1 in 10 people live under $1.90 a day.
This statistic takes our breath away. It should.
This statistic has also spurred many people to take steps to end global poverty. These steps have taken many forms: mission trips, orphanage tours, donating used clothing, and buying a pair of TOMS shoes.
Some have been effective; a lot have not.
How is this possible?
Weren’t we the generation that was supposed to end global poverty?
We were. But we won’t. Here’s why:
When we take steps to end global poverty, we inject ourselves, our efforts, and our programs into a community’s on-going process of economic development. This process is Complex, Long-term, Community Specific, and (should be) Locally Driven. We, on the other hand, are Imperfectly Informed, Culturally and Geographically Distant, and engaged for a relatively Short Duration.
Given the realities of economic development and our limitations, it’s no wonder our efforts have fallen short.
Do we still have role to play? YES.
But, it may not look like the one we were conditioned to expect.
Here’s what we can do:
- We can get to know what we do not know about the economic lives of the poor.
- We can unlearn what we have learned about the end of global poverty.
- We can reconsider our role in the story of poverty’s end
Let’s move from…
- Sympathy to Empathy
- Hubris to Humility
- Conviction to Doubt
Join a more mindful movement to end global poverty.
Finding solutions that work will require radical new ways of thinking about the problem. By asking you to live on $2 a day, we hope to push you outside your comfort zone to critically engage with and empathetically reevaluate global poverty and your role in its end. We will not end poverty by living on $2 a day; but, we may just end our Hero-Complex.