Question of poverty as a constant curse to the humanity was addressed by many sociologist and economist. Despite of the repeated theories and approaches that were presented and being presented, unfortunately poverty has still struck 80% of the world population that lives under $10 a day (ranging from $1.25/day according to World Bank to higher brackets). There are various ways to define poverty in monetary terms but I think poverty is a state when person is deprived of any opportunity. He/She does not have the liberty to choose but to accept that is offered to him/her. In this state of helplessness he/she will strive hard to explore and create opportunities and some may come by as a matter of chance but will not be sustainable. I am aware that there are giant international development organizations that have defined poverty as a fixed monetary value either in absolute or relative term. I think this definition should be further contextualized in an environment in which a poor individual is forced to exist. Hypothetically speaking, a mere increase in per capita income from $2.5/day to $4.0/day does not guarantee a sustainable escape from poverty. In some instances this is just a change in number.
Unilateral and Bilateral development organizations efforts are commendable but since years millions of dollars were spent to assist the developing world to address this challenge. However the result are not encouraging, according to World Bank 24.5%, 42.7%, 46.8% of the population in South Asia, Fragile and Conflicted Areas and Sub-Saharan African population is living as poverty headcount ratio at $1.25 a day (PPP) in 2011. If you do agree with their method of counting the poor (although I do not) even than the result are not very satisfying. I usually ponder why this has been and will be the greatest challenge faced by the world. The answer lies to at least initiate the process of change.
Eradicating poverty is certainly not easy but I think to reduce poverty you require strong will and determination than anything else. Yes this is very basic and may seem like a rhetoric, but this basic factor is rarely seen in practices. Many people see this process as a short-term effort that will quickly substantiate into concrete results, however the never ending resilience and passion will bring the difference aided by trial and error practice and the determination to pass through and to keep moving toward the goal. Let me quote an example to explain my point further, Shoaib Sultan Khan (SSK) started rural development work under Agha Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in December 1982 in Gilgit Pakistan. In the next ten years he doubled the income of 100,000 families in Northern Areas and Chitral of Pakistan. In recognition of his services he was bestowed with Asia’s most prestigious award for social work, Ramon Magasasay Award. His secret lies in grouping activist that will glue the rural community together and developing grass root level institution that will bring the difference via capitalizing on human resources and access to micro-finance. Impressed by the performance UNDP offered to replicate the program in entire South Asian Region. It took him 10 years to make the difference but unfortunately in the rapidly changing world this concept is very hard to grasp. Where information is readily available at the click, it is hard to visualize the gradual and inclusive process of taking people out of poverty. Addressing this question in a more holistic fashion, we have to appreciate and recognize those individuals who have the determination to go along with it for 10 years. In my opinion we require more of these people who will have the patience to plant a small seedling that can grow into a strong tree and produce sweetest fruit that will be available for the generations to come through.