How to change this world and reduce poverty in the world

(Muneeb Zafar, )

Poverty is a global issue. All the countries around the world face the problem of poverty, but there are some countries which are poorer than others like the developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There is no one size fits all definition of the concept of poverty. The poorest people in an industrialized nation maybe well off than the average citizens in a less-developing country. The definition of poverty alternate from regions across the planet. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report 1996, the average per capita income of the poorest one-fifth of Americans was $5,814 in 1993. That figure is ten times Tanzania’s average per capita income of $580 per year. By Tanzanian standards, Americans in that bottom 20 percent may seem quite well-off. However, by U.S. standards, they are not. They point out that most poor American families own more luxury items and consumer appliances than average Europeans do (UN 1996). Although there are some regions have made considerable progress in reducing poverty, about two thirds of the world’s poor live in Asia and the Pacific, based on a poverty line of one dollar a day. That region’s number of the world’s poor exceeds two thirds if the poverty line becomes two dollars. There are more than one billion people in the region whose income is between one and two dollars a day. There are two types of poverty, extreme poverty or absolute poverty and relative poverty.
Extreme poverty is known as destitution or absolute poverty and it could be injurious to people’s health and life. In the United States, absolute poverty is traditionally defined as having an annual income that is less than half of the official poverty line (an income level determined by the Bureau of the Census). Absolute poverty in developing nations, as defined by international organisations, like the World Bank, means having a household income of less than US $ 1.25 a day in 2005. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than the others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. Relative poverty is socially defined and dependent on context, it is a measure of income inequality. The reasons for poverty are not clears. Some people believe that poverty results from a lack of adequate resources on global level-resources such as land, food, and building materials-that are necessary for the well-being or survival of the world’s people. (Adapted from Wikipedia 2012). Other defines poverty as being an effect of the uneven distribution of resources around the world. According to this second line of reasoning, it helps to understand the inequality between the two worlds, one where some people have more than they need to live and one where the people do not have enough to survive.
There has been considerable interest in recent years in the ability of non-governmental organisations to work with the poor in order to improve their quality of life and economic status through the provision of credit, skills training, and other inputs for income-generation programmes. The term “non-governmental organisation” can be broadly viewed as being composed of a wide variety of organisations variously known as “private voluntary organisations”, “civil society organisations” and “non-profit organisations” (McGann and Johnstone,2006). In the cases in where NGOs are totally or partially funded by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization. Defining the term NGOs is ambiguous as they are confusing, contradicting, and sometimes overlapping in defining the terms. The NGOs sector is extremely divers as these organisation have very different structures, goals and motivations. NGOs are generally composed of non-profit, voluntary citizens, groups which are organised on a local, national or international level and they have certain interests, causes, or goals.
NGOs work in many different fields, but the term is generally associated with those seeking social transformation and improvements in quality of life. There are many NGOs, who are affiliated with international aid and other donors, but NGOs happens not to funds and they try to generate their own, such as selling handicrafts or charging for services. In the recent decades, NGOs have moved from backstage to centre stage in reshaping the world of politics, and are exerting their power and influence in every aspect of international relations and policymaking. NGOs have a positive impact on local and international issues, such as poverty alleviation, conservation of human rights, preserving the environment, and providing worldwide relief. The growth of NGOs has been too a large extent fuelled by the inability of both domestic and international institutions to respond adequately to major economic, social and political changes which have been taking place at a fast pace (Heap, 2000). The number of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) alone rose from 6,000 in 1990 to reach 26,000 in 1996 (The Economist, 1999), and 37,000 in 2002 (UNDP, 2002). Figures for NGOs operating at national level are much higher: Russia, for instance is estimated to have some 277,000 NGOs and India between 1 million and 2 million NGOs (Chicago Tribune, 2007). In 2006, it was estimated that there were some 1.5 million NGOs in the USA alone (McGann and Johnstone, 2006).
2.2 Evolution and Growth of NGOs
International non-governmental organizations have been dating back to at least 1839. In 1914 there were 1083 NGOs (UN 2007). International NGOs played a big part in the anti-slavery movement and the movement for women’s suffrage, and reached a peak at the time of the World Disarmament Conference. However, the term “non-governmental organization” only came into popular use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter for a consultative role for organizations which are neither governments nor member states (UN 2007). Globalization occurring during the 20th century gave importance to the rise of NGOs globally and most importantly in developing countries. International treaties and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization centred their interests mostly on capitalist enterprises. In an attempt to counterbalance the interests of these international organizations and international treaties, NGOs were developed to emphasize humanitarian issues, developmental aid and sustainable development.
