By Chika Oduah
Greetings! Welcome to Speak Out Georgia here on Good Politics Radio. Iâ€™m Chika Oduah, your podcast anchor. Thank you for joining in.
Letâ€™s talk about that 7 letter word that negatively affects about 1 billion people worldwide. Iâ€™m talking about poverty. So, thereâ€™s finally an international initiative to fight poverty. Sounds like another dreamy wish? Think again. Stay tuned to find out more.
You are listening to Speak Out Georgia. Iâ€™m Chika Oduah. As I preluded, an international initiative to fight poverty is finally in place, with the backing of governments, NGOs, religious groups, celebrities, and experts worldwide. And weâ€™ve all heard the disheartening facts: 50,000 people die everyday from preventable causes. Every 3 seconds a child dies from extreme poverty. More than 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. This is abject poverty. But this global spark has erupted and a collective concern is encouraging the masses to take charge, to take responsibility, and to take a stance against poverty.
But maybe this is just a surge of collective guilt or maybe itâ€™s a global moral awakening to do some good in the world. Whatever it is, it is working. How do we know? Because on October 17, which is the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty, a record breaking 38.8 million people in 110 countries joined efforts to make their voices heard and support the goals put out by the United Nations Millennium Campaign.
These 8 goals are monumental in the fight against poverty and include: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by reducing by half the proportion of people who live on less than $1 a day and reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development. These goals were adopted in 2000 by the UN General Assembly. The UN seeks to accomplish these goals by 2015.
Oct. 17â€™s Stand Up and Speak Out Day was an international success. Hordes of individuals gathered at churches, shelters, government buildings, schools, parks, and every other public space. The numbers were impressive. Specifically, there was a huge amount of participation in the developing nations. 1400 people participated in Manila, Philippines; 1547 students and teachers gathered in Singapore; 200,000 participants in Afghanistan; 401,900 participants in Nepal; 103,000 participants in Australia. Bangladesh boasts 847,000 participants. Last yearâ€™s record of 23.5 million is incomparable to this yearâ€™s 38.8 million.
But what exactly is the purpose of October 17? Letâ€™s discuss this. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon stated in reference to October 17, â€œToday tens of millions of people are making their voices heard by standing up and speaking out against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. They are sending messages that call on their leaders to keep their promises. They are calling for the actions of citizens to be matched by the actions of Governments, in developing and developed countries alike, to demonstrate the political will required to end the scourge of poverty once and for all.”
October 17, the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty, was adopted by the United Nations in 1992 and has been globally recognized ever since. It all began with a humble French Catholic known to the world as Father Joseph Wresinski who lived from 1917- 1988. Father Wresinski, who himself grew up in an impoverished household, worked tirelessly for the causes of the poor. In 1957, He founded the ATD Fourth World Movement, an international NGO that still operates today. He devoted his time at an emergency housing camp in France, helping and guiding those inflicted with extreme poverty. Father Wresinski continue to plead for the poor and his plea was finally recognized in 1987 on October 17 when 100,000 people stood in the Trocadero Plaza in Paris in a public demonstration calling for the eradication of poverty and for the preservation of human rights. In December of 1992, The UN General Assembly officially proclaimed October 17 as the â€œInternational Day for the Eradication of Povery.â€
Since then, October 17th has been recognized all over the world. It is the day for the poor to speak out, to plea, to get attention, to demonstrate. It is a day for the rich, the middle class, the students, the mothers, the corporates, the NGOâ€™s and everyone else to listen to the poor and unite their efforts to eradicate poverty. 38.8 million is a great number for this yearâ€™s commemoration.
On October 17, we all remember the words of Father Joseph Wresinski: â€œWherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.â€
This year was the 20th anniversary and the theme for October 17 was â€œPeople living in poverty as agents of change.â€
We can confidently say that this is the largest effort to end poverty. International organizations in collaboration with the UN Millennium Campaign include: Amnesty International, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, International Movement ATD Fourth World.
UN Millennium Campaignâ€™s Executive Coordinator, Eveline Herfkens remarked about this yearâ€™s number of 38.8 million stating, â€œTogether we have broken the incredible record for the largest number of people standing up to demand action on poverty. But the record we really want to break is the worldâ€™s record of poverty every year. This is the great issue of our times, let us become great by dealing with it decisively.â€
Many experts have declared that poverty is the greatest issue of this age and some have labeled the problem as a conundrum because it seems that there are more than enough monetary and agricultural resources, yet the number of impoverished individuals is staggering.
So, even if you think this is a temporary spasm of guilt, the United Nations is pushing onward, working with NGOs to eradicate poverty.
Listeners, thatâ€™s the end of the todayâ€™s program. The opinions on Speak Out Georgia do not reflect those of Good Politics Radio. Thank you for listening to Speak Out Georgia. Iâ€™m Chika Oduah.