Out of Poverty with Dignity

This blog item is in support of Blog Action Day 15th October 2008 where bloggers undertake to blog about poverty all on the same day.

There must be many ways of tackling poverty.  I am concentrating on ways of helping the poor in the underdeveloped world to rise out of their poverty with dignity.  I’m not so interested in huge government sponsored projects which I feel are so difficult to prevent from succumbing to corruption.  I’m really keen on those projects and charities that aim to support the individual, small communities and coops to get beyond subsistence and into surplus to trade.

I believe that there are three approaches that combine to make this work

  • Projects that provide the appropriate tools and means.
  • micro finance to fund small groups and individuals and start the investment and trading
  • fair trade that doesn’t put barriers in the way of these groups from trading their goods on the world markets.

Here are some examples that I happen to know about and support:

Provision of appropriate tools and means

Practical Actionworks with poor communities to provide them with appropriate technology solutions that they can manage, maintain and control.  such as cooking devices which use less wood and the smoke is funneled out of the hut.  See their technology blog

Send A Cowdon’t provide just animals but the training on how to care for them and how to use the manure to fertilize their crops.  This way the poor are able to produce more than they need and can therefore sell the surplus to earn enough to buy things like medicine and schooling.

Spanaprovide veterinary care and training for the owners of donkeys so that they can get the most out of their donkeys without causing them pain and discomfort.  The donkeys also live longer.


microfinance came to the fore after the success of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and its founder  Muhammad Yunus who together won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Now there are a number of examples.  I am particularly fond of Shared Interestbecause it will fund microfinance as well as fund startup groups to begin trading

Fair Trade

I am a great supporter of Fair Trade whether it is through bananas or coffee or now even through cotton clothing. I just love the thought that what I need and then buy will actually provide a reasonable, consistent return for the producer and thereby help that person to trade out of poverty.

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