Sustainable Development Goal 1 is to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere.
On the podcast Social Entrepreneur, you meet changemakers who are ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere. These social entrepreneurs are facing difficult circumstances. And yet, they’re having a massive impact. In January, we will be highlighting some of these changemakers.
To set the context, here are a few facts about poverty:
- The international poverty line is defined at $1.90 or less per person per day.
- Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for about 80% of the extremely poor.
- Poverty is relative to one’s context. Because the cost of living is different from country to country, the line below which a person is considered poor can vary. For example, in the US, the Federal Poverty Line for a single person is $11,770/year or a little more than $32/day.
- We have made progress towards eliminating poverty. From 2002 to 2012, the proportion of the world’s population living below the poverty line dropped by half, from 26% to 13%. That is good news. But keep in mind that, with the world population at more than 7.3 billion, and if 13% are still living in extreme poverty, that’s more than 950 million people.
- Millions of the poor have jobs, own businesses or are smallholder farmers. And yet, they are the “working poor.” Young people are especially likely to be among the working poor: 16% of all employed youth aged 15 to 24 are working poor, compared to 9% of adults.
- Children are most at risk from the effects of extreme poverty. Globally, 18,000 children die each day from poverty-related causes.
Numbers like these can be overwhelming, can’t they? How do you keep your heart and mind open when considering the death, today, of 18,000 children? It can be tempting to avoid thinking about extreme poverty.
January Focus: No Poverty
In January, you’ll meet social entrepreneurs who are working to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere, starting with Gayathri Vasudevan of LabourNet. LabourNet is a social enterprise that enables sustainable livelihoods by bridging the gap between education, employment and entrepreneurship. They work primarily in India with informal sector workers. LabourNet is the largest social enterprise working in the vocational space in India. The challenge, as Gayathri sees it, is that “There are a lot of people in India who do not complete education.” This keeps many stuck in poverty. “Most people get a job, but are underemployed,” Gayathri explains. You’ll hear Gayathri on Episode 146 of Social Entrepreneur.
Also in January, you’ll hear Okocha Nkem of Mamamoni. Mamamoni empowers poor women with free vocational skills training and mobile loans.
You’ll meet Kwami Williams of MoringaConnect who aims to serve the 120 million smallholder farmers of Africa who live on uncultivated land and earn less than two dollars per day.
Sara Leedom of African Entrepreneur Collective will be here. African Entrepreneur Collective works in Rwanda and Tanzania. They identify young entrepreneurs and give them the tools and resources needed to grow their businesses. In doing so, they create jobs for young people across the continent.
In January, you’ll also meet Ken Oloo of Filamujuani. Filamujuani provides earned income opportunities to young people in the Nairobi slums by teaching them how to use video and photography to change their own stories.
Finally, on February 1, Thane Kreiner will stop by to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship accelerates the growth of social enterprises who serve the poor and protect the planet.
More Social Entrepreneurs who are Working to End Poverty
All the way back in Episode 9 of Social Entrepreneur, we met David Gluckman of Lumkani. Lumkani manufactures low-cost fire detectors for the urban poor, starting in the urban slums of South Africa. Once a fire starts in one informal home, it quickly spreads, wiping out the meager belongings of the urban poor. Fires in these communities displace tens of thousands of residents each year, further trapping them in a cycle of poverty. Lumkani’s device alarms in a home. If the fire is not put out, the device sends a radio signal to all the other homes within 40 meters. It also sends a text message to the home owner. This allows residents to react quickly, preventing the spread of fire.
You might also recall the conversation with Ana Pantelic of Fundación Capital. Fundación Capital is working in 14 countries across Latin America and Africa. Fundación Capital is an international organization working to expand inclusion, partnering and innovating to help millions of families define their own paths out of poverty. By using participatory design, the team at Fundación Capital learned about financial inequality. Yes, the poor need financial inclusion, but the needs do not stop there. The team realized that, once the poor have access to banking services, barriers remain. Therefore, Fundación Capital’s services go far beyond mere banking services. They provide the tools and training that allows the poor to lift themselves out of poverty.
You might also recall our conversation with Kathleen Colson of The BOMA Project. The BOMA Project helps women in the arid regions of Africa, primarily Northern Kenya, set up small businesses. This lifts them and their families out of extreme poverty. The BOMA Projects’ flagship program is called Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP). REAP helps women to graduate from extreme poverty through for-profit entrepreneurship. Instead of giving women aid, they give them opportunity. BOMA measures the progress of these women to see if they have graduated from extreme poverty. So far, they are averaging a 94% success rate.
You can see a list of other social entrepreneurs who are taking on extreme poverty here.
For the next several months, you’ll meet social entrepreneurs who are achieving other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- In February, you’ll hear stories from SDG2, Zero Hunger.
- March will focus on SDG3, Good Health & Well-Being.
- In April, you’ll meet social entrepreneurs working on SDG5, Gender Equality.
- May’s focus will be SDG9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
- In June, we’ll look at SDG14, Life Below Water.
- And in July you will meet people who are focusing on SDG17, Partnerships for the Goals.