Combatting global poverty

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for a greater international effort to combat what he called the “emergency” of global poverty.

Human suffering should be everyone’s concern. Every little help from any source can be of great value in time of need. There are instances when the world community gathers to offer emergency help in case of natural disasters like earthquakes with pledges of further assistance. But with time, only emergency help arrives without the substantial help needed for sustained development. There were many conferences to help Afghanistan and Iraq with pledges of billions of dollars. But only a fraction of this is channelled. International humanitarian organisations are each time ringing the alarm bell for dwindling or insufficient funds.

On many occasions, international conferences are just about talking not acting. Donor countries set conditions. Sometimes donations are wasted because of corruption and mismanagement. Many things that are taken for granted in the West are still considered as long term goals in poor countries. Education for every child, stopping infant mortality, generalising sanitation facilities, water and electricity are still seen as a distant dream as the infrastructure isn’t yet in place. In many third world countries, at least more than half the population enjoy services that are widely available in rich countries.

For poor countries, they shouldn’t all the time put the blame on colonialism. Now they are independent. This entails full responsibility in implanting programmes through government policies, international, national and local associations. They should get rid of the inferiority complex as any act by the West is considered as related to colonial mentality.

Countries are like bodies. The body becomes a whole through its cells which constitute its different parts. Each cell must be healthy for a healthy body. Countries should create healthy cells at the local and national levels to tackle their problems. Grandiose aims are sometimes too much to handle, like the idea of a united African government as suggested by Gaddafi of Libya. Currently each poor country should be united in tackling its own problems instead of remaining plunged in economic, political and regional divisions.

What can be said about pledges from international leaders is that rhetoric is more resounding than action. Facts have shown that complex problems become more complex before any proposed solution is implemented.

The slogan of “Make poverty a history” has become a part of the history of the attempts to alleviate poverty. But currently the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. Common actions are positive but they are too slow to set thing right quickly. Actions are still hampered by the lack of funds, staff or simply by the spread of corruption and mismanagement.

Any little help from any source can be of good use provided countries needing help first help themselves.

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