May 17th, 2013 12:12 PM UTC
By Erin Finucane
Over the course of the last 10 days, more than 22,000 ONE members called on world leaders to make bold commitments for the future of Mali, commitments that will meet the urgent needs of communities and assist Malians in their efforts to build a better future.
Your voices were heard.
Yesterday, leaders came together in Brussels and pledged their support. Donations from the international community far surpassed expectations. The European Union’s pledge of €1.35 billion will make an important contribution to Mali’s recovery.
However, the big picture is that aid budgets are shrinking across much of Europe; the EU itself is looking to freeze aid spending over the next seven years.
The key to lasting security is development. We must continue to fight: European countries need to reverse aid cuts, prioritise the world’s poorest, like those in Mali, and ensure that aid is targeted at programmes that have the biggest impact on development, namely health, agriculture and education.
Thank you for adding your voice.
May 14th, 2013 11:38 AM UTC
By Ben Leo
This post was originally published on CNN World.
Global Public Square recently published a thoughtful piece on how global poverty rates are falling fast. It argued that one country in particular is almost solely responsible for this dramatic trend: China. Meanwhile, it said progress in the rest of the world “has been much, much slower – if there’s been progress at all.”
Here’s the problem. There are 62 other countries across the globe that are also slashing extreme poverty rates at a remarkable pace. And many of them are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. So, the more important question is – how do we accelerate the progress being made in places like Ethiopia and Uganda while simultaneously jumpstarting it in places that are lagging behind, like Nigeria and the Congo?
It’s true that China’s case is remarkable – both in terms of its sheer scale and speed. It has lifted 680 million people out of poverty in a single generation. That’s amazing. It’s every poverty fighter’s dream. But the global story isn’t just about China. It is also about countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, and Senegal that are also witnessing dramatic declines in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.
According to a forthcoming ONE Campaign report, 63 nations are on track to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 (compared to 1990 levels) – including 16 in Sub-Saharan Africa. And their progress has further sped up over the last decade – particularly as African countries have turned the corner on HIV/AIDS, cleared unsustainable debt loads and made strategic investments in their social and physical infrastructure. The difficult and traumatic decade of the 1990s is receding in the rear-view mirror.
Bono mentioned 10 of these African trailblazers during his recent TED talk. Let’s look at two of them:
– In absolute terms, Ethiopia lifted an estimated 10 million people out of extreme poverty in just over a decade (from 2000 to 2011). During that time, the Ethiopian government focused nearly half of its total budget on poverty fighting sectors like health, agriculture, and education. And donors like the U.S. and Europe provided significant support alongside it. If the current trend holds, extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030.
– Uganda lifted nearly 3 million people out of poverty in four short years (between 2006 and 2009). Overall, the percentage of Ugandans living on less than $1.25 a day has fallen by nearly half since the early 1990s. It, too, could virtually eliminate it by 2030.
These dramatic results have inspired many world leaders – like President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Malawian President Joyce Banda – to declare that the world can virtually eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. Not to mention the World Bank president and a certain Irish rock star to boot.
To get there, several things will have to happen. There is risk in this story, just as there is promise. First, developing economies will not only need to keep growing at a healthy clip, but that growth will need to reach and benefit their poorest citizens. On that, I couldn’t agree more with the Global Public Square article. Conversely, a global growth shock that deals a direct blow to poor nations would be catastrophic in the fight against extreme poverty. Second, governments need to implement targeted policies that address growing rates of inequality. Fortunately, countries like Brazil have shown that this is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Third, and perhaps most challenging, is the tough nut of states that have been governed poorly must be cracked. In Africa, this means places like Nigeria, Sudan, and the Congo. These are the populous nations that are holding down regional progress. They largely explain why Africa’s overall growth rates aren’t even more compelling than they are. One country like Nigeria can overshadow five like Uganda or two like Ethiopia simply because of its size.
Truth be told, nobody has a magic elixir that will transform these places into the next China or Ethiopia. Long running domestic instability, or even conflict, takes time to address. Then again, people said the same thing about China in the 1970s and Ethiopia in the 1980s. Or even Uganda in the 1990s. They were hopeless cases then. But look at them today.
