For those of us who are directly battling the direst forms of poverty in the global south, it is nearly impossible to escape extreme poverty with current approaches to ending global poverty. It is precisely impossible.
So, for the period leading up to 2030, I have set for myself a new goal:
Starting 2022, through Dec 31, 2030, I will be using every single minute that I am awake, to persistently rage, and to consistently vent my pain, until humanity as a species a) changes its approaches to ending global poverty and b) drops its pretext(s) for wanting to keep people like us in chronic poverty even in 2030. So help me God. Help me dear humanity.
My reasons for raging:
To be honest, the world, and the global development sector (or the global antipoverty movement), really operate in a way that makes it simply impossible for those of us at the very bottom of the pyramid, to escape extreme poverty.
For some reason, humanity as a whole really believes the world’s ultra poor, i.e., those of us who live directly on <$1.9/day in the global south, should have no business ending extreme poverty, and that this should instead be done for us by the right people, i.e., the elite from the global development sector, in the global north.
And without mincing any words, humanity is very keen to make this clear, by making sure that only1%of all the money that is intended to end global poverty, is what is given directly to the extreme poor in the global south, keeping the other 99% in the hands of the people from the global development sector.
The global development sector, for its part, really believes the extreme poor must solely do one thing: ‘sit and wait for our own solutions to reach your village.’
And these guys are very true to their word. So, until their own solutions reach your village, getting these people to lend you a voice on poverty in any way, or getting them to work together with you on anything, is nothing short of a miracle.
The painful truth is: for those of us at the very bottom of the pyramid, it is relatively easy to get some random person, say an anarchist club somewhere in Europe, to lend you a voice on extreme poverty, than to get someone from the global development sector to work together with you on poverty, even in the slightest way.
But their own solutions, which could have brought them together with the extreme poor, only reach very, very few random poor communities.
So, maintaining that the ultra poor must instead sit and wait for the right people to come and move them from poverty, is nothing but a way of keeping people like us on the margins of humanity, and a way of condemning people like us into chronic poverty, for good.
My reasons for raging (from a personal perspective):
Where I live, extreme poverty is the only thing on people’s minds.
Personally, just recently in 2015, when the UN Global Goals were being launched, I was still going entire days without any food, and things had been that way for me since my years of childhood.
But the energy that surrounded the launch of the Global Goals was one of the very first things that restored hope in me, and which made me believe a poverty-free world was now possible, and that people like us were now in the company of the rest of humanity.
So, I have spent the last 7 years trying to befriend humanity, with only one goal: using the period 2015 – 2030 both to turn my own life around, and to contribute to a lasting, self sustainable path from poverty in my region.
I wouldn’t want to be trapped in the same life of hunger and chronic poverty even in 2030, and I wouldn’t want to sit and watch the cycle of poverty in my region go unchanged even ten years later.
In a way, I also believe the only way global poverty can end, is when the extreme poor, i.e., those of us at the very bottom of the pyramid, are directly at the helm of ending extreme poverty.
Why? Because in a place like ours, it is very hard to find a single activity that is taking place to end extreme poverty, let alone as a result of the global fight against poverty.
The extreme poor, meanwhile, permanently live in these impoverished communities, and are therefore best placed to end extreme poverty, with continuity, if only they were at the helm.
But boy, was I wrong!
I have tried to befriend humanity, to lend us a voice on poverty, but I have only ended up going bald. It’s true, due to stress.
Why I place the blame on humanity as a whole:
By deciding that supporting the global antipoverty elite (rather than the extreme poor themselves) is the best thing to do, humanity as a creation is directly complicit in disenfranchising those of us at the very bottom of the pyramid, and is directly responsible for making a final end to global extreme poverty a very chanceful, opportunistic process.
The whole idea of supporting “the world’s most effective charities”, or “only well-vetted charities”, which in reality only means supporting big western charities, is the very reason the world’s extreme poor are where they are today.
This, in particular, is what I call humanity’s pretext(s) for wanting to keep people like us in chronic poverty even in 2030.
Because it is exactly what keeps 99% of global antipoverty funding away from the ultra poor, while keeping it in the hands of people who barely work with the poor, or at best, whose work is only present in a few random poor communities, and which work (as one American writer sayshere) tends to be very short-lived.
People’s livelihoods only keep getting harder, regardless of what the world is talking in New York or in Davos, and regardless of how much is being expended on ending extreme poverty.
Young people from my country are flocking to the Middle East (Saudi, Oman, UAE etc), only to comebackincaskets, because of crippling poverty and unemployment back home.
And my region, Kamuli & Buyende, is perhaps the most miserable, and the most impoverished place there is.
This could really change, and global poverty surely would end for once, if humanity directly supported the people who live in chronic poverty.
For the hundreds of millions of people across the global south who, just like me, have spent their entire lives in ultra poverty, our biggest dream is to see a poverty-free world in our lifetime, ideally by 2030.
But at this point, I am 100% convinced that this is something that will never ever happen, under current approaches to ending global poverty.
It is against this backdrop that I will be using the period leading up to 2030 to rage, vent, and to haunt humanity as relentlessly as possible, until humanity as a species a) changes its approaches to ending global poverty, and b) drops its pretext(s) for wanting to keep people like us in ultra poverty even in 2030. So help me God. Help me dear humanity.