Though the term NGO became known to the world in the year 1839 the voluntary sector around the world is much older than this. In England voluntary work made its way back in the medieval time where the poor were being looked after by the monastery. The poor people and the beggars were taken care by the monasteries and churches. It was like this that in England there was the introduction of the Poor Law and later it became the Welfare States. But in the beginning it all started as voluntary work as the clergy men were not paid to help the poor. Voluntary work has always been present, especially among the religious organisations, giving food or money was common. NGOs in its traditional form have been working in different religious trust-based schools, hospitals and orphanages. In India NGOs became known in 1980s but voluntary work started after the independent from the British in 1946. In independent India, voluntary organizations started by Gandhi and his disciples were to fill in the gaps left by the government in the development process. In the 1980s, however, the groups who were now known as NGOs became more specialized, and the voluntary movement was fragmented into different groups.
2.3 Evolution of NGOs in Mauritius
NGOs in Mauritius started with voluntary works for the welfare of society. In the past, such type of social works started with the bourgeoisie class, the young girls from the upper class where were doing charity work to help the poor like giving them food and sometimes educating them. Later on this voluntary work was untaken by other agencies like the church or other religious bodies, like for example “Arya Samaj” who helps poor people by giving free education to their children and till now it is still done. Much of the charity work and voluntary work which are done now were performed in the past by religious organisations. They worked dependently from the government even if the government were allocating them money. NGOs are present where the government or other organisations have failed to cater for those in need. There are a large number of religious organisations that are considered to form part of NGOs according to Macoss. Some examples of these organisations are: Al Marjaan Islamic & Secular Institute, Hindu Maha Sabha, Jummah Mosque Port Louis, Arya Sabha, and Adventist Development Relief Agency.
NGOs became known quiet recently thought Macoss (Mauritius Council of Social Service) in Mauritius. The Mauritius Council of Social Service was founded in November 1965 and it was incorporated, under Act 55 of 1970, voted in Parliament, providing the legal framework of the Council. As an Umbrella organisation for NGOS, Macoss seeks to promote Social and Community Development and Voluntary Actions through Non-Governmental Organisations. It helps its members by initiating communication, collaboration and networking among NGOs and between NGOs, Government and private sector, primarily through meetings, workshops, consultation and institutional development activities. Macoss also facilitates its member’s organisations and strengthens their organisation capacity. Macoss plays a leadership role in good governance, policy, advocacy, capacity building and innovation for a vibrant, efficient and effective Non Government Organisation sector and Civil Society Organisation.
2.4 Causes of Poverty
Poverty is like a vicious circle. Poverty causes poverty. Just as the rich people get richer as they are already rich and the poor get poorer because they live in poverty. Poverty has many causes and some of them are very basic. Some experts suggest that poverty is caused due few employment or lack of food. The basic factors that may lead to poverty are: inadequate education and employment opportunities overpopulation, inability to meet standard of living and cost of living, certain economic and demographic trends, the unequal distribution of resources in the global economy, welfare incentives and environmental degradation.
2.4.1 Overpopulation
Overpopulation is the situation where large numbers of people have too few resources and too little space, and this is closely associated with poor people. This overpopulation can result from high population density, which is the number of people to land suface, usually showed as numbers of people per square kilometre or square mile, or there are low amounts of resources, or from both. Very high population densities put stress on resources that are available. Only a certain amount of people can be supported on a given surface of land, and that number depends on how much food and other resources the area can provide. In countries where people live by primary means of basic farming, gardening, herding, hunting, and gathering, even where there are larger land surfaces the production of food is still low given the number of people are small is due to the production means. The production means is not intense enough to produce large amount of food to feed large amount of people.
2.4.2 High Standards of Living and Costs of Living
People in developed countries generally enjoy a higher standard of living because these nations may have more in terms of resource and wealth than those in developing countries. People who may have adequate resources and wealth in a developing country maybe be considered as poor in a developed country. For example people in America, on average, tend to expect to make, about $30,000 per year. They may also expect to rent a house or an apartment with electricity facilities and water supply, to able to buy food to eat and clothes, and get health care provision. In addition, many of these people hope to afford other expenses, such as, the purchases material not need for survival, such as cars, entertainment and high priced food. In comparison, people in most developing countries usually may consider themselves to be well off if they have productive agriculture, some cattle, and a house made out of mud-bricks. In the rural areas, people can be used to not having water facilities, electricity, or adequate health facilities.
