By Tokunbo Kujore, Impact Analyst and Founder, Afro Girls
With a decade between us and the UN proposed deadline for the eradication of poverty, a global pandemic that completely changed life as we knew it and the general rollercoaster that has been 2020, I believe it’s safe to say that the we (as a global community) have to reconsider and update a number of our current policies, procedures and targeted goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN is celebrating its 75th year anniversary this month, and as we prepare for the Future We Want, I will be taking a closer, clearer if you will, look at the 17 Global Goals that have governed our private and public establishments over the last 5 years in relation to how rapidly our lives changed in the span of a couple of months. I’ll also be highlighting programs and organizations that are doing the groundwork, even during this time. As a platform dedicated to the advancement of girls advocacy and rights, I will be focused on the goals from this perspective over the next 17 days. First up, Goal 1: End Poverty.
2020 in Full View
Data has shown that the progress we have made over the years is at risk of being reversed - challenging the sustainability of our efforts.
An estimated 700 million people were living in poverty, making less than $1.90 a day, around the world - then 2020 changed things forever, revealing profound racial, economic and gender inequalities that have made the weakest, weaker and the strongest, vulnerable.
Understandably, data has been difficult to collect during a pandemic. According to scenario based research, the global poverty rate is estimated to increase for the first time since 1990 by 40 - 60 million people.
“We are the first generation with the possibility to eradicate poverty.” ~ Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women
Changing How We View Poverty
2020 has given us many things - good, bad, and in between - including an opportunity to reset. Our methods of collecting data have advanced over the years, but we are yet to collect, consider and adequately apply data on unpaid labour, cultural practices, adultification and a number of other overlooked factors which contribute to the overall established definition of poverty.
I’m going to go out on a whim and say that poverty is relative. Beyond the very real extreme poverty metrics that society understands and unfortunately are living in, there’s poverty of the mind and communities in the social sense.
Now’s the time to rethink the way we collect data to achieve Goal 1.
How can we invest in local partnerships in such a way where we are reaching those who actually need aid? Are we actually listening to the people we are trying to help in developing countries? Our platforms, including mine, may not target all cultures, but do our policies and practices consider all cultures? There's so many factors that we have to consider that we haven't before.
Poverty affects everybody, directly or indirectly. I personally believe that quality education, especially for girls can and will eradicate poverty, but that’s a story for a different day. My challenge to everyone, including self-proclaimed global citizens and both public and private sectors is to consider how we measure and combat poverty by comprehensively digging deeper in data collection to understand and make those unseen, seen. If we are the first generation to truly eradicate poverty, the possibility is more apparent today than ever before.
Check out more posts in the SDGs in 20/20 series here.