|Where does this
figure come from?
$2 a day is the global poverty line below which people are defined as living in poverty. The World Bank produces estimates of the number of people living in poverty, and in 2004 they estimated that in 2001 2.7 billion people were living on less than $2 a day. Of these, 1.1 billion people lived on less than $1 a day, the level of extreme poverty
wrong with living in poverty?
For people growing their own
food in subsistence economies, not having money may not seem like a
pressing problem - as long as they are able to grow enough to eat.
However in many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, growing
population is leading to increasing levels of malnourishment, as the
land is unable to provide for increasing numbers of people. Also poor
people are unable to pay to educate their children or pay for basic
and simple medical treatments. Poor people are usually not those that
too lazy to work, often there just aren't jobs, and getting a good job
difficult when you can't afford to go to school.
It would also be true to
say that money goes further in less developed
countries, so $2 in the USA (or £1.20 in the UK) doesn't buy as
much food as $2 worth of rupees does in India. However these statistics
are based on Purchasing Power Parities (PPP's) which is a way of
adjusting monetary statistics so that currencies buy the same amount of
goods and services from one country to another. While this is not a
perfect measure (see links below for discussion) it means that
$2 adjusted for PPP's should buy the same amount of food in Sheffield
that it does in Nairobi.
Many people live in
poverty in the UK too. 15.7% of people
in the UK live on less than £7.50 a day (UN HDR 2002) and that's
including food, rent, taxes, transport, everything. To
put it in perspective, thats roughly how much rent an average student room
costs, with 50p left over for food - not much for beer
money! All we
want you to do is live on £1.30 of food a day for one week.
Poverty in Sheffield means that you can expect to live 10 years longer
in Hallam than you can in Burngreave, a region in Sheffield that like 3
other wards is in the top 1% of the most impoverished districts in the
(Church Action on Poverty 2003).
Take a stand against poverty on your
Poverty is racist.
Poverty is sexist.
Poverty leads to sickness.
Poverty leads to illiteracy.
Poverty leads to homelessness.
Poverty leads to
Poverty leads to
Poverty leads to AIDS.
Poverty leads to more
can I do?
The easiest thing a single person can do is to buy
You can make a real
difference by buying things that come from developing countries,
especially if it is fair trade. Fair trade products are goods like
coffee, chocolate, and bananas where more of your money goes to the
not the profits of big companies and importers.
You can lobby for debt relief.
Guyana spends over 16%
of all the money it earns as a country on paying debt interest, yet
only 5% on education (UN HDR 2002). In the Jubilee 2000 campaign got
governments in developed nations to pledge to cancel $111bn of
debt owed by 52 of the poorest countries in the world. If countries are
tied to debt payments, and demands from institutions such as the IMF
they make interest payment a priority over heath care expenditure, they
more money to spend on development and reducing poverty.
Speak out about agricultural subsidies.
£60bn a year in subsidizing farmers so they can produce food
cheaper than developing countries, hence protecting local farmers. This money comes from your
taxes to pay farmers to make food for
you at higher costs than if they were imported. Undoubtedly this is good
to protect farmers, and we are told to protect our economy too. However
the total value of agriculture to the US economy for example is only
1.4% of Gross Domestic Product (US Census Bureau), and consumers pay
double taxes for their food: both in their income tax, and VAT at the
till. By removing import restrictions and subsidies, and buying more food from
poorer countries who can grow it cheaper, food prices and taxes would
fall for us, and income would increase for them.
It really is a matter of us and them. Win and win.
Farmers needn't loose out either, they could still get subsidised for 'Growing British' but for
the amount they sold at the checkout, not a fixed price at harvest.
This would stop the productions of gluts of 'profitable' food stuffs
like the EU butter mountain.
When you take part
in the $2 a day challenge we want you to write to your MP and MEP's
and tell them what you are doing and that you support policies to
eradicate poverty, at home and abroad.
|These are just 3
ways you can make a positive difference.|
This year we want you to do one thing;
Raise the profile of the poor and let others know about
their problems by joining us on the $2 a day
World Bank PovertyNet project www.worldbank.org/poverty/index.htm
United Nations Development Program www.undp.org
The Electronic Development Institute www.eldis.org
Jubilee Debt Relief www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk
International Monetary Fund www.imf.org