Developed countries tend to have a high cost of living, even the most basic lifestyle with few or no luxuries; can be relatively expensive as compared to developing countries. Most people in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, western European nations, and other developed countries cannot obtain adequate food, clothing, and shelter without ample amounts of money. In some areas, even people with jobs that pay the legal minimum wage may not be able to cover their basic expenses. People who cannot find well-paying jobs often have no spare income for emergency expenses, and many rely on state welfare to survive.
In Mauritius about 106,000 citizens or 8.5% of the population live in absolute poverty; this is according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance. These figures reveal that the number of Mauritians living under the poverty line is increasing. From 8.2% in 1996/97, it fell to 7.8% in 2001/2002 to reach 8.5% in 2006/2007. The minimum wage for an adult living in a poor family is estimated at Rs 3,821 monthly. In Rodrigues, the rate of poverty is higher. It is estimated at 32.4% in 2006/2007 against28.7% in 2001/02.
2.4.3 Inadequate Education and Employment
Illiteracy and lack of education are very frequent in developing countries. Very often the state of developing countries cannot afford to cater for good educational facilities to the people, especially those living in rural areas. Whereas in industrialized countries nearly all children have access to at least the basic education, in sub-Saharan Africa only about 60 per cent children go to elementary school. Without education, most people in the developing countries are unable to find income-generating work. Poor people are also often propelled schooling so as to concentrate on earning a minimal living. In addition, developing countries tend to have fewer employment opportunities as compared to developed countries, especially for women. Resulting in the fact that, schooling is perceived as being crucial to people.
Even in developed nations, unemployment rates may be high. When people do not work, they cannot earn a living; thus, high rate of poverty is a result of high unemployment. The amount of employment that is available also tends to fluctuate; creating high unemployment periods. If the unemployment level in countries with high population increases with only a few points, this leads to millions of people who are able to work and earn a living. Because unemployment figures indicate only the number of people eligible to work who have no job but are seeking employment, such figures are not necessarily an accurate indicator of the number of people living in poverty.
2.4.4 Economic and Demographic Trends
Economic trends can sometimes be linked with poverty in many developed countries. In the year 1950s and 1960s, for example, in the United States most people experienced a growth in their income due to economic boom and in Mauritius it was in mid 1970s. The average income of a family was doubled in that period even with inflation. However, there was a rise in the standard of living taking into consideration inflation, between the years 1970s and the years 1990s. Young people and less-educated ones are more affected when there are periods of economic recession as they find it difficult to get a job and support them.
Poverty levels have also been increased with changes in labor markets in developed countries. In many developed countries the amount of poor has increased resulting from the inequalities in the distribution of resources. For example, since the 1970s, the 20 percent poorest of all U.S. households have earned an increasingly smaller percentage of the total national income while the wealthiest 5 percent of households have earned an increasingly greater percentage. During mostly of this period, due to an increase in the cost of living the middle and those at the bottom in the distribution line have worsened.
2.4.5 Individual Responsibility and Welfare Dependency
There are different schools of thought about individual responsibility for poverty. Some believe that there is a proportion of the society who would stay in poverty no matter what due to the structure of society. While some other thinks that due to some dysfunctions of some social institutions such as the labour force, poverty would be pertaining. According to this school of thought poverty id beyond the control of the people who are in it, but this problem can be remedied if proper policies are implemented. There are other people who think that the poor people tend to stay in poverty intentionally. For example, there are people who choose to take drugs voluntarily leading them to stay in poverty these people can be blame for their situation.
Adding to that there are those who think that many people in developed countries tend to throw the blame on cycles of poverty, people who have the tendency to remain poor, or they depend on the generosity of the welfare institutions. Those who support this view includes some politicians, criticize the government to spend too much on the poverty though welfare programs. They argue that such welfare programs encourage people to stay in poverty in so as to benefit from payments continuously. They also argue that these welfare programs discourage marriage and work. In the American society and several other developed countries, being employed reduces their welfare supports and it is the same if a single parent gets married.