So, going forward, let’s expand the global poverty discussion beyond a singular focus on China. While this tendency may be natural given China’s absolute numbers, it does an injustice to smaller nations that are surging alongside it. These success stories demonstrate that the elimination of extreme poverty is possible well within our lifetime, perhaps only a decade and a half away.
Look out for our 2013 DATA Report, released on 29 May, which looks at how donor and African government spending is linked to progress.
Mar 6th, 2013 12:30 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
If you picked up the Observer on Sunday you will have seen that we’ve just launched a new report that looks at the progress made in fighting extreme poverty since the historic pledges made at the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005.
If you were part of the incredible Make Poverty History movement that helped secure those promises on aid, trade and debt, this is what it has helped achieve.
Our report has got a lot of people talking – so we’ve pulled all the highlights together here if you want to catch up with the conversation. Get ready to scroll!
Mar 3rd, 2013 10:05 AM UTC
By Helen Hector
Today ONE launches a new report that looks at the progress made in fighting extreme poverty since the historic pledges made by world leaders at Gleneagles in 2005.
Get the headline facts from the graphic below, or if you want to delve deeper, read the full report.
Jan 24th, 2013 4:25 PM UTC
By Tom Wallace
On 23 January, UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an important speech on the UK and Europe.
In his speech, Cameron set out what, in his view, Europe did and didn’t do well. As part of this he specifically recognised the role of the European Union in fighting global poverty; stating:
“We believe in our nations working together … to tackle climate change and global poverty.”
And he is right – the European Union plays a crucial role in tackling global poverty (see the result of its aid spending here).
Mr Cameron’s comments could not be better timed because this lifesaving European aid is under threat of being cut!
European leaders are meeting in Brussels on February 7-8th to decide the next European Union budget for 2014-2020. Already more than €6 billion in EU aid to the world’s poorest has been cut from the proposed European Commission budget – and some member states want to cut the proposal even more. This cut would mean a significant reduction in lifesaving European aid (you can see here the impact that this could have). Yet this actually works out at a little over a pound a year – or roughly two pence per person a week.
At ONE, because of the results this lifesaving aid would have, we don’t want leaders to meet the original proposals for the European aid budget. This aid is worth the cost and Europe should live up to its aid commitment (especially as this aid more than pays for itself in economic benefit back to Europe).
We are so adamant in our belief that we’re sending European leaders two of our own pennies to show that we don’t mind paying this tiny amount.
We think it is important to put pressure on leaders ahead of this summit on the 7-8th so they don’t cut European aid and often Actions Speak Louder! So if you would like to let your government know that you don’t think they should cut this lifesaving aid then you can also send your two pennies – just click on the link to find out more.
Dec 6th, 2012 3:16 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
With just over 5000 cases of HIV in 2011, Mauritius is not an obvious priority for most AIDS donors and mechanisms. But HIV/AIDS is on the rise on the island and affects the most vulnerable parts of the population.
Thanks to EU funding, a local organisation called Prévention Information Lutte contre le Sida (PILS) has brought the fight against HIV/AIDS in Mauritius to the forefront.
PILS was started by Nicolas Ritter in 1996 two years after he found out he was HIV positive. At the time there was no services in Mauritius for individuals with HIV/AIDS and he had to fly to neighbouring Reunion Island to get treatment. Inspired by what was happening in this neighbouring country, he decided to start PILS at the age of 25. Since then PILS’s work has saved lives and that’s what keeps Nicolas and his team dedicated to their work. They know that HIV/AIDS doesn’t have to be a death sentence and more and more, the people of Mauritius know this too.
Despite this success, Nadia Peerun, Fundraiser for PILS, explains that Mauritius is competing with other countries in the region. “It’s very difficult for us to get funding at those levels because the situation is much worse on the African continent.” Luckily the EU’s “Decentralised Cooperation Programme” in Mauritius makes it easier for PILS to get funding. Nadia explains “[this] system of funds being available at local level in Mauritius increases our chances of getting them in the health sector.” She adds, “Other donors don’t necessarily have this kind mechanism so it is much harder for us to get funding.”
