Global Poverty Project

On Friday 26th February the Global Poverty Project is showing its 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation here in Cambridge. The event is free, open to all and is happening at the […]

On Friday 26th February the Global Poverty Project is showing its 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation here in Cambridge. The event is free, open to all and is happening at the Corn Exchange. 1000 people from both the University and the local community look set to fill the auditorium in what will undoubtedly be one of the major anti-poverty events this year.

What is the Global Poverty Project?
The Project was launched at the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in 2008. It is backed by the UN, the Australian Government and the British Government. The aim of the Project is to catalyse the movement to end extreme poverty. By building awareness and education about extreme poverty, the issues that surround it and what each of us can do to help, the Global Poverty Project aims to get the whole of society caring about the issue of extreme poverty and feeling empowered to do something about it. The Project hopes to achieve this via their 90-minute presentation which is being launched in the UK this year.

The Global Poverty Project has big goals, and a big challenge ahead. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, and attempts to reduce poverty face tough obstacles and problems. In 2000 the UN set the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015. There has been substantial success but currently we are falling short of these promises. There seems to be a need to increase motivation to end extreme poverty and to make sure that this issue is put at the top of the world’s political agenda.

What makes the Global Poverty Project different?
The Global Poverty Project is a cross between the Make Poverty History Campaign and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. The Project seeks to inspire people on a longer-term basis by looking at extreme poverty in more depth than many other awareness campaigns. The Project works on many levels. On the individual level it lets people know what they can do in their everyday lives. On the societal level it hopes to build political support for a change in policy on this issue. Currently if a prospective MP attempted to raise taxation in order to fund an increase in expenditure on international development they would likely be voted out. We hope to get to a situation where an MP can only be elected in if they have some sort of policy to help end extreme poverty. On top of this, simply by bringing people in society together with different ideas and perspectives, the Project hopes to foster communication about extreme poverty and, therefore, improve and develop strategies on how to face this challenge. It only requires funding for the cost of the presentations, and does not ask audience members for their money – only their attention.

If you fall under any of the following reaction categories then here is why you should come:

I don’t know anything about this: What is extreme poverty? What is different about extreme poverty compared to poverty in general? What policies can we implement to end extreme poverty? Do they work? How can I help? If these are some of the questions rushing through your head when you watched Live Aid then you should definitely be coming to the 1.4 Billion Reasons Presentation. The Presentation will go through all the key questions that people have on this issue. It will explain what extreme poverty is, what are its main characteristics, what policies have been implemented with regards the ending of extreme poverty and what obstacles these policies face. It analyses case studies of those countries that have eradicated extreme poverty, it looks at aid that works and aid that doesn’t. It aims to get the audience thinking, not just listening.

I know there is extreme poverty but what can I do?: The Presentation should clearly illustrate the types of action that each one of us can take to help end extreme poverty. But furthermore, the presentation is backed by the Project’s website, which goes further to show people what they can do. There will be a charity fair at the event where local charities will have stalls and be able to offer ideas about how you can help.

But what about corruption? What about the financial cost of this? What about climate change? Basically I think it’s a nice idea but it’s too idealistic: We are really keen for sceptics and cynics to come to the event. The presentation is not going to answer all the questions, there is no way it can in 90 minutes (or at least truthfully so). But it does try to suggest ways of overcoming the obstacles. There has already been a huge amount of research on the subject, but the best way of finding solutions is to bring all perspectives together. The project wants you to ask questions, it is meant to be interactive.

Sorry, I don’t care:
PLEASE COME, you are a dying breed and you need to know why.