Do you think we can have a world without poverty? I think so.
Organisations such as the Acumen Fund, Grameen Bank of Prof Yunus Muhammad, Make Poverty History, NGOs and social entrepreneurs are fighting poverty by giving poor people the power to help themselves.
I always believed that poverty can be totally conquered in our own lifetimes if the right approach is adopted.
I base my belief on the inherent ability of the poor that can be unleashed once they are given the opportunity to help themselves.
Can social entrepreneurs and NGOs end poverty?
They can make a dent in reducing poverty but we need all institutions [government, private sector and civil service] to contribute to this fight.
“One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like” — Muhammad Yunus
Poverty is not created by the poor people.
It is imposed on the poor people by the system that we created.
To end poverty, we need to relook at the system.
We need to give poor people access to technology, education, training, finances, health care, in return for a payment.
If you give them free education at tertiary level, let them work for the government for a period of a year doing community service as repayment. They have to pay it back. Access should not be a barrier. But in the meantime, they are changing their lives, and the lives of their communities. Everything else can be done in that way. That’s social business. Once we do that, there should be no reason why people should be poor.
Today, poor people have no facilities, the rich have all the facilities. That is what can change with social business.
When systems are broken, like the Free Market system we are seeing around the world, it is an opportunity for invention and for innovation.
It is an opportunity to truly build a world where we can extend services and products to all human beings, so that they can make decisions and choices for themselves.
I truly believe it is where dignity starts. We owe it to the poor of the world. And just as important, we owe it to ourselves.
“Once poverty is gone, we will need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair. ― Muhammad Yunus
Let’s make poverty history.
In my TEDxJohannesburg talk, I share my thoughts on how we can eliminate poverty using innovation: