Blog Action Day

15 Oct

Today I am participating in Blog Action Day. The theme this year is poverty. There’s lots I could write about poverty but today I just wanted to post the plain facts on my blog. There is no running away from the facts below. There is a simple answer to them. We have to do more to combat poverty. Not enough is being done.

I really urge you to think about sponsoring a child if you can. There are many great organizations that do this such as Compassion, World Vision, Plan International, Save the Children and Action Aid. Sponsoring a child not only helps the child’s improvement of life, it also helps improve the community around them in which they live. We have sponsor children and I am always so very choked when they write to us. They say things like “thank you that I now have a warm blanket to sleep on and new shoes to wear” “thank you that we were able to have a Christmas present this year” (and that’s not toys, it’s usually some meat for the family and some practical things like clothes) “thank you that I can go to school and learn” We give such a small amount of money in comparison to what these children and their communities receive from it.

Think about buying alternative gifts for people for Christmas this year so that others can benefit. You can buy simple things such as a mosquito net all the way to buying a water well for example. Did you know that a few goats, a brood of hens, some fruit trees, tools etc can literally change someone’s life? Check out World Vision, Oxfam and Traidcraft or search on line for other organizations that offer alternative gifts.

Before you read the poverty data I just wanted to share a few facts that I learned a few years ago when I read “Rich Thinking About the World’s Poor” by Peter Meadows. These facts have stayed in my mind since. The book was published in 2003, so the figures are slightly out of date, but here goes:

  • Europeans spend £7.3 billion on ice cream each year, this is roughly what it would cost to provide safe water for every child on earth.
  • The UK spends £30 billion on golf each year, this is enough to provide basic health care, education and clean water to every human being on the planet (I hate to think what the £ amount is if we included all western golf spending).
  • 20% of the world’s population consume 86% of the world’s resources.
  • It would only take 4% of the wealth of the world’s 225 richest people to provide food, education and health care needed to end poverty
  • The world spends $780 billion on military, $400 billion on illegal drugs, $12 billion on perfume each year.
  • It would cost $8 billion to help the world feed itself, $9 billion to provide clean water, $6 billion to provide universal primary education.

Here’s the data then:

Health
* Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.
* More than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.
* Everyday HIV/AIDS kills 6,000 people and another 8,200 people are infected with this deadly virus.
* Every 30 seconds an African child dies of malaria—more than one million child deaths a year.
* Each year,approximately 300 to 500 million people are infected with malaria.Approximately three
million people die as a result.
* TB is the leading AIDS-related killer and in some parts of Africa,75 percent of people with HIV
also have TB.

Hunger

* More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day…300 million are children.

* Of these 300 million children,only eight percent are victims of famine or other emergency situations.More   than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micro nutrient deficiency.

* Every 3.6 seconds another person dies of starvation and the large majority are children under the age of 5.

Water
* More than 2.6 billion people—over 40 per cent of the world’s population—do not have basic sanitation,and more than one billion people still use unsafe sources of drinking water.
* Four out of every ten people in the world don’t have access even to a simple latrine.
* Five million people,mostly children,die each year from water-borne diseases.

Agriculture
* In 1960, Africa was a net exporter of food; today the continent imports one-third of its grain.
* More than 40 percent of Africans do not even have the ability to obtain sufficient food on a day-to-
day basis.
* Declining soil fertility,land degradation, and the AIDS pandemic have led to a 23 percent decrease
in food production per capita in the last 25 years even though population has increased dramatically.
* For the African farmer, conventional fertilizers cost two to six times more than the world market price.

The devastating effect of poverty on women
* Above 80 percent of farmers in Africa are women.
* More than 40 percent of women in Africa do not have access to basic education.
* If a girl is educated for six years or more, as an adult her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth
survival rates, will dramatically and consistently improve.
* Educated mothers immunize their children 50 percent more often than mothers who are not educated.
* AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling.
* The children of a woman with five years of primary school education have a survival rate 40 percent
higher than children of women with no education.
* A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dyingin pregnancy or childbirth.
This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America.
* Every minute, a woman somewhere dies in pregnancy or childbirth.This adds up to 1,400 women
dying each day—an estimated 529,000 each year—from pregnancy-related causes.
* Almost half of births in developing countries take place without the help of a skilled birth attendant.

Source: UN Millenium Project

Now that’s a lot to think and pray about.

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4 Responses to “Blog Action Day”

  1. kouji haiku October 15, 2008 at 08:33 #

    i think it’s wonderful that you’ve sponsored children. i’ll try to do so as well, once i start working.

    for now, i’m quite fond of freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. 🙂

  2. lynhallewell October 15, 2008 at 10:48 #

    Hi there, thanks for stopping by!

    I think Kiva is great, I’ve not heard of freerice or goodsearch, I’ll have to look into them.

    Bless you 🙂

  3. Gary Baumgarten October 15, 2008 at 11:01 #

    World Hunger Year co-founder Bill Ayers will be my guest on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com at 5 PM New York time today to talk about World Food Day.

    Please go to my blog at http://www.garybaumgarten.com and click on the link to the show to talk to Ayers.

    Thanks.

  4. pwoodsclark October 15, 2008 at 14:34 #

    Thanks Lynn for sharing this information and great list of ideas. Each year, my husband and I sponsor children at a sister parish in Haiti to pay their educational needs for one year. The money costs less than filling our gas tanks for one week, but pays for books, uniforms, tuition, and lunch for an entire year. Just a little can mean of lot in this world.

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