ATHENS, Ohio — Poverty is an undeniable threat to the existence of humanity in the 21st century. The global commitment to promoting adequate standards of living for all people is emphasized in the Millennium Development Goals, which sought to cut poverty rates in half by 2015. Education is key in promoting economic, social and political development. The specific role of farmer education is indispensable, for it fosters productivity, creativity and advanced understanding of a situation.
There are three types of poverty: extreme, moderate and relative. Extreme poverty entails lack of the basic resources for survival, including food, water, shelter and sanitation. There is a dire lack of education and health care among extreme poverty as well. Persons of moderate poverty have access to the basic means of survival, but just barely. Relative poverty entails a low income compared to the national average and is more prominent in more developed territories.
Poverty cannot be alleviated through one pursuit because it is multi-dimensional. Poverty is experienced differently across time, space, culture and even gender. Some poverty is most severe during specific weather seasons, while other times poverty is more static. Structural poverty allows for few avenues to grow. Education is vital in overcoming structural poverty, for it contributes additional skills, resources and inspiration to the receiver.
Education contributes to the eradication of poverty through several means. While fostering economic efficiency and social consistency, education increases the value of the labor force. In a negative interpretation, a lack of education perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Education increases the productivity of workers through knowledge of health and technology.
Education is effective in the family and health realms of poverty as well. Education of the poor improves their food intake, nutritional understandings therefore increasing life expectancy. The increased education of the poor, particularly women, tends to improve the treatment of women and children, and therefore increases their role and worth in society. Balanced education systems in poverty-stricken communities are able to benefit the farmers, their communities and world relations.
Policy-makers, nations and individuals need to be aware of the necessity of education in order to foster economic, social and political equality. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, “Education for Rural People is a policy approach aimed at contributing to the reduction of the 963 million food insecure people, the 776 million illiterate adults and the 75 million illiterate children within the Millennium Development Goals framework. Education, labor, land, livestock and infrastructure are the key assets enabling rural households to escape poverty, and ERP is one of the most powerful weapons against hunger. A 2007 report from the British Department for International Development indicates that more than US$11 billion are needed annually for education if Africa is to have any hope of getting all children into primary school by 2015.”
ERP encourages the rural poor to partake in the development process through collaboration of education, agriculture and rural development. Education increases the accessibility of the farmer’s voice, therefore increasing the rural poor’s agency, capacity and standard of living.
– Neti Gupta
Sources: Business Journal, FAO, Borgen Project 1, Borgen Project 2
Photo: Outreach International