Stop poverty before it even starts

Published: 12 January 2011

Broadcast Language: German (Audio follows the English transcript.)

English Transcript:

Actually everyone has the chance to voice his or her opinion. But not the young women of Malawi. That is how Doris Ophori (sp?), a 15-year-old young Ghanaian woman, describes her daily life.

In developing countries young women and girls often have to grapple with inequitable access to income and secure forms of work. That’s one reason why more than two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world are women and young girls.

Miriam von Reissen (sp?), director of the organization AIDPA (sp?), which offers close assistance and advice to the EU on such matters:

“Poverty really hits women the worst in every possible way and costs many their lives. It’s not only just to do with their own lives but also that of their children. And these women (mothers) have no way to establish themselves on the jobs market.”

The more education girls and women receive, the better their chances of getting a better job. A better job means better income.

Equal opportunities lead to a situation where poverty is effectively and sustainably reduced and which helps secure overall long-term economic growth.

Is it working? Mary Okomu (sp?) of the United Nations Capital Development Fund:

“Today there are still communities where if you tell them that women can in fact take on leading positions will just stare at you and say: ‘No, women cannot be leaders.’ But we have many good examples that they can.”

One good example is the Nike Foundation, an NGO with numerous projects in countries like Brazil, Ethiopia or Kenya where they really push for girls to be allowed to attend school or to be guaranteed microcredit assistance.

Maria Eppel (sp?), manager for the Nike Foundation:

“If a girl can be reached before she gets pregnant, is tested HIV-positive or gets married, it’s possible to stop these things before we use up all our resources once these problems have set in. That means stopping poverty before it gets started.”

For that, developing countries need money. In total Germany provides 8.8 billion Euros in development assistance every year.  Of that total, half of it flows into projects which support equal opportunities. The European Commission last year made over 12 billion Euros available for development assistance.

Kampeta Siansoga (sp?) from the Rwandan Ministry for Economy and Finance:

“Well-functioning countries should band themselves together with Rwanda in order to make as much money available as possible. Nothing other than that. It’s more difficult with other countries that don’t work as well as Rwanda. There where money is provided we’re supporting corrupt regimes and rewarding the crooks.”

The clock is ticking for women and girls. During this report approximately 60 people have died of hunger, two thirds of them women, and girls…