1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. Poor and ultra-poor people suffer from lack of economic opportunity, poor health and are extremely vulnerable shocks (i.e. health, natural disasters, bad harvest). They are often unreached by government and development programs. They also live outside of the traditional financial system and lack access to key financial services due to their lack of credit worthiness. Entrepreneurship is one of the best tools for ensuring sustainable change in the lives of poor and ultra-poor individuals
Education is a fundamental right. Yet, UNICEF estimates that 57 million primary school-aged students are out of school; of this number, 54 % were girls. Most of these children are located in sub-Saharan Africa. Education is inaccessible because (a) child labor is significant in ensuring family survival (b) parents can’t afford school costs and (c) schools are located far from home requiring additional transportation costs. Girls who are out of school are forced into early marriages and are more vulnerable to violence and diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
80 million people lack access to clean water and over 2.5 billion of the world’s population does not have access to improved sanitation. Open defecation is practiced by 1.1 billion. This leads to over 3.4 million people dying each year due to water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases. Lack of WASH also burdens stressed economies and further limits poor and ultra-poor people’s lives, especially those of women and girls. Over $260 billion in economic losses are associated with scarce water and sanitation services. Women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa spend 40 billion hours per year collecting and transporting water.
Agriculture is the largest source of income and jobs for poor and ultra-poor households. Agriculture provides income for 40% of the global population. Despite these figures, hunger and food insecurity are still major challenges to development. 842 million people worldwide are hungry; sub-Saharan has the highest prevalence. The World Food Program estimates that poor nutrition causes 3.1 million child deaths annually. 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry worldwide, with 23 million residing in Africa. Changes in climate (i.e. droughts, floods) put a significant burden on already fragile agriculture systems.
Women and girls bear most of the impact of poverty. Families facing money, hunger, and health issues often put women and girls last. Women and girls within these communities also have little rights to their body, earning and are often denied access to credit and land. This leads to women and girls continuous struggle to earn a living, access health care and education.
Economically empowered women tend to have greater control over their income, reproductive health and improvements in their children’s lives. Women reinvest an average of 90 % of their income into their families. Investing in WASH could also save the world’s health sectors $12 billion annually. Countries can gain 0.1 to 0.3 % of per capita growth by reaching equality in primary and secondary education. You can transform the lives of poor and ultra-poor people by donating to support our programs.