Mostly Everything

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.