2.5 NGOs Performance in Poverty Alleviation in Other Countries
According A.K.M. Ahsan Ullah, Jayant K. Routray, (2007), a very important aspect of poverty in Bangladesh is unemployment or being under-employment. These people are dependent mostly on agriculture to survive in the rural areas and most of the time they are not owners of the land or own too little land to be able support their family. There are more than 20,000 NGOs have been performing in Bangladesh with two major aims of alleviating rural poverty and empowerment of the women. However, the phenomena of poverty in Bangladesh are much higher as compared to the East Asian countries and the South Asian neighbours. Since, poverty is persistent in Bangladesh, the great majority of the poor do not own their land, and there is relatively few number of formal sector employment opportunities in rural areas, poverty alleviation strategies of NGOs have focused particularly on the possibilities for generating income as a solution. One of the major reasons for the increasing use of NGOs in countries like Bangladesh in the developmental activities is to find an alternative and better channel for development aid in the third world countries.
All the NGOs work with two basic missions, to alleviate poverty and empowering the poor, especially women (Lovell, 1996; BRAC, 2000) by organizing them into small groups at the village level, arranging adult literacy programmes, providing necessary training and regular discussions on particular issues. Nearly, 60 million people of the population of Bangladesh have been brought under different health programmes by NGOs. These programmes aimed at reducing childhood and maternal morbidity and mortality; and increasing awareness about sexual health. NGO’s non-formal primary education programme has covered about three million children from poor families. Among which the majority of the children are girls. Non-formal primary education programme of the BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) is regarded as the world’s biggest private sector educational system and is being replicated in other countries of the world as well (BRAC, 2000; Proshika, 2001).
According to Keith M. Henderson author of Alternatives to imposed administrative reform: the NGOs: In the Caribbean, NGOs serve as intermediate between the micro-level of the poorest household and the formal institution of the state (a role which might otherwise be served by political parties or trade unions). NGOs and local development organizations (LDOs) are widely seen as agents for alternative development, particularly because, as a sector, they have begun to formulate development policy in order to improve considerably the life of the citizens and often with a direct impact on official aid policies. Along with the larger efforts, such as the Village Awakening Movement in India which operates in thousands of villages, and the related Sarvodaya Shramadana movement in Sri Lanka which focused on small scale village improvement projects in more than 8,000 villages, are the Christian
Base Communities found in Brazilian rural areas. The State very often is unable to cater for these poor villages in India and rural areas in Brazil. These movements perform important service-delivery functions. In Latin America, pervasive distrust of the US has resulted in a variety of indigenous organizational forms – often unsustainable – and a fertile ground for grass-roots movements. Considerable attention has been given to the political role of such activities; much of the literature is in Spanish. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, the term “foundation” covers a multitude of private groups organized for collective action. In Africa, numerous small-scale self-help projects, such as banking schemes, food storage arrangements, barter exchanges, family planning, and traditional medicine centres, have been initiated by peasant farmers with the help of NGOs.
According to Mritiunjoy Mohanty (2006) NGOs in Bangladesh have been using the microcredit as a means to alleviate poverty there.” Microcredit is the extension of very small loans to impoverished borrowers who typically lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history. It is designed not only to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, but also in many cases to empower women and uplift entire communities by extension. In many communities worldwide, in developed and developing nations alike, women lack the highly stable employment histories that traditional lenders tend to require” (2012). Noting the pioneering work done by Mr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank, it is worth recording that it has been providing the poor in Bangladesh as a medium of access to financial resources. There are other NGOs that have walked, struggled and prospered down the same path, as the Grameen bank has since the 1970s and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee or BRAC. To draw attention to the role of other NGOs involved in microcredit is not to take away from the catalytic role Mr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank played both at home and abroad in furthering the microcredit movement but it is to show the work they have accomplished together in poverty alleviating in Bangladesh.
2.6 NGOs Performance in Poverty Alleviation in Mauritius
There is a number of NGOs working in order to alleviate poverty in Mauritius such as SOS Poverty, Caritas Mauritius and Currimjee Foundation, Le Centre Des Pauvres, Maison Familiale Rurale Du Nord, etc… These NGOs help people in different ways like for example in Maison Familiale Rurale Du Nord they try to eradicate poverty by sensitizing youngsters from poor families. The young people are given training in hotel mechanics, agriculture and hospital services. They promote a sense of entrepreneurship among these young people and encourage a sense of social inclusion to help them come out of their poverty. SOS Poverty is a non-governmental and charitable organization set up to fight poverty and social injustices in the country. So far they have implemented a global plan of actions, comprising of several micro projects implemented, laying emphasis on two major factors: Education and Economic. Their field of action consist of pre-primary education, women empowerment like organising a corporate organisation in order to help women wanting to work and earn a living to come out of poverty. They endeavour to combat poverty through inclusive education/ training programmes and self-help socio-economic programmes.