In 2009, the EU funded an outreach project implemented by PILS to bring information, prevention, health and testing services to these excluded populations, such as drug users and sex workers, who are the most at risk. “It is really with EU funding that we got this project going.” Nadia adds, “This is very important for these populations. Because of the high level of stigma related to them, they don’t actually go to the public health centre.” Between 2009 and 2011, thanks to EU funding, 1103 HIV tests were carried out, 302 commercial sex workers and 753 people who inject drugs have been reached.
Thanks to EU funding, with one of the rare local funders, Rogers & Co. Ltd. that supports PILS’ advocacy project, PILS has been able to train other local organisations in advocacy. Nadia explains, “This is really important because there are many NGOs in Mauritius but there isn’t a common strategy with regard to advocacy activities.”
In 2009 and 2010, the EU also funded PILS’ own capacity building. Nadia explains, “This has helped us significantly in terms of being more efficient, more coordinated, a more solid NGO. EU’s financial management and programmatic management requirement is something that enabled us to grow and improve our management considerably.”
Besides its outreach and advocacy work, PILS has an empowerment programme targeting vulnerable groups who are living with HIV. These groups are marginalised in Mauritius and receive very little information about health, social guidance on rehabilitation or integration and how to reduce health risks. PILS offers workshops where artisanal skills are taught so that unemployed beneficiaries can stabilize their income. Nadia explains, “We are getting them to learn these new artisanal skills and register as entrepreneur. So they can sell their stuff on the market. It helps stabilize their income.” These workshops are also a good occasion to inform them on HIV and related issues.
People can also follow the more advanced training of PILS’ ‘Positive Ambassadors’ phase, whereby they are trained to be active in the national response to the crisis, by participating in PILS’ activities, in advocacy and policy-decisions. One of the participants, Den Ramsamy, decided to publicly disclose his HIV-positive status.
Nadia explains, “He got the tools he needed to advocate for his rights, to get his voice heard and participate in national meetings and eventually publicly disclose in front of the TV his status. It is a good example of how an EU-funded project contributed to having a big impact on the community.” Around 35 people are currently being trained to become positive ambassadors.
Asked if she’d prefer European countries to give more aid through the EU institutions or more national bilateral aid, Nadia replies without hesitations, “I’d be much more for receiving aid through the EU. From past experiences directly with European countries, we noticed the EU has more of a global picture. The EU is able to target funds and have pertinent calls for projects which I find much more difficult on a country basis because there is much less of this global picture. As the EU has this global picture it is much more coordinated. Funds are much better allocated.”
The mission of PILS is to minimise the impact of HIV in Mauritius through promoting prevention, improving the lives of HIV+ persons, and mobilising political and public support for HIV+ persons and issues. Visit : http://www.pils.mu/
Nov 8th, 2012 1:15 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
With less rain and erratic flooding, the semi-arid village of Chololo in Tanzania is learning how to adapt to the challenges of climate change.
Photo: Cholo village in semi-arid Tanzania
Thanks to an EU-funded project, Chololo, with its 3,500 residents, is becoming a model ecovillage through climate change adaption and mitigation.
The two-year project, launched in October 2011, aims to develop a model of sustainable practices in the areas of agriculture, livestock, water, energy and natural resources, which could eventually empower millions in the region to cope better with changing climatic conditions.
“We chose Chololo because the people were very poor, hardly able to afford food to last them throughout the year as their agriculture is purely rain fed,” explains Dr Francis Bernard Njau, the Chololo Ecovillage Project Manager. “Before the project there was no proper harvesting of water, so far 1,111 households have been involved in different aspects of the project.”
The ecovillage project has focused on agricultural innovations that make the most of available rainfall. Currently, 400 farmers have been trained to use early maturing and drought-tolerant seeds as well as in soil preparation and water conservation. In addition, the village water supply has been restored and the local primary school has been equipped with roof catchment rainwater harvesting equipment, capturing 60,000 litres of water in underground tanks.
“Six neighbouring villages now have access to piped water from a repaired borehole and roof water catchment introduced at schools and in households is fully operational,” boasts Dr Njau.
In livestock management, training has been provided to 118 farmers, including 54 women, to help improve breeding techniques for 30 bulls and 60 goats. And, over 120 chicken keepers, mostly female, have also started benefiting from improved breeding and livestock management.
Another aim of the project is to increase access to natural resources through tree planting, agroforestry and community land use planning and management while encouraging the use of alternative sources of energy. So far 14,668 tree seedlings have been plants at 208 homes, six churches, the primary school and the dispensary, as well as 3,000 trees in three acres of village forest reserve.
