and challenges, and practical advice and encouragement about what you can do, to help end extreme poverty in a generation.

As you begin another year, with all your resolutions (have you broken any yet?) and plans, please just pause for a moment to consider that about 1.4 billion people do not have any choices about their future. Many of them will die this year, for no other reason than that they are poor and cannot afford a few life giving essentials. Most of these poor people are children, who’s futures are eroded daily by their circumstances. And just like people with chronic illnesses, this is not a condition that they can escape from by themselves. They need help. Often it’s just the tiniest bit of assistance that makes all the difference.


Just this week, the Save the Children charity in the UK released their action plan for ‘Ending Poverty in our Generation’. They suggest an ambitious global programme to follow on from the Millennial Development Goals (which will end in 2015), with an outcome of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Read their report here (PDF).

If every one of us who has choices and means helped just one person escape poverty this year, the problem would be solved by Christmas. It really is that simple. And yet, of course, it is so much more difficult than that. This is our generation’s challenge, and we must rise to it.

So what are you going to do about it this year? It is the most important social issue of our day. Please do something; anything – no matter how small – to help us take one more step towards the end of extreme poverty in 2013.

The GPP’s website has a page dedicated to inspiring and assisting you to take action: check it out here. One example of something small to do would be to try the “Live Below the Line” challenge – survive on just $2 food a day for 5 days. Click here to watch a video I recorded in 2011 when I participated in the challenge. Maybe that is something that you can commit to this year – click here to pre-register your interest. Or maybe there is something else? Just do it.

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

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