Initiatives to Combat the Global Poverty Crisis

This situation of the COVID-19 pandemic helps to accentuate the importance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, observed annually on Oct. 17 since 1993. Its origins go back even further. On Oct. 17, 1987, more than 100,000 people gathered in the Tracadero in Paris, site of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The declaration honored the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger and affirmed the need to come together to respect human rights.[1]

According to the UN, 736 million people lived below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day U.S. in 2015; three years later almost 8 percent of the world’s workers and their families lived on that meager income (most people living below the poverty line are in Southern Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa). As of 2018, some 55 percent of the world’s population had no access to at least one social protection cash benefit.

“In a world characterized by an unprecedented level of economic development, technological means and financial resources, that millions of persons are living in extreme poverty is a moral outrage,” said a UN statement issued prior to the 2020 event. “Poverty is not solely an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a lack of both income and the basic capabilities to live in dignity.

“Persons living in poverty experience many interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations that prevent them from realizing their rights and perpetuate their poverty, including:

  • dangerous work conditions
  • unsafe housing
  • lack of nutritious food
  • unequal access to justice
  • lack of political power
  • limited access to health care.”[2]

Unique Approach


When it comes to fighting the conditions that especially affect the younger generation, one of the most unique approaches involved the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in economics. Professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University professor Michael Kremer received the award for their long-term research that divides the complex issues of poverty into smaller, more manageable questions—such as the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or experiments among those most affected.

“The Laureates’ research findings—and those of the researchers following in their footsteps—have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice,” the prize committee said. “As a direct result of one of their studies, more than five million children [from South Asia] have benefitted from effective (programs) of remedial tutoring in schools. Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries.”[3]

“Duflo’s work has been a turning point in understanding evidence-based programming,” said Dr. Alistar Sim, director of program effectiveness research for Compassion International, an NGO providing support for 1.9 million impoverished children. “It brought to the mainstream the idea of doing experiments on social programs, which [was] largely restricted to medical testing of new drugs and therapies.”[4]

Dare to make a lasting impact and be the catalyst for change in a child’s life. Journey to the GFA World website at https://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild/ and explore the power of sponsorship. By sponsoring a child in South Asia or Africa, you can sow the seeds of transformation and break the chains of poverty. Whether you wish to connect with a child who shares your birthday or select based on age or gender, your decision to sponsor holds immeasurable potential to uplift an impoverished or underprivileged child.

Learn more about the pandemic impact on children

[1] “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – Home Page.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/development/desa/socialperspectiveondevelopment/international-day-for-the-eradication-of-poverty-homepage.html. Accessed June 22, 2021.
[2] “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-for-eradicating-poverty. Accessed June 22, 2021.
[3] “Press Release: The Prize in Economic Sciences 2019.” The Nobel Prize, Swedish Academy of Royal Sciences. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2019/press-release/. October 14, 2019.
[4] “2019 Nobel Prize: How Research Is Key to Ending Global Poverty.” Compassion International. https://blog.compassion.com/2019-nobel-prize-research-poverty/?referer=568692&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt4PPs9_-8AIV0frICh2dBwnuEAMYAiAAEgLllvD_BwE15. October 16, 2019.