Fight Poverty by Playing GamesOctober 15, 2008
Today is October 15, a Blog Action Day 2008 to discuss poverty.
Poverty is a complex problem caused by interaction of environmental, social, political, and economic factors with multiple deleterious effects such as hunger, physical and mental diseases, homelessness, child labor, To solve this problem, actions on many levels should be taken against the root causes rather than the symptoms, focusing on prevention. However, you too can do something about it now and change someone’s life! I’ll highlight the basic facts about poverty, cover three simple ways you can make a difference, and then list some resources for further reading.
- 50% of the human population suffers from poverty
- 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty (less than one dollar per day)
- 18 million people die each year, 50,000 die each day (1/3 of all deaths) due to poverty-related causes
- Most of the people who die of poverty are women and children
- 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes
Image Source: Poverty (Wiki)
Image Source: United States Poverty Rates, 1980-2007 (Flowing Data)
Make a Difference
Send a Letter
Almost all of the deaths from hunger and disease can be stopped. The cost to do this is about $195 billion a year, according to the United Nations. Twenty-two developed countries have pledged to work towards each giving 0.7% (a little less than 1%) of their national income in international aid, which would raise the $195 billion. Some countries are slow to meet their pledge.
Only six countries have not yet set up a schedule to give 0.7%. These are Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States. To raise the $195 billion a year, these six will need to reach the goal.
These six countries are all democracies. All that is necessary for them to reach the 0.7% goal is for enough of their citizens to show their support.
Now, this tactic might not work very well for the US right now, but, given enough support, we’ll have a good president soon.
Help people become self-sustainable
Heifer International is a nonprofit charitable organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas, dedicated to relieving global hunger and poverty. It provides gifts of livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially-disadvantaged families around the world. (Wiki)
“If there is one thing I could give to the struggling people of the world it would be self-reliance. Everyone deserves the dignity of providing for themselves and their families. That’s why I support Heifer International.”
— Walter Cronkite, journalist and Heifer supporter
“The idea behind Heifer … is similar to the notion that it’s better to teach a man to fish so he can feed himself than to give him a fish that will feed him just once. One animal could eventually benefit an entire community.”
— Associated Press
Free Rice: Play games, improve your vocabulary, and help end hunger
FreeRice is a charity website where users play a various educational multiple-choice games in order to raise money to fight world hunger. The games include chemistry (basic and intermediate), multiplication tables, English vocabulary (the game the site began with), English grammar, basic foreign language vocabulary for English speakers (French, German, Italian, and Spanish), geography (world capitals and country identification), and art. (Wiki)
The website used to feature English vocabulary game, but expanded to other subjects as well. The idea behind Free Rice is simple: you answer multiple choice vocabulary questions and for each correct answer 20 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program to help end hunger. The questions are adaptive, just like in GRE, where the difficulty of the next question depends on your current answer. By playing the game you free two bunnies in one trip: help end hunger and improve your vocabulary!
You can find many websites helping fight poverty on the web. Rather than listing them all, I’ll direct you to some of the websites that provide such comprehensive lists.