Throughout this series, we have discussed how big government structural adjustment programs and multilateral financial institutions perpetuate Neoliberalism. They use a top down approach to poverty reduction, that doesn’t really help those who are most impoverished.
So, what can we really do?
As individuals, how can we help to change this monumentally complicated economic system that is perpetuated and strengthened by some of the worlds most powerful people? This seems to be a rather hopeless question, however, there are some things we can do.
1. Use your political voice
The most important tool we can utilize to create change is the right to vote. We must step up and vote in every election. We must be informed voters that support accountability and honesty in our political systems.
2. Support Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) that empower communities and individuals
The organizations around the world that are making the biggest positive impacts in the fight against poverty are the ones that support community led development and individual empowerment. These organizations enter a community respectfully and help the people who live there help themselves. The communities and individuals create and maintain programs that reduce poverty with support from the organization. These organizations give people tools to fix their problems, instead of fixing the problems for them. This is a much better way to fight poverty because it starts at the local level and meets the needs of individuals, instead of assuming that impoverished people all have the same problems.
3. Do not blindly donate money, know who you’re giving money to
There are tens of thousands of organizations working all around the world to fix problems like hunger, poverty, lack of education, etc. These organizations are forces of good in the world, however not all of these organizations are creating lasting change. Some of these organizations are causing more harm than good. We must donate to the organizations that give people the tools to fix their own problems. Global poverty will continue to plague all societies around the world until we give power back to the people, instead of taking power from them. We must donate to the organizations that empower individuals, instead of giving to the ones that cause more problems for the people they’re trying to help. The Western world donates millions of dollars per year to charities and NGOs; let’s make sure we’re supporting the ones that make lasting changes.
4. Be a humanizing force
In the world today, money rules supreme. You as an individual can make a huge impact by challenging the idea that success is about making lots of money. We must make an effort to put human dignity and human needs above making money. By choosing to stand up to the consumer culture western capitalism has created, we can put people back in the center of what is most important in this world. You can choose to be a humanizing force for change in a system that consistently tells us to be selfish and individualistic. There is more to life than the size of our bank accounts, houses and cars. The change can start today, chose humanity.