Tuesday, October 22, 2013

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

"If we are to realize the future we want for all, we must hear and heed the calls of the marginalized… Together, we can build a sustainable world of prosperity and peace, justice and equity – a life of dignity for all."1

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Last week was the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October), which has been observed every year since 1993. It is a day to raise awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and associated destitution in the world. Fighting poverty remains at the core of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As members of the Alumni Board, we support the vision and values of International Service; these values, as well as the aims of our ICS placements are all based on the MDGs.

As Vice-chair of the Alumni Board, I’m a Science Writer with a degree in Biology. Before my placement in Bolivia with International Service, my understanding of international development was limited. It wasn’t until we were asked to discuss the question ‘what is international development’ at our ICS pre-departure training weekend that I realised I had never asked myself this question!

 For me, this was the first time I challenged my own assumptions about the aims of international development. It opened my eyes to the dedication and commitment of development workers, working to strengthen individuals, organisations and communities in a sustainable way, to maximise their potential.

On my ICS placement in Bolivia I was involved in teaching community English classes with Up Close Bolivia. This photo of my students graduating from their English course is to symbolise the MDG of fighting poverty. The aim of the classes is to promote the full inclusion of everyone in society and improve employment prospects. The long-term goal is to support the local economy by providing English-speaking employment opportunities in local tourist attractions, thus providing services for international tourists. Some of the students are already working