Today, October 17, is the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) and this year’s theme is “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development.” First commemorated in 1987, the IDEP is “an annual opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of people living in poverty and to have their voices heard, recognizing that poor people are at the forefront of the fight against poverty and are critical partners for achieving sustainable development.” Opportunity International is in complete alignment with the objective of the IDEP–our core belief is that small-scale entrepreneurs can be big change agents in breaking the cycle of global poverty.
Opportunity staff and supporters just returned from our annual conference where we heard from poverty eradication experts and thought leaders in fields related to food security, global hunger and environmental sustainability. Among them were Dr. Julie Howard of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative; Ambassador Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger; John Magnay, Opportunity’s agricultural advisor in Africa; and Richard Leftley, CEO of MicroEnsure, a purveyor of weather index crop insurance.
The experts shared that the most vulnerable people on the planet need not only short-term strategies to combat crop shortages, unpredictable weather and natural disaster, but they need long-term, sustainable solutions that they can implement for themselves to battle the effects of uncertain futures due to climate change and rising food prices. Agricultural finance products like market linkages and microloans, as well as weather index crop insurance, are sustainable, long-term solutions to these issues.
"At Feed the Future, we’re working on long-term research to combat climate change and drought, as well as increase productivity of essential cereal crops and legumes."
-Dr. Julie Howard
"World leaders have said to me, ‘Your aid is helpful, but when are you going to help our people get back on their feet?’ And they’re right. That’s what microfinance can do."
-Ambassador Tony Hall
"There are one billion people in Africa, 75% of whom are involved in agriculture, yet the continent is not capable of feeding 100% of the people. [...] It’s most important that we finance agricultural production because that’s where we can most impact hunger in Africa." -John Magnay
"MicroEnsure’s simple product and process design for microinsurance services, including weather index crop insurance, has created cost-effective access to risk protection for communities living in poverty." -Richard Leftley
Rosalinda Omega and her husband Topper sell flowers and garden plants in the market of Silangan, in Cebu City, the Philippines. Blessed with three kids, she and her husband work tirelessly but fear that they will not be able to save enough money to send her children to college. The couple rely mostly on the volume of harvested plants that are delivered to them by their supplier.
They know that environmental factors, seasonal celebrations, and the dwindling economy in this type of industry are just a few of the factors that could affect their income. Some days, the couple goes home with barely enough money to purchase even meager portions of food for their family.
Support Rosalinda and her family by contributing to her loan at opportunity.org/fundaloan »
For more on the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, click here.