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If You Could Help End Extreme Poverty, Would You? We Can. Let's Take It On.

Ravi Kumar's picture
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Talent is everywhere, but opportunities are not. That’s the conventional belief.

Today, after listening to some amazing young people speak about their lives at Thursday’s End Poverty event at the World Bank, I’m convinced that opportunities are omnipresent.

These youth have one thing in common: They all want to take on poverty and want everyone else to join them. For the first time in history, we can end extreme poverty, and we can do it by 2030. It’s the right thing to do.

Confucius, a Chinese philosopher who lived in the fifth century B.C., said that when we are faced with what’s right, “to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” Today, four inspiring youth leaders were at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. to do what is right by helping to launch a global movement to end extreme poverty by 2030.

One of them, Chernor Bah, was born during a civil war in the slums of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. Access to basic needs such as food was a privilege for him. His mom’s resilience helped him get education, he passionately told an energetic, youthful crowd. When he grew up he took it upon himself to mobilize young people to help increase access to education. Today he serves as the chairman of the Youth Advocacy Group for the Global Education First Initiative. Its goal is “to accelerate progress towards the Education for All goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals.”

Ashish J. Thakkar, the founder of Mara Group, spoke about empowering, enabling, and inspiring youth through his work. He believes businesses should “do good and do well.” Nargis Shirazi spoke about the importance of empowering girls by increasing awareness about sexual health.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim joined these youth leaders and recalled how when he was in his 30s he joined the movement to fight HIV/AIDS. He asked everyone to take on the challenge of ending poverty. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he wants to see a world where everyone has an opportunity succeed and live a life of dignity.

To reach our goal, 1 million people have to lift themselves out of poverty every week for 16 years. That’s an audacious ambition. But it’s doable.

The world now has the largest youth population in history. We have a crucial role to play in ending poverty. 

Youth serve as the bridge between the past and future. They stand between the intersection of failures, achievements, and potential. They are in the best place to fight poverty. Like the youth who shared their experiences and vision today, you can turn obstacles into opportunities.

No matter where you are and whatever resources you have, you have an opportunity to make your life better, make your neighbors' lives better, and change your community.

Thanks to the ever-growing availability of affordable technology, we are not just a global village but also connected brains — capitalizing on collective intelligence and local knowledge. We can raise awareness on social media, share information, and take on challenges in our own way. All of this will help us achieve our goal of ending poverty by 2030.

History has shown that social movements are often led by small groups of people. “Students should never doubt the ability of themselves and small group of like-minded people to change the world,” President Kim said to a group of students recently, paraphrasing the famous quote attributed to Margaret Mead.

“Movements matter and movements create change,” said Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, an organization that wants to end extreme poverty by 2030. He asked everyone to sign the petition Zero Poverty 2030 that will be delivered to finance ministers of the world, asking them to have a robust plan to end poverty.  

Sign the petition. Take action to end poverty wherever you are.
As Thakkar said today, “This is our time. And there are no excuses.”

Read also: Young and Eager to Be a Policymaker: A Few Inspiring Examples


Submitted by zakaria on


Hello Ravi, thank you for writing this article. I am sure that many people around the world would like to be given the opportunity to contribute positively towards ending poverty. There are lots of ideas and I am hereby stating mine briefly below. But to summarize, the Youth program ideas being discussed are great and will help create jobs for the future. There is also a huge potential capacity in Africa's on-going underground economy, that development planners seem to have not taken into consideration and tapped. Today, there are 550 million people in the 49 countries of sub-Sahara Africa who are in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day. This number is made up of 100 million adults who are in the forgotten underground economy. These 100 million are mostly the ones that look after the rest of the 450 million children and elderly, that are in poverty in the region. They are already self employed and trying their hand on some kind of enterprise or agricultural activity. 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 Sec Gen Ban Ki-moon and 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 40%, the number of poor people in Africa could be reduced by half, in the next 24 months. The local NGOs will identify the qualified impoverished micro-business entrepreneurs and advance strictly, business micro-loans of anywhere from $50 to $500 to each 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

Submitted by Alankar kr on

yes ! Together, We Can !
I am very happy to know about this global mission to end extreme poverty by 2030.
I have chosen development field as my career and working for the same for last 5 years in India.
I believe this is the best way to contribute by devoting whole of your professional work for the cause to end poverty and equality to all !

