Welcome to the World Hunger and Poverty Blog! This site was created by Scott Hughes (me!) and is based on the idea that it is totally unacceptable that any person go hungry or be deprived basic necessities, especially when there is more than enough food to feed everyone and more than enough resources to provide clothes, clean water, shelter, education and healthcare to everyone. Yet millions starve to death every year. I want this blog to act not only as a call to action but as a place to share information and openly exchange ideas about these incredibly important issues. Immediately below on this page you will find the most recent blog posts.

Pnnonline.org recently reported that parents’ educational values differ depending on the financial poverty of the school:

When it comes to teachers, what do parents value most — high student test scores or the ability to keep students satisfied? The answer depends in part on what kind of school you go to, according to a new study in the summer issue of Education Next.

According to economists Brian A. Jacob of the University of Michigan and Lars Lefgren of Brigham Young University, parents in high-poverty schools strongly value a teacher’s ability to raise student achievement and appear less concerned about student satisfaction. In more-affluent schools the results are reversed: parents most value a teacher’s ability to keep students happy.

“Our findings suggest that what parents want from school is likely to depend on the educational context in which they find themselves,” Jacob and Lefgren write. In low-income schools where academic resources are scarcer, motivated parents are more likely to request teachers based on their perceived ability to improve academic achievement. On the other hand, in higher-income schools parents seem to respond to the relative abundance of academic resources by seeking out teachers who also increase student satisfaction. This may reflect parental preferences for having their children enjoy school, Jacob and Lefgren speculate, or parental preferences for teachers who emphasize academic facets that increase student satisfaction but are not captured by standardized test scores, such as critical thinking and curiosity.

Read entire article on pnnonline.org.

While interesting, I see the findings as unsurprising. Of course, schools with limited resources need teachers that can do the most with the least. In contrast, rich schools have an overabundance of resources, so they concern themselves with pacifying and satisfying their rich students, who have a reputation for pseudo-rebellion and attitude problems (i.e. stuck up and picky).

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 | Posted by | Categories: Education |

Gas Prices & Poverty

23 May 2007

by Scott Hughes

37 million people in the USA already live in poverty. This number has been steadily increasing throughout the Bush Administration. Imagine what may happen as gas prices continue to rise!

Most people in the USA live in debt, and accordingly most families know the meaning of the word struggle. Working class families work hard to figure out how to afford the necessities in life, such as the gas it takes to get to work. Millions of employed U.S. citizens live in poverty, since many employers pay less than the cost of living. Again, imagine what may happen as gas prices continue to rise!

Unfortunately, gas prices affect more than the transportation costs to get to work and the grocery store. For example, rising gas prices increase the costs of all merchandise including groceries, because it increases the cost of producing and shipping the merchandise. Beyond that, how will people pay their electric and heating bills?

The government won’t help, because Big Oil has bought all the politicians. Big Oil uses lobbyists, campaign contributions, and bribes to control our government. We don’t live in a democracy; we live in a plutocracy. Our votes mean nothing in comparison to big fat checks signed by Big Oil and other megacorporations.

In 2006, ExxonMobil recorded $365 billion of revenue. I often say that I believe that people have every right to their own money, and don’t have to give it away or use it to help people. (See my article entitled No Obligation To Give.) However, is that $365 billion really ExxonMobil’s? It’s simply the fiscally liquidated oil. As a natural resource, oil is no more theirs than ours. So, maybe these selfish companies don’t have any right to that money. Regardless, they won’t give up that money. They won’t give up the power.

We can only get saved by saving ourselves. Without the help of government or Big Oil, we the people need to reduce our dependency on oil. We need to prepare for the imminent spikes in prices. With rising prices in mind, we need to work together to figure out a way for all of us to get food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, and education. We need to reduce our dependency on corporate America. We need to reduce our dependency on imported goods, and instead focus on local goods and services, which we’d be better to trade with each other, rather than use government-owned paper money which is inflatable.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Politics and Commentary |

Presstv.ir recently reported that Muhammad Yunus wants to use his micro-credit system to help more countries:

Bangladeshi Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus has said he is hoping to export his micro-credit system to more African countries.

“There is a lot of interest from African leaders to whom I have been talking. The question is how this can be translated into practice,” he told a press conference at the close of a World Bank meeting on Africa in Berlin.

Yunus said the entire developed world needed to strive to help Africa in order to live up to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals which include halving extreme poverty by 2015.

“This is very important. It is the first time the UN has set such goals. The time has come to stick to them.”

Yunus, nicknamed the “Banker to the Poor”, won the 2006 Nobel peace prize for helping millions escape poverty through micro-credit financing projects, which enable people without collateral or steady income to get small loans.

Read entire article on Presstv.ir.

