By Adenekan John
All over the world, poverty statistics are not just staggering but a source of serious concern for humanity. Approximately, it is estimated that 1.3 billion people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less. According to Jeffrey Sachs, “more than eight million people around the world die each year because they are too poor to stay alive”. Jeffrey Sachs further stated that, “all told, the extreme poor (at around 1 billion) and the poor (another 1.5 billion) make up around 40 percent of humanity”.
In the case of Nigeria, a report from the World Bank in April, 2014 listed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world, with the largest number of people said to live on less than $1.25 a day. The others are India, China, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While according to the National Bureau of Statistics, 2011; sixty seven percent (67%) of the entire populations in Nigeria live below the poverty line, which represents about 112 million people and the unemployment rate is also not abated”.
The factors that have consistently and negatively enhanced poverty in Nigeria among many include: negative mental attitude, laziness, bad governance, corruption, unemployment and violent conflicts. The negative effects of poverty on our society have manifested in the forms of high-rate of despondency, immorality, criminalities and violent conflicts.
It is the deep-rooted desire to fight poverty out of Nigeria and the firm belief that the fight is winnable, that all hands are being mobilized by the Ambassadors Initiative for Development & Empowerment (AIDE) via its partners to close ranks to initiate an innovative ten-year poverty reduction program under the umbrella of Global Partnership for Poverty Reduction in Nigeria (GPPRN) to contribute its quota to the realization of goal one and eight of the Millennium Development Goals and to ultimately confront the menace that is diminishing humanity.
The partnership is also borne out of the realization that the government alone cannot successfully combat poverty; thereby the responsibility should not be squarely placed on the table of the government, but that all partners in progress should shift paradigm by offering their capacities and resources towards removing the poorest of the poor out of the poverty trap. Especially, this is to be achieved through advocacy, human capacity development and empowerment.
It is in achieving the goals of the partnership that a number of objectives were set in motion; such as: the identification, training and empowerment of one hundred aspiring and existing small business owners; collation and compilation of one hundred compelling stories of personalities that were once plagued by poverty but who have successfully fought their way out of it, into a book to be distributed for free; to raise one hundred million naira to fund the program; increase awareness on the need to use skill development to fight poverty through advocacy; and to initiate and establish agric-model cities across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
So far, the partnership has kickstarted a number of activities which include: on-line Twitter campaign with the hashtag #skillfightpoverty; CSO’s/NGO’s Consultative forum; courtesy visits to partners and potential collaborators; kick-start of the identification and training of small business owners; collation of one hundred compelling stories; strategic review meetings by partners. A GPPRN consultative engagement with key government intervention agencies, private sector and development partners is also slated for the 24th July, 2014.
The successes so far recorded cannot be complete without the contributions of key partners such as: Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), World Association of Non-Governmental Organization (WANGO), Civil Society Coalition on Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE), OXFAM, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), De Salt Magazine, Global Leaders & Readers Club (GLRC), National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), Advocacy for Better Leadership (ABEL) among many. These programs are just a microcosm of what AIDE aspire to achieve, it is believed greater milestone can be achieved with the partnership and support of everyone, because everyone is a stakeholder in the fight against poverty, as no one is immune to its negative impact.
Adenekan John via firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Twitter: @leftistjohn