Submitted by Mammaji Ahmad on

Thankyou to all the people that are trying to end poverty by 2030.GOD a woman,women education is good but should have limit.

Submitted by Amitkumar DEV on

This would certainly enthuse millions across the globe to pull action trigger for major global awareness and progress

Submitted by Giovano Kundono on

Poverty can be reduced when systemic corruption is eradicated and minimum wage be increased to an acceptable rate! This would take at least 10 pages to explain in summary.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am from a third world country i.e kenya where everyday I come into the hash reality of poverty every day in my life,but thanks to God am currently engineering student in local university ,I want to use my skill in changing my surrounding n I believ we can do it by 2030,zero poverty..,


Poverty occupies the central key of lack up development at present not in India but also in world.The plan and policy adopted by World Bank for 2030 is a extremely good news for everybody in the whole world but in the real thing is that the young people either educated or uneducated what ever it may be the reality to aware and conscious how to reach to the real poor. As my opinion there are two types of poor in real sense. one is unidentified those are staying in roods without any identity and other are in the society some may not have any identity for malpractices of the present government. in the both side how and which manner cab reach to remove without practical. for that manner a grass root campaign is necessary at top to bottom with proper monitoring and evaluation system and it can be possible to achieving our goal without any doubt N.K.PANDU-NBDP INDIA

I understand that in 2012 alone over $17 trillion was spent on war efforts and military by all countries worldwide! However it would take only $235 Billion properly spent to eliminate poverty on Earth forever! This should tell all a lot about who is running things economically and what their plans are! Just one country like Nigeria whose had well over $400 Billion in "flight capital" lootied since it's 1960 Independence could alone solve the entire worlds poverty! So what are we waiting for....let's do it! So note the powers that be could have done so along time ago if they wanted to so what's the real agenda?

Submitted by Sharon Cherono ,Kenya on

great world...This is a great article.How pleasing to see youth who
wish to end poverty by 2030..Iam also in and i will do my part

Submitted by Anonymous on

Poverty, the way I see it, in third world, is epidermic. It spreads in families and takes roots and becomes very hard to stamp out. So the poor families, just survive by mercy of God. On the other extreme, the wealthy get richer and richer and only few have concern for the poor. Such an initiative(concern for the poor)will free the poor and give them opportunity to enjoy life. If they could be given an opportunity of managing Micro Enterprises,by providing them with small loans, probably this could free them from poverty.

Submitted by Mercy on

This is a lovely move coming from a third world country, Kenya which a huge percentage of the population is poverty striken, i still believe in zero poverty by 2030. Since the current government came into power it has been focusing towards youth and women empowerment project but this is yet to bear fruits as corruption is also iminent proving that the poor youth cannot tap into this opportunity. I agree with Eugene when he says that in the spirit of ensuring zero povert, local Non- governmental programs should be formed where they can provide capital in form of loans for youth projects and especially the youths from poor backgrounds

Submitted by Paul Nithin Jr on

I would love to take up the initiative.. But the first spark and direction is something important.spark is here ,but direction. Leave a direction for the youth ,they will improvise it for sure .what is important in the discussion is a method to fight proverty. Give that and leave the rest to us

Submitted by Miriam on

Great minds,thinking great thoughts.I believe WE CAN!God help us.

Submitted by christabel on

Yes !we can make the world a better place in 2030.I believe.nothing is impossible cos the word itself says I'm possible

Submitted by Thuso Mphela on

Extreme Poverty Eradication Possible

Is it possible to have every man (gender neutral) leaving under his roof with food on his table? I have a very strong feeling it is. As a supply chains professional I have always argued that it is possible, through creative business linkages, to conect ordinary (micro) bisinesses to the mainstream economies. The reality is that our people have great ideas, either set up deliberately as businesses or hobbies, that can be scaled up through creative engagements. Policymakers in our countries need to provide conducive environments for such businesses (normaly termed informal) to thrive, while the private sector deliberately engages such businesses for the development of communities within which they operate. I see the last two issues as the greatest challenges of many countries, at least in our case in Botswana.