“We appreciate the education we receive on agriculture, improved seeds and farming implements such as ox ploughs,” says Chololo village chairperson Michael Jonas Mbumi. “Women’s groups are thriving, and tree seedlings, together with energy-saving stoves and biogas, are helping us conserve the environment.”
The project has also considerably improved food security for the village. “This year, even with less rain, we have received a bumper harvest of sorghum, pearl millet, ground nuts, cow and pigeon peas,” adds Mbumi. We have better breeds of bulls, goats and improved cocks and we have fish ponds that are doing very well.”
Photo: Rain water harvesting through roof catchment
James Maligana, the former village chairperson agrees: “Of those who participated in the project, nobody will suffer from food insecurity. Before the project, I used to harvest 1-2 bags of millet. Now, I get 4-6 bags from less space. During prolonged drought I was still able to harvest 10 bags where before I would harvest 5 or 6 in a good year.”
The achievements of the Chololo ecovillage project have made it to the floor of the Tanzanian Parliament. The real test of the project, however, will be replicating its success across the country and East Africa.
Tanzania’s Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP) provides training, research and consultancy services in the field of rural development planning and management. Its main objective is to alleviate the shortage of skilled manpower within the framework of sustainable capacity building directed towards reducing poverty and attaining sustainable development. IRDP is leading a team of six agencies to transform Chololo into an ecovillage.
For more information on IRDP, visit: http://www.irdp.ac.tz
For more information in the Chololo Ecovillage Project, visit: http://chololoecovillage.wordpress.com
Oct 29th, 2012 1:51 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
Today we’re asking our Dutch ONE members to take part in an urgent action:
The Netherlands has developed a strong and proud leadership position of helping the poorest countries in the world. It’s something to be very proud of.
But this could be destroyed in a matter of days.
International development aid is one of the budget issues under threat in the Dutch coalition agreement, which is about to be signed.
Please send an urgent email to negotiators Mark Rutte and Diederik Samsom to tell them not to let development aid fall through the coalition cracks:
An agreement which cuts development aid would have huge implications. Not only because of the direct impact on the poorest countries, but because of the signals it sends to other countries, encouraging them to lessen their contributions too. Millions of people will be affected by this.
This doesn’t need to be the way. Dutch aid is already having a huge impact. It’s working. We should keep it that way.
Please take action now and send an email:
Thank you for your help,
Stuart McWilliam, ONE.org
Oct 16th, 2012 1:27 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it? “Now!”
It’s probably the most unlikely campaigning chant you will hear, but today that’s the message we shouted loudly and proudly in a major newspaper advert published across Europe in the Financial Times:
Why? In a month’s time European leaders will meet to discuss the proposals for the next EU development aid budget, which will last for seven years. The stakes are high. EU aid has delivered amazing, lifesaving results for millions of people in the poorest countries in the world. For example, between 2004-9 it helped:
And they are just three examples of the amazing progress EU aid has delivered in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. If you are a European citizen, it means you are a lifesaver. Feels pretty good eh?
The even better news is that the proposal, made last year, puts the next seven year EU aid budget on course to achieve even more. But this is now under threat by calls to cut it. This can’t be allowed to happen. So when leaders meet next month to discuss the proposal, want we want them to do is “nothing” – by resisting the calls to cut it.
You can do your part to ensure that they keep the aid proposal exactly as it is. Please sign our petition, which we’ll deliver to European leaders before their key Summit, and share by email, Facebook, or twitter.
Sep 26th, 2012 4:23 PM UTC
By Johanna Stratmann
Europe’s leaders are in the midst of crucial budget negotiations that will define levels of European development assistance, one of the important aid budgets in the world, until 2020. Cuts to these life-saving programs that have been proposed by some leaders would have a devastating impact on the world’s poorest.
Worried and concerned about these proposals, ONE spent 24 hours asking people across Europe what they actually thought about the EU aid budget. The message is clear: Now’s not the time for cutbacks – Europeans are supporting lifesaving development aid!
Please take action and support us in the fight to protect European aid: watch the video, share it with your friends and sign ONE’s petition to protect European aid now!
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.