How to stop poverty

Updated November 22, 2016

Poverty is a global problem, and one to which there is no single solution. In general, people are poor because they are stuck in circumstances which don't allow them to get ahead. There are many programs designed to stop poverty. In some cases, according to the Brookings Institute, a non-profit public policy organisation, these programs actually cause more poverty because benefit recipients become less motivated to find ways to increase their income. Programs that work the best for the long term are those which not only solve an immediate need, but also provide the means for recipients to continue reaping program benefits for the rest of their lives.

In order to stop poverty, people need to be taught new skills which will provide them with the knowledge to earn a better income. Giving people the ability to help themselves equips them to get out of poverty and not fall back into it. Some programs, such as Teach a Man to Fish, based in the United Kingdom, follow this philosophy.

This organisation bases its philosophy on the Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." Teach a Man to Fish focuses training on developing practical entrepreneurial skills designed to lift students and their families out of poverty. Once students have completed training, they are far more employable than they were, and many of them go on to start sustainable businesses which benefit not only themselves, but entire communities.

Livestock projects are an excellent way to stop poverty in the poorest of rural areas. Donating cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens to rural communities increases the standard of living for the recipients. Families get better nutrition and a source of income by selling surplus milk, butter, eggs and meat. Heifer International is a program that uses such an approach, and they have had great success in eliminating poverty in many parts of the world. Part of the program also involves recipients helping other people in need by donating offspring of the animals that were donated to them.

Programs which provide long-term sponsorships for poverty-stricken children are often very beneficial. These programs generally work to provide sponsors for all the needy children in a given area. Instead of giving the money directly to the children or their families, sponsorship programs pool resources to provide essentials for the community, such as water, sustainable food programs (gardening and livestock), education and medical care. By lifting the entire village out of poverty, sponsorship programs provide the means for people to help themselves. World Vision is one such program, supporting children and communities throughout the world through sponsors' donations.


There are hundreds of ways to stop poverty, but each one depends on someone taking action. Look at the reference links in this article to see a few of these ways.


Poverty is a complicated problem. There is no single solution, and no one person can change it all, but many people working together can make a difference.

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