What Can You Do to End Poverty? Take It On!


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Often, people ask me how they can get involved in a social movement to end extreme poverty. Not so long ago, I participated in a MOOC – a massive open online course – organized by Wesleyan University called “How to Change the World.”

Wesleyan President Michael Roth asked me for advice to students who wanted to get engaged in a social movement to end poverty. My response is that we’re going to need everyone – doctors, writers, engineers, lawyers, social workers, and visionaries in governments and in the private sector.

So what is it going to take to build a successful social movement to end poverty? What role can you play? Take a minute to watch the video. What I really hope is that it inspires you to get involved, to take it on. Please share this with your friends, and let me know what you think.

This post first appeared in LinkedIn Influencers.

Join the Conversation

Eugene Nzeribe
April 11, 2014

Dear Jim Yong Kim, I like what you presented in this video. There are lots of ideas from everywhere but like you said, we have to identify what part of the project each person or group can take on. On the issue of Africa, I would like to suggest, to the overall planners of this new big movement (at the UN), to make the effort to use the potential capacity of the thousands of organized NGO already on the ground in every town in Africa, to reach the 100 million impoverished entrepreneurs and farmers, already operating in African towns and villages, and offer them micro-credits. Empowering this 100 million people, who are already on the move with their business ideas (they already know and are doing what they can to earn a living), will be one of the fastest and most economical ways to reduce poverty. This is a huge potential in Africa's underground economy that development planners have not properly taken into consideration and tapped. Today, there are 550 million people in the 49 countries of sub-Sahara who are in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day. We also know that this 100 million self-employed impoverished entrepreneurs and farmers, are mostly the ones that look after the rest of the 450 million children and elderly that are in poverty in the region. The reason they and their children are in poverty today is because they lack the small capital (less than $500) with which to grow their livelihood activities and earn better profits/income.
If the United Nations can rally the rich world to immediately empower local Non-Government-Organizations in all countries around sub-Sahara, to address this issue and distribute micro-investment capital to the poorest entrepreneurs, the number of poor people in Africa could be reduced by half, in the next 24 months. Local NGOs will identify qualified impoverished entrepreneurs and offer them acceptable very low interest loans or grants of $50 - $500 per entrepreneur. The yard-stick could be that qualified poor entrepreneur would be those whose daily incomes are less than $1.25 x (# of people in their family). Majority of these entrepreneurs would be women.
Eugene Nzeribe, Ottawa