The Currimjee Foundation in association with several other NGOS and NEF (National Empowerment Foundation) has planned out a project on poverty alleviation in Mauritius. The project is about helping people in absolute poverty who cannot afford to build a house. They would be constructing 50 houses in concrete with aluminium ceiling with square metres of 21to 25 and costing around Rs 165,000 each. The Currimjee Foundation also sponsors scholarships of Rs 20,000 to needy students attending University of Mauritius and University of Technology of Mauritius. Le Centre Des Pauvres which is found at Grand Riviere Nord Ouest Port Louis provide poor people with clothes and organise food donation. Children are give education materials such as books, copybooks pencils etc and to smaller children toys are given to them.
NGOs have been performing well in different countries around the world. They have been able to help people especially where the government have somehow failed to provide for their citizens. They have brought some light to the people’s life. There are countless things that the NGOs have done the state would not have been able to do as the NGOs works at a micro level. It is easy for them to target the needy people. They have more personal contact with the individual and they are very often on field. And the people also know where to turn to seek help. Poverty alleviation is a tremendous task for every country in the world is it developed countries or developing countries, without the efforts showed by NGOs one third of the work accomplished now would not have been done left alone on the state and other institutions.
• Views of Islam about poverty
• Praise be to Allaah.
• Firstly:
• Poverty is one of the calamities that Allaah has decreed should happen, either to a specific person or a family or a society. Poverty has negative effects on people’s beliefs and conduct. Many Christian missionaries exploit the poverty and want of some peoples to spread Christianity among their ranks. Similarly, immoral behaviour becomes widespread to a large extent because of poverty, as a means of meeting people’s needs, so theft, murder, zina and sale of haraam things become widespread. Undoubtedly these things have a negative effect on individuals and societies. Allaah tells us that some of the mushrikeen used to kill their children, the apples of their eyes, either because of the poverty in which they were living or for fear of poverty that might befall them. Allaah says of the first case (interpretation of the meaning):
• “kill not your children because of poverty — We provide sustenance for you and for them”
• [al-An’aam 6:151]
• And He says of the second case (interpretation of the meaning):
• “And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin”
• [al-Isra’ 17:31]
• In al-Saheehayn there is narrated the story of a woman of the Children of Israel who, when she needed money and felt under pressure, she could not find anyone but her paternal cousin who wanted to have his way with her in return for giving her money. Then Allaah saved her from that after she reminded him of Allaah and told him to fear Him.
• Whatever the case, it is well known that poverty leads to crimes and corruption. Many nations suffer from it and are looking for solutions to this problem, but to no avail, and there is no solution except in Islam, which brought rulings for all people until the Hour begins.
• Secondly:
• The means that have been prescribed by Islam to solve the problem of poverty and combat it are as follows:
• 1 – Teaching people to believe truly that provision comes from Allaah and that He is the Provider (al-Razzaaq), and every calamity that Allaah decrees is for a reason, and that the poor Muslim should be patient in bearing his calamity and strive to relieve himself and his family of poverty.
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “Verily, Allaah is the All Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”
• [al-Dhaariyaat 51:58]
• “And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus or grave). All is in a Clear Book (Al Lawh Al Mahfooz — the Book of Decrees with Allaah)”
• [Hood 11:6]
• “Who is he that can provide for you if He should withhold His provision? Nay, but they continue to be in pride, and (they) flee (from the truth)”
• [al-Mulk 67:21]
• “And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At Tayyibaat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment”
• [al-Isra’ 17:70]
• It is because of these beliefs that a man should bear with patience whatever befalls him of the calamity of poverty, and turn to Allaah alone in seeking provision, and accept the decree of Allaah, and strive to earn a living.
• It was narrated that Suhayb al-Roomi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him.” Narrated by Muslim (2999).
• We can understand the effect of this belief on the Muslims by looking at what happens to others. In Japan – for example – in 2003 thirty-three thousand people committed suicide! And one of the main reasons for that was unemployment. In a report on the BBC website on 1/9/2004 they said:
• Official statistics show that thirty-three thousand people killed themselves last year in Japan. Japanese officials say that one of the reasons for this rise in the suicide rate is the economic recession that Japan is facing, which is regarded as the worst in fifty years. This has led to an unprecedented rise in unemployment as well as a rise in cases of depression, especially among middle-aged men. End quote.
