Poverty is the worst form of violence.-Mahatma Gandhi.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his immortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty- John f.Kennedy.
Poverty commands our attention not only because of scale of suffering involved; but also because it is the poor who will fare worse if we fail to meet this and other rising global challenges.The violence of war or that sparked by political crisis,the threats to livelihoods by climate change and economic collapse,spread of disease and pandemics– hit the poor hardest and moreover keep them poor.Pervasive discrimination experienced by women and girls, denying the poor the basic freedom they need to organize to defend their rights and interests, and excluding them from justice systems that might protect their assets, however meagre.
Protecting the rights of the poor protects the livelihoods and freedoms they need to advance.Protecting rights provides protection against violence and discrimination, and securing basic freedoms give the poor a voice so that they can play a more meaningful part in determining their future.
For the poor, securing freedoms is as fundamental as providing education, ending discrimination as essential as basic health care.Material benefits alone do not guarantee political power, end discrimination or improve security.Nor does building more schools guarantee that girls will be able to access education on an equal footing with boys, nor that children of minority communities will be welcomed. And greater income does not automatically make poor women more secure. Economic growth is an important component of a strategy to tackle poverty, but bit cannot be the only element.We must emphasize on those components that empower people living in poverty to claim their inherent rights so that they can be in control,rather than victims of their destinies.
People who live in poverty are deprived of the opportunities to to better their position- through education, through secure employment and through protection of their wealth, however little.Poor people live in perpetual insecurity and this insecurity reinforces their poverty. Poor neighbour hoods suffer from high rates of violent crime. Poor people lack legal securities in relation to their possession and livelihoods, and social security that would promise them minimal protection in case of illness,crop failure or unemployment.
They have no rights in relation to those who exercise authority over them- thy are day labourers subject to the vagaries of casual employment market, landless peasants at the mercy of landowners, slum dwellers evicted by developers, and women at risk from their employers, communities and families.Without rights they are insecure and insecurity means they are less able to fight their deprivation.
When poor people have no voice, when they are excluded and shut out, they cannot hold governments accountable for their failure, provide security or equality of access to public services. Investing in the empowerment of people must be part of our modest success.