Monday 17th October is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the theme for 2011 is “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development.“
People around the world are using the Twitter Hashtag #EndPoverty today.
Whether at a global level or locally, all of us recognise that many of the key causes of poverty are beyond our immediate control. In Edinburgh today the lives of people in poverty are affected by a range of ‘macro‘ factors including the continuing impacts of the financial crisis of 2008, global energy prices, the current crisis in the eurozone, and the UK Government’s singular focus on deficit reduction – to name but a few.
I firmly believe that it would be wrong, though, to throw our hands up in the air crying ‘This problem is just too big! There’s nothing we can do!’ And I’ll tell you why:
- First, social change driven by ‘ordinary’ people does happen – who’d have expected the overthrow of authoritarian regimes in the Arab Spring?
- Second, public apathy disempowers us all – if we want to enhance people’s agency, control and voice we must start with ourselves.
- Third, ‘small’ improvements make ‘big’ differences – helping one young person access opportunities (for example) might not cure all of society’s ills, but it could change one young person’s life forever.
So, what are you going to do today, this week, this year? What do you want to see change before #EndPoverty day 2012? And how will you ‘be’ that change?
What I’d like to do is:
- Get Informed – Knowledge is Power. There are plenty of excellent online resources to help you get your facts straight. Visit The Poverty Site; The Scottish Poverty Information Unit; or Scottish Government pages for key ‘tackling poverty‘ and ‘Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation‘ statistics;
- Join Together – Our Unity is our Strength. Coming together with others who want to shape the same change as ourselves can be an empowering and life-affirming experience. Visit The Equality Trust; The Poverty Alliance; and the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform;
- Take Action – Every Action Counts. If I wait for the perfect time or the ideal action, I’ll probably do nothing. So long as each action leads towards a positive direction, it doesn’t matter if it’s a huge leap or a small step.
Mindful of the theme: “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development,” I will speak up wherever I can for Equality, for Inclusion, and for Sustainable Development which puts people first. Because the power is with we-the-people, and we-the-people is the point.