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Eight questions that will tell if a community will truly benefit from a development project:
- What are the most pressing needs of this community?
- Is the proposed project addressing these needs?
- Is there participation by the community in the process of:
- Identifying key problems?
- Planning realistic solutions?
- Carrying out the plans?
- Measuring the success of the project?
- Is the project financially and logistically feasible?
- Will the community permanently benefit from the project?
- Will the beneficiaries achieve empowerment in terms of:
- Economic independence?
- Control of resources and decisions?
- Self-confidence that they can make a difference?
- Will the project have a positive impact on the environment?
- Will the project have a positive impact on the role and participation of women?
The causes of poverty
Each day 34,000 children die from malnutrition and disease.
In the world's poorest countries, only 34% of people have access to safe drinking water. 1 in 5 people in developing countries (about 780 million people) lacks enough food to meet basic daily needs.
Poverty is more than the absence of material means or basic services, such as a lack of food, shelter, clean water, education or health. Poverty creates powerlessness to determine the quality of life, and compounds vulnerability when conflict or natural disaster strikes.
Although the proportion of people living below the poverty line has fallen since the mid-1980s, the absolute number of poor people has risen to 1.3 billion -- 8 per cent more than in the mid-1980s.
We believe that most suffering is avoidable, being caused either by the direct action of others or indirectly through injustice, selfishness, inequality, neglect, or environmental and socio-economic imbalance.
The International Economic System
It is estimated that developing countries are being denied US$500 billion of market opportunities every year, as compared with the US$50 billion they receive in aid. Much of that aid is poorly targeted and does little to meet the priority needs.
Debt repayments continue to impose a huge burden on the poorest countries. In 1989, developing nations paid US$52 billion more to the developed world in interest payments on debt, than they received in aid and new loans.
The economic reform programs devised by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are contributing in many countries to the worsening plight of the poor through rising unemployment, higher prices and cuts in vital social services.
Severe as these factors are for the whole Third World, their effects are particularly crippling in Africa.
Poverty & The Environment
Inequitable land holding, corrupt and inadequate governments and increasing conflict all add to the burden of the poorest.
Environmental degradation, undermining the livelihoods of poor women and men, is both a cause and an effect of poverty.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, more than 850 million people live in areas in various stages of desertification. Growing environmental degradation places particularly acute stress on women as providers of fuel, wood and water for family needs.
Poverty and Women
Although women form over half the world's population, they receive only a small share of development opportunities.
Two thirds of the world's illiterate population are women.
Twice as many men as women are in paid work and if women's unpaid work as carers for the family and the household was counted as productive output in national income accounts, it is estimated that global output would increase by 20-30 per cent.
-- Adapted from Oxfam Hong Kong
The myth of scarcity
"There just isn't enough food for everyone." Nonsense! While it's true -- all too true! -- that 850 million people go hungry, it's not because there isn't enough food. In fact there's more than enough, there's more food than there's ever been before -- more food per capita. Which makes the dreadful fact of the world's hungry even more appalling -- one child dies of hunger every three seconds. How can this be so?
The Institute for Food and Development Policy ("Food First") has the best explanation -- and they've got their facts right.
12 Myths About Hunger
"Myth 1 -- Not Enough Food to Go Around. Reality -- Abundance, not scarcity, best describes the world's food supply. Enough wheat, rice and other grains are produced to provide every human being with 3,500 calories a day. That doesn't even count many other commonly eaten foods -- vegetables, beans, nuts, root crops, fruits, grass-fed meats, and fish. Enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person a day worldwide: two and half pounds of grain, beans and nuts, about a pound of fruits and vegetables, and nearly another pound of meat, milk and eggs -- enough to make most people fat!"
So why do so many go hungry? "12 Myths About Hunger" and "The Myth of Scarcity" are essential reading -- based on "World Hunger: 12 Myths", 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998).
12 Myths About Hunger
The Myth of Scarcity (in full)
Myth 3: Too Many Mouths to Feed (in full)
"World Hunger: Twelve Myths", 2nd ed., by Frances Moore Lappe, Joseph Collins, Peter Rosset with Luis Esparza, Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1998, 270pp, $13.00.
First published in the early 1970s, the World Hunger report is an authoritative resource on the problem of global hunger -- highly recommended. It debunks 12 persistent misconceptions about hunger. Thorough examination of the issue. The book isn't just a damnation of wrong-headed development efforts, it also offers a well-considered way forward.
