The UK-based Catholic charity CAFOD interviewed 1,420 people in 56 communities across Uganda, Bolivia, the Philippines and Zimbabwe. They found that factors outside of the control of people are increasing poverty. Issues including environmental degradation, violent conflict, food price changes and economic crises all impact the lives of the poor. While many factors contribute to poverty, often occurring at the same time, the report says that gender-inequality is a cross-cutting problem.
“This research reveals above all is that poverty is hugely complex and controlled by myriad forces,” says CAFOD’s lead post-MDGs policy analyst Neva Frecheville. “The interconnectedness of the world through globalisation means the poorest and most marginalised face negative pressures from all quarters making it harder and harder to sustain a livelihood.”
It comes at a time when the global community is reflecting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what will follow when they expire in 2015. World leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York City for the annual General Assembly this September to discuss the progress of the MDGs and the lessons learned since their implementation in 2000. CAFOD’s research provides an insight into the lives of some of the world’s poor by sharing how people define their own path out of poverty.
“In order to live well with your children at home, you should have maize, groundnuts, chicken, oxen, and milk that the children can drink. That is what makes one live well and people will say that old woman is living well with her children,” says Esther, an 80 year-old widow in Uganda with 8 children, in the report.
CAFOD says that the interviews show that progress is not being made for all people, despite evidence of programs in some of the communities. That means that the Post-2015 agenda must be aware of the challenges faced by the people whose lives did not improve over the past decade.
“Policy-makers have a responsibility to include the voices of those whose lives are most difficult and to make their interests a priority in the post-2015 process,” says Frecheville.