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On Poverty

As some of you aware (particularly those following me on Twitter), I’m currently in Cambodia. I’ve been here a month, and I’ll be around for a month more - and maybe I’ll be back again before the end of the year. Given my location, and previous blog posts, you’d think with an event like Blog Action Day 2008, and the theme of poverty, writing a blog post on it all would be easy.

Not quite.

Well, finding things to say isn’t hard. It’s just that there’s so much, across a variety of tangents all related to poverty. So really, it deserves a few blog posts.

But I better at least post something useful now, right? The Blog Action Day site says to talk about what people can do to help eradicate poverty. And that’s kinda easy to write about - you need either spare money or spare time.


The easiest option is to donate your spare cash to a charity. There’s big ones, there’s small ones, I leave the choice in your hands.

You could also use something like the Footprints API, and code something into your app so with every transaction, a little bit of money gets siphoned off to a worthy cause. Or invest in some small businesses in developing nations via Kiva - lend small amounts of money, help people get themselves into better financial positions.


If you’re lolling around the house aimlessly, go put your skills to use. For those of you in America, you could start with Taproot, who I’m sure can hook you up with a local organisation in need of some help.

Looking abroad, there’s plenty of government-sponsored organisations that have six and twelve month placements in third-world countries like Cambodia, Thailand and East Timor. A few off the top of my head (that I’ve spoken about before) are the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development, USA’s Peace Corps, the British Voluntary Service Overseas, and Engineers Without Borders. These positions cover a variety of areas - AIDS awareness, land-mine removal, orphanages, building local businesses, sometimes even technical work - and you’ll be working on the ground with the locals to improve things.


The suggestions above - that’s the easy part. It’s easy to tell you what to do. Whether you’ll do it or not is another matter. Whether I will do it is another matter too. The goal is solutions that are tangible and sustainable. Lasting change. Change that builds upon itself. That’s the tricky stuff. I don’t know those answers, and the rest of the thoughts in my head will have to wait for later blog posts.

Szybka budowa left a comment on 19 Oct, 2008:

Ambitious artice! Thanks for sharing!