Causes of Poverty
Ending world hunger will not end world poverty
Food dumping (aid)
"Going Hungry is a Violation of Human Rights says UN Agency Head" -- Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has warned that under-nourishment and starvation should not be considered less serious than blatant violations of other human rights. "The state has the obligation, as an instance of last resort, to ensure that nobody should die of hunger," he said. -- Europaworld September 21, 2001
"And So The Babies Die", by Trudy Thomas, Analysis, Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), September 26, 2001: "We may well find that if we look after the health of the babies, the whole economy, and not only its growth component, will begin to grow healthier too."
"Progress in reducing hunger has virtually halted", Rome, 15 October 2002 -- Progress in reducing world hunger has virtually come to a halt, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its annual report "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2002". As a result of hunger, millions of people, including 6 million children under the age of five, die each year.
"We do not have the excuse that we cannot grow enough food or that we do not know enough about how to eliminate hunger. What remains to be proven is that we care enough, that our expressions of concern in international fora are more than rhetoric, that we will no longer accept and ignore the suffering of 840 million hungry people or the daily death toll of 25 000 victims of hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf.
Most of the widespread hunger in a world of plenty results from poverty, the report said.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2005
Hunger and malnutrition are killing nearly six million children each year a figure that roughly equals the entire pre-school population of a large country such as Japan, FAO said. FAO estimates that 852 million people worldwide are undernourished.
Facts About World Hunger
- The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day). The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization 2002, FAO 1998
- There are 1.2 billion poor people in developing countries who live on $1 a day or less. Of these, 780 million suffer from chronic hunger, which means that their daily intake of calories is insufficient for them to lead active and healthy lives.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization 2002, FAO 1998
- Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) affects every fourth child worldwide: 150 million (26.7%) are underweight while 182 million (32.5%) are stunted. Geographically, more than 70% of PEM children live in Asia, 26% in Africa and 4% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their plight may well have begun even before birth with a malnourished mother.
Source: World Health Organization 2002
Inequality in wealth: See Anup Shah's excellent Global Issues website -- Causes of Poverty -- Facts and Stats:
Facts and Figures -- Globalization
... Inequitable Distribution
Among the 4.4 billion people who live in developing countries:
- THREE-FIFTHS have no access to basic sanitation
- Almost ONE-THIRD are without safe drinking water
- ONE-QUARTER lack adequate housing
- ONE-FIFTH live beyond reach of modern health services
- ONE-FIFTH of the children do not get as far as grade five in school
- ONE-FIFTH are undernourished
The 3 RICHEST PEOPLE in the world own assets that exceed the combined gross national product of ALL LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES and their 600 million people.
The richest 20% of the worlds population enjoys a share in global income that is 86 times that of the poorest 20%.
More than 1.2 billion people in the world live on less that $1 a day. More than 50% of them are children. Nearly 1 billion cannot meet their basic consumption requirements.
The assets of the 200 richest people are more than the combined income of 41% of the world's people.
A yearly contribution of 1% of their wealth or $8 billion could provide universal access to primary education for all.
Industrialized countries hold 97% of all patents, and global corporations hold 90% of all technology and product patents.
Over 80% of foreign direct investment in developing and transtition economies goes to just 20 countries, with China receiving the maximum share.
Debt relief for the 20 worst affected countries would cost between US $5.5 billion to $7.7 billion, LESS than the cost of ONE stealth bomber.
... Inequitable Consumption
Basic education for all would cost $6 BILLION a year:
- $8 BILLION is spent annually for cosmetics in the United States alone.
Installation of water and sanitation for all would cost $9 BILLION plus some annual costs:
- $11 BILLION is spent annually on ice cream in Europe.
Reproductive health services for all women would cost $12 BILLION a year:
- $12 BILLION a year is spent on perfumes in Europe and the United States.
Basic health care and nutrition would cost $13 BILLION:
- $17 BILLION a year is spent on pet food in Europe and the United States;
- $35 BILLION is spent on business entertainment in Japan;
- $50 BILLION on cigarettes in Europe;
- $105 BILLION on alcoholic drinks in Europe;
- $400 BILLION on narcotic drugs around the world; and
- $780 BILLION on the world's militaries.
20% of the world's people in industrialized countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures, while the poorest 20% account for 1.3%
The overall consumption of the richest 20% of the worlds people is 16 times that of the poorest 20%.
The share of the poorest 20% of the world's people in global income is 1.1%, down from 1.4% in 1991.
There are 16 cars per 1,000 people in developing countries and 405 cars per 1,000 people in industrialized countries.
On average, developing countries have one doctor for every 6,000 people whereas industrialized countries have one for every 350 people.
United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000);
--, Human Development Report 1999 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999);
--, Human Development Report 1998 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
From: Women's Learning Partnership
See Community development -- Change not Charity, Rural Reconstruction, Credo