General

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty as the First MDG

As a development studies guy, the campaign to end poverty is a tangible one. Not too many people know about the eight Millennium Development Goals for 2015. First on the list is Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.

There are three targets:

Target 1:
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day

* Higher food prices may push 100 million people deeper into poverty
* Conflict leaves many displaced and impoverished

Target 2:
Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

* Full employment remains a distant possibility
* Low-paying jobs leave one in five developing country workers mired in poverty
* Half the world’s workforce toil in unstable, insecure jobs

Target 3:
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

(This is where I stopped and looked at my post and said to myself, who am I kidding?)

Honestly I don’t feel very comfortable talking about physical poverty. I oftentimes think I can relate, or even empathize with how they really feel. But the sad truth is that I will never know and saying “I know how you feel” or “THIS is what we should do to help them” is an exercise of many assumptions.

I don’t believe in those one shot medical missions, nor do I believe in “PR-driven” outreach programs. Because at the end of the day, the ones who “feel good” aren’t the poor.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

12 Comments

  • Often the think you seek to solve is but a few feet away from you, most probably a phone call away or perhaps a matter of adjusting one’s lifestyle.

  • Often the thing you seek to solve is but a few feet away from you, most probably a phone call away or perhaps a matter of adjusting one’s lifestyle.

  • I don’t believe in those one shot medical missions, nor do I believe in “PR-driven” outreach programs. Because at the end of the day, the ones who “feel good” aren’t the poor.

    I so agree with this. In fact, the ones who “feel good” even use it to their advantage. For media mileage most of the time. I don’t think that’s charity. I think that’s self promotion.

  • Personally, I “believe” in those one shot medical missions and PR-driven outreach programs.

    It’s a fact, it feels good to help people. So a business or an organization should not be guilty if they feel good about charity. Never mind if their primary motivation is self-promotion, tax advantages and other “selfish” reasons – the important thing is that they helped the less fortunate, no matter how small, weak or “insincere” it was.

    People living in poverty, I believe, are and will always be grateful for any form and any size of charity they can get.

    Just my two cents.

  • hi fitz. i used to handle a community of 300 pax for displacement for a real estate community. the guy before me did medical missions and all that — and it backfired. it turns out that “accepting anything” is not always the case. the medical mission they did had some religious evangelizing component to it, which greatly offended them as they were catholics, and the medicines they gave out were not medicines they needed, and some were expired.

    that is an example of one of many medical missions out there.

  • “I don’t believe in those one shot medical missions, nor do I believe in “PR-driven” outreach programs. Because at the end of the day, the ones who “feel good” aren’t the poor.”

    Being one of the physician’s who did those “one-shot medical missions” before, truth is I hated it. Maybe “hate” is such a strong word, but I disliked going to them mainly because the people who line up there aren’t really sick. They just want freebies. They just tell you that they have a cough or a cold and after giving them a prescription they would say “Dra. pwede vitamins na lang?” See? Also, it’s such a thankless job, you’re dead tired at the end of the day and the politicians that invited you there don’t really care about the people’s welfare.

  • i had to make sure that the meds were distributed to the families and we marked each and every one of them. found out that when we gave them to the barangay heads, they would sell them to the cooperative like a mini drug store. :/

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