Woman uses fresh water source in Nepal | Ways to fight povertyMore than half the world lives on less than $2 a day.

It’s a startling truth that can sometimes make us feel helpless. Yet poverty can and must be fought. Our very own Dr. Dennis Labayen, Field Operations Director, identified 5 effective ways to fight poverty. Dennis has been working since 1973 to create a sustainable, permanent solution to poverty in many poor communities around the world. After years of research and implementation, Dennis and his team have fine-tuned a process called Participatory Human Development. The process is so effective that other NGOs are also being trained in these techniques and are adopting similar practices.

Here are his 5 ways to fight poverty.
  1. The people directly affected by the problems or issues of poverty in the community have to be actively and authentically participating in their efforts to fight poverty. This means that the affected people themselves will be the major participants of the intervention to fight poverty. Formal leaders need to be consulted, as well as those affected. Their worldview should be taken into consideration, and through facilitation, they become part of the process of addressing and resolving the issues they face.
  2. Create an organized group within the community to help many people, rather than only a few individuals. Rather than working with individual persons, it is more effective to facilitate collective and organized actions to help strengthen and empower people in poverty through an organization. This means that it is not enough to provide assistance to individually affected persons alone, but through collective organization, each individual is developed and steps are taken to address their problems and other problems in the future.
  3. The people affected need to identify the issues. It is more effective when issues and problems are identified by the people facing them. They begin to gain self-confidence and acquire capabilities in working together on simple problems. This means that their initial efforts and experiences can be used toward addressing more complex problems and issues. It is in identifying and acting on their initial simple issues or problems that the affected people gain self-confidence and the capability to identify other matters which need to be addressed. Though externally introduced projects can help some of poverty’s effects, without the people’s active involvement linking these projects with their own identified issues and problems, such projects will most likely not be sustained or maintained.
  4. People in poverty need to understand that they can often address and solve their own issues. The affected people going through the process of fighting poverty should have a raised level of consciousness about their situation, and their own capabilities, in order to sustain their collective efforts and address future issues.
  5. Fighting poverty takes time. The process of fighting poverty is not simple, especially since a deep personal transformation needs to take place in those affected. It takes time to empower and facilitate affected people so they can become actors of their own development.

Many thanks to Dr. Labayen for sharing these insights.

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