5 Nov 2012

Poverty Begins when we Fail to Act!



Poverty begins when even one child is denied his or her fundamental right to education. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life, all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.

As the world celebrated its 7th Billion baby on the 1st of November 2011, the above words of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan kept ringing in my head and I could not help but ask myself why so much celebration at the birth of a child who like majority of the world’s children born in the global south have no guarantee of having 3 meals a day, talk less of ever seeing the four walls of a classroom before they die.

Sad as the facts above may be,  sadder is even the fact that while humanity is busy celebrating technological advancement and an ever growing number of billionaires, a part of humanity is perishing in silence. In its 2011 State of the World’ s Children Report, UNICEF the world’s premier Children’s organization reported that 7.6 million children died before they were 5 years old in 2010. The fact that these children died from preventable diseases and effects of poverty even makes me more ashamed of being part of a world in which a minority, which though having the means to help out, are so indifferent to the suffering and pains of others. Who can believe that in a world with majority of its people living in urban areas, a child dies every 4 seconds from preventable causes? We marvel at the riches of those who billionaires which Forbes profiles year-in and year-out. But do we for an instance stop to think about those people in a small village somewhere in Cameroon called Bafmeng where women give birth at the help of torch lights and where parents cannot afford 3 dollars to register their children in school.

I am intimately convinced that the greatness of a people is measured by the care accorded its children and those among them who cannot afford to provide their children the tools and opportunities to become people on whom society can count. Are you among those who think there is nothing you can do for the world’s children? Do you believe the world is a global village with the fate of its inhabitants more interlinked than never before? Then there is something you can do, however small, to contribute to the achievement of the aspiration of parents the world over –that of given birth to a child and seeing that child grow to become an adult-which is was recognized in the year 2010 by the UN by making the reduction of infant mortality one of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Join one of the numerous networks of the thousands of   people who with lots passion and engagement have willingly decided to fight poverty to the last drop of their blood.

Yes! Poverty ultimately begins when we fail to act to uphold the dignity of our fellow beings. As we celebrate world population Day in 2012, let’s all act for greater access of women and children to health facilities. As world leaders, civil society organizations, and young people the world over   gather in Bali, Indonesia for the ICPD Global Youth Forum(4-6 December 2012)  to discuss means and ways of making   youths   rights a priority in development policy by including them in decision and policy making process, youths that we are must strive for our voices to be heard!

Kwa Gaston
Action Partner for the Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP)
International Young Blogger for Advocates for Youth