Muhammad Yunus’s micro-credit system has proven effective. He has literally enabled millions of people to escape poverty with his micro-credit loans. Where archaic charities and government welfare has failed, Yunas has succeeded. Through small loans (usually less than $50), Yunus lets poor people escape poverty, get on their own two feet, and start or repair their home businesses. After which, they repay the loans and can remain out of poverty on their own. Unlike expensive charity and welfare systems which increase dependency, Yunus’s cost-effective approach leads to self-sufficency among the otherwise poor.

I cannot applaud Muhammad Yunus enough. I also applaud those who involved with issuing Nobel prizes for rightfully recognizing the great man.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Poverty News |

I saw the following letter-to-the-editor by a 13-year-old named Aelix Cunningham on statesmanjournal.com:

What comes to mind when you hear the word “poverty”? Do you ever think that someday you too might be living in a world full of poverty? Open your eyes because this very moment someone is more than likely dying from poverty.

According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day because of poverty.

Statistics show that if everyone were to pitch in, no one would be hungry in our world. Children, women and men would all have the food they need. To make a difference, the world has to donate.

Even just $1 could give some sort of starving person the food they need.

Not only do I agree with the letter, but also the letter impresses me since a 13-year-old wrote it. I mean no offense to 13-year-olds, but most adults don’t even have the maturity to address such serious issues.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Politics and Commentary |

Kansascity.com recently wrote about a business named FINCA that helps desperately poor people in 21 countries by providing business loans. I include an excerpt:

Many people and organizations offer assistance to make life more bearable for the poor. The New York-based Foundation for International Community Assistance has a particularly powerful approach: It assists poor people around the world with credit to help them start or strengthen small businesses.

It is a model worth supporting and emulating.

“When we started 23 years ago, it was a dream. It looked impossible loaning money to desperately poor people,” said FINCA International board chairman Robert Hatch, a resident of Kansas City.

It’s an arduous task to help people who live on less than $2 a day and whose low incomes affect their nutrition, health, and ability to send children to school.

With as little as a $50 loan, one client can open a small business. The money is repaid in weekly cycles over three years while the person builds up a vibrant micro-enterprise as well as a healthy savings account.

Read entire article on kansascity.com.

This exemplifies exactly the kind of approach I want to see. While remaining cost efficient, it helps poor people permanently escape poverty by becoming self-sufficient. I applaud FINCA International!

With loans, we can essentially end poverty for free. In fact, instead of costing money the loaners can profit from it by charging interest. Through mutually beneficial arrangements, both the poor person who escapes poverty and the loaner reap benefits from the transaction. We can set these mutually beneficial arrangements up in a non-governmental way, such that the loans come from private organizations rather than governments. To permanently escape poverty, people need to have access to loans that pay for food, clothes, shelter, and healthcare while it pays for education (including job training) and then job placement (including starting a business if applicable). These services must be of the highest quality; so that the person earns enough from their employment (including self-employment) that the person can repay the loan with interest while also paying for food, clothes, shelter, and healthcare. Then, not only has the loaner profited (which enables them to then loan to another person), but also the recipient of the loan has profited so much they can both escape poverty and live debt-free.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Poverty News |

Anti-Poverty Trekker

18 May 2007

Douglas Crow recently reported on a slightly overweight 63-year-old man with a bum knee. The man, named Gregory Cox, plans to walk 2,600 miles to promote his plan to end poverty in the United States. I include an excerpt:

[H]e believes each step he takes on his 2,600-mile trek from northern California to Chicago leads to ending poverty in the United States.

Cox wrote and self-published a fictional book called “Schizophrenic Rescue,” which outlines his economic plan.

The sporadically employed, one-time salesman who holds a master’s degree in economics wants 10,000 people on the verge of poverty to save $20 a month for a year. Then they could use that $2.4 million to start an insurance company to insure their cars and houses.

The company also would produce annual checks that would go into a retirement account for the company owners.

As time goes on, other companies would be formed in a similar model in several industries.

To promote the idea and build financial backing, Cox wants Oprah Winfrey to feature him and his book on her television show.

She hasn’t invited him. So Cox will mostly walk from his Northern California home to her Chicago studio, stopping at media outlets along the way to seek publicity.

Read entire article by Douglas Crow.

I haven’t read Cox’s book, but from the above outline of his plan I think it has potential. He has come up with a practical plan that helps poor people help themselves to escape poverty and gain self-sufficiency. Additionally, he has a great idea to promote the plan. I hope he gets on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Regardless of the success of his particular plan and implementation, his perfectly exemplifies what we need. We need original plans. The old ways have not worked! We need to think of innovative methods to use voluntary organization to end hunger and poverty, both in the United States and throughout the world.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Poverty News |
Children suffering from Poverty