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “Truly, your Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills). Verily, He is Ever All Knower, All Seer of His slaves”
• [al-Isra’ 17:30].
• Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
• The words of Allaah “Truly, your Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills)” tell us that He, may He be exalted, is the Provider, the Withholder and the Bestower, Who deals with His creation as He wills. He grants independence of means to whomsoever He wills and makes poor whomsoever He wills, with wisdom in that. Hence He says “Verily, He is Ever All Knower, All Seer of His slaves” i.e., He knows and sees who deserves to be rich and who deserves to be poor.
• In some cases wealth may be a means of letting people get carried away in sin and poverty may be a punishment. We seek refuge with Allaah from both.
• Tafseer Ibn Katheer (5/71).
• 2 – Seeking refuge with Allaah from poverty.
• The Sunnah relates to us what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do and what he taught his ummah to do, which is seeking refuge with Allaah from poverty, because of the effect that it has on a person, his family and his society.
• It was narrated that Muslim ibn Abi Bakrah said: My father used to say following every prayer: Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kufri wa’l-faqri wa ‘adhaab il-qabr (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from disbelief, poverty and the torment of the grave), and I used to say them too. My father said: O my son, where did you get this from? I said: From you. He said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say that following every prayer.
• Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (1347); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.
• It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his prayer: “Allaahumma inni a’oodhi bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt).” Someone said to him: “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (832) and Muslim (589).
• 3 – Encouragement to work and earn a living, and to travel in the land to seek provision.
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it); so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision. And to Him will be the Resurrection”
• [al-Mulk 67:15]
• “Then when the (Jumu‘ah) Salaah (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allaah (by working), and remember Allaah much, that you may be successful”
• [al-Jumu’ah 63:10]
• It was narrated from al-Miqdaam (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one ever eats any food better than that which he has earned with his own hands. The Prophet of Allaah Dawood (peace be upon him) ate that which he earned with his own hands.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1966).
• It was narrated from al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If one of you were to take a rope and bring firewood on his back and sell it, thus preserving his dignity, that is better for him than asking of people who may give to him or withhold from him.”
• Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1402).
• 4 – Making zakaah obligatory on the wealth of the rich
• Allaah has granted the poor a share of zakaah, which is to be given to the poor to keep, and is to be given until he becomes independent of means and is no longer poor.
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”
• [al-Tawbah 9:60]
• “And those in whose wealth there is a recognised right
• 25. For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth (and his means of living has been straitened)”
• [al-Ma’aarij 70:24, 25].
• 5 – Encouragement to give charity, set up waqfs and sponsor orphans and widows
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey, and spend in charity; that is better for yourselves. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones”
• [al-Taghaabun 64:16]
• “and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allaah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers”
• [Saba’ 34:39]
• “And whatever good you send before you for yourselves (i.e. Nawaafil — non obligatory acts of worship: prayers, charity, fasting, Hajj and ‘Umrah), you will certainly find it with Allaah, better and greater in reward”
• [al-Muzzammil 73:20]
• It was narrated that ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whoever among you can shield himself against the Fire, even with half a date, let him do so.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1347) and Muslim (1016).
• It was narrated that Sahl ibn Sa’d said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I and the one who sponsors an orphan will be like this in Paradise” – and he gestured with his forefinger and middle finger, holding them slightly apart.
• Narrated by al-Bukhaari (4998). Muslim (2983) narrated a similar report from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah.
• It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who strives to help widows and the poor is like the one who strives in jihad for the sake of Allaah and the one who prays at night and the one who fasts during the day.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5038) and Muslim (2982).
• 6 – Prohibition on riba (usury), gambling and deceit in selling
• Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
• “O you who believe! Fear Allaah and give up what remains (due to you) from Ribaa (from now onward) if you are (really) believers.
• 279. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allaah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums)”
• [al-Baqarah 2:278-279]
• “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols etc) and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful”
• [al-Maa'idah 5:90]
• It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by a pile of foodstuff; he put his hand in it and found that it had gotten wet. He said, “What is this, O seller of the foodstuff?” He said: It got rained on, O Messenger of Allaah. He said: “Why don’t you put it on top of the food so that people can see it? Whoever deceives (people) does not belong to me.”
• Narrated by Muslim (102).
• That is because if these things are done and become widespread among people, it means that some are taking people’s wealth unlawfully, and people may lose all their wealth because of them. Hence the texts clearly forbid them.
• 7 – Encouragement to help the needy and support the weak
• It was narrated that al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion is that of the body; when one part of it is in pain, the rest of the body joins it in restlessness and fever.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5665) and Muslim (2586).
• It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is not a Muslim who eats his fill when his neighbour goes hungry.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Shu’ab (9251) and by others. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani.
• In Muwatta’ al-Imam Maalik (1742) it is narrated from Yahya ibn Sa’eed that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab met Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah who was carrying some meat with him. He said: What is this?
• He said: O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, we desired meat so I bought some meat for a dirham.
• ‘Umar said: Would one of you want to fill his belly apart from his neighbour or his cousin? What don’t you pay heed to the verse “You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein” [al-Ahqaaf 46:20]?
• Finally:
• This is a brief look at poverty, which points to some of its bad effects. The Muslim knows that poverty and richness, and whether things are given to one or withheld, are all subject to the decree of Allaah. So he bears hardships with patience when they come, and he thanks Allaah, may He be exalted, for good times when he finds them. But he is required to work and seek to earn a living so as to relieve himself and his family of poverty. But if someone is unable to do that because of health reasons or problems in his land, then Islam relieves him of poverty by means of zakaah and charity that are given by the rich. This is the share of their wealth that the poor are entitled to.
• And Allaah knows best.
• International report about poverty 2019
• Across 101 countries, 1.3 billion people—23.1 percent—are multidimensionally poor.
• Two-thirds of multidimensionally poor people live in middle-income countries.
• There is massive variation in multidimensional poverty within countries. For example, Uganda’s national multidimensional poverty rate (55.1 percent) is similar to the Sub-Saharan Africa average (57.5 percent), but the incidence of multidimensional poverty in Uganda’s provinces ranges from 6.0 percent to 96.3 percent, a range similar to that of national multidimensional poverty rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (6.3–91.9 percent).
• Half of the 1.3 billion multidimensionally poor people are children under age 18. A third are children under age 10.
• This year’s spotlight on child poverty in South Asia reveals considerable diversity. While 10.7 percent of South Asian girls are out of school and live in a multidimensionally poor household, that average hides variation: in Afghanistan 44.0 percent do.
• In South Asia 22.7 percent of children under age 5 experience intrahousehold inequality in deprivation in nutrition (where at least one child in the household is malnourished and at least one child in the household is not). In Pakistan over a third of children under age 5 experience such intrahousehold inequality.
• Of 10 selected countries for which changes over time were analysed, India and Cambodia reduced their MPI values the fastest—and they did not leave the poorest groups behind.
• There is wide variation across countries in inequality among multidimensionally poor people—that is, in the intensity of poverty experienced by each poor person. For example, Egypt and Paraguay have similar MPI values, but inequality among multidimensionally poor people is considerably higher in Paraguay.
• There is little or no association between economic inequality (measured using the Gini coefficient) and the MPI value.
• In the 10 selected countries for which changes over time were analysed, deprivations declined faster among the poorest 40 percent of the population than among the total population.

• How can we eradicate poverty by 2030?
• Can the world end poverty by 2030, the target set by the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development? The UN General Assembly recently reaffirmed this deadline but conceded that meeting it will require “accelerating global actions” to tackle poverty’s causes. As the international community explores new solutions, lessons from the past could be instructive.
• Poverty reduction has been central to development policy for decades. During the 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the predecessor to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the percentage of people living in poverty – defined as less than $1.90 a day – declined significantly, from nearly 27% in 2000, when the MDGs began, to about 9% in 2017.
• At first glance, the rate of poverty reduction in the first few years of the SDGs has also been impressive. Between January 2016 and June 2018, an estimated 83 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty. And yet, to remain on track to meet the 2030 target date, about 120 million people should have escaped poverty during that period. Despite the welcome gains, the pace of progress has been less than satisfactory.

• Image: Nature
• In a recent paper co-authored for the journal World Development, we examined what factors drive successful poverty reduction. Using poverty statistics from developing countries during the MDGs era, we assessed whether countries with higher levels of income poverty – that is, more people living on less money – experienced faster reductions in their poverty rates than economies with lower income-poverty levels. Using limits of $1.25 and $2 per person per day, we found that poverty tended to decrease faster in countries that started out poorer.
• But these findings, while positive, tell only part of the story. In many countries, the end of poverty remains a distant goal. For example, at the current pace of poverty reduction, we estimate that Mali, where 86% of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1990, will require another 31 years to eradicate extreme poverty altogether. But even in Ecuador, where only 7% of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1990, eliminating poverty will take at least another decade.
• Poverty in Pakistan
• Poverty in Pakistan has fallen dramatically, independent bodies supported estimates of a considerable fall in the statistic by the 2007-08 fiscal year, when it was estimated that 17.2% of the total population lived below the poverty line.[1] The declining trend in poverty as seen in the country during the 1970s and 1980s was reversed in the 1990s by poor federal policies and rampant corruption.[2] This phenomenon has been referred to as the "poverty bomb".[3] In 2001, the government was assisted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in preparing the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper that suggests guidelines to reduce poverty in the country.[4] According to a report submitted by Ministry of Planning and Development in the National Assembly of Pakistan, about 29.5% Pakistani lived below the poverty line which translates into 55 million people.[5]
• As of 2017, Pakistan's Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.562, significantly lower than Bangladesh's HDI, which is 0.608. Bangladesh was formerly another part of the country and had a much lower HDI. Pakistan's HDI is one of the lowest in South Asia, after Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria.[6]
• Wealth distribution in Pakistan is slightly varied, with the top 10% of the population earning 27.6% and the bottom 10% earning only 4.1% of the income[7]. Pakistan generally has a low gini co-efficient and therefore a decent distribution of income (relatively lower inequality).[8] According to the United Nations Human Development Report, Pakistan's human development indicators, especially those for women, fall significantly below those of countries with comparable levels of per-capita income. Pakistan also has a higher infant mortality rate (88 per 1000) than the South Asian average (83 per 1000).[9]
• As of 2017, the Asian Development Bank reports that there are approximately 210 million people living in Pakistan. In 2011, 12.4% of Pakistanis live below in Pakistan's definition of poverty.[10] Statistics vary due to the definition of poverty. According to the World Bank, poverty in Pakistan fell from 64.3% in 2002 to 29.5% in 2014. Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population) 6.1% in 2013 to 3.9% in 2015 [11] Pakistan has made substantial progress in reducing poverty giving it the second lowest headcount poverty rate in South Asia.[12]
• AidData cites the World Bank and states that overall "Pakistan has done well in converting economic growth into poverty reduction."[8]
• According to World Bank districts varied widely in poverty, with the richest district Abbottabad at a headcount rate of 5.8pc and the poorest district — Washuk District in Balochistan — at 72.5pc
• Inequality and natural disasters in Pakistan
• The recent 2010 Pakistan floods have accentuated differences between the wealthy and poor in Pakistan. Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan's diplomat to the United Nations, has alleged that wealthy feudal warlords and landowners in Pakistan have been diverting funds and resources away from the poor and into their own private relief efforts.[32] Haroon also alluded to was evidence that landowners had allowed embankments to burst, leading to water flowing away from their land.[33] There are also allegations that local authorities colluded with the warlords to divert funds.[34] The floods have accentuated the sharp divisions in Pakistan between the wealthy and the poor. The wealthy, with better access to transportation and other facilities, have suffered far less than the poor of Pakistan.
• Duty of Rich peoples to reduce poverty
• The richest 1 percent of the world currently hold about $125 trillion, which is half the world’s wealth according to Credit Suisse. According to the geniuses at the Brookings Institute, raising the income of the poorest people to the global poverty line ($1.90/day more or less) would cost about $80 billion annually. So, a very modest allocation of 0.064 percent of the wealth of the top 1 percent would be enough to end desperate poverty. Of course, the wealthiest 1 percent would need to make this allocation annually to end poverty, but 0.064 percent is so small, that it really isn’t much of a burden. Since billionaire wealth grew more than 10 percent in 2015; ending poverty doesn’t even mean the rich can’t get richer.
• Of course, the logistical challenges of ending poverty through direct transfer of cash from the super-rich to the super-poor would be massive. How would rich people identify these poor people? How would they transfer the money? Does anyone have to pay taxes or fees along the way? So many questions, so many problems.
• But, Give Directly, a non-profit that gives unconditional cash transfers to poor people in Kenya and Uganda, is going to show just how it can be done. The organization recently announced that they will give $10 million to end poverty for 6,000* people in Kenya. It’s not totally clear who the rich donors are, but Vox reports that some venture capital and angel investor tycoons are involved. It’s great to see some rich people catching on to the project of rich people ending poverty. Good for them! They hope this will be part of a $30 million project to last for the next 10-15 years. This is fantastic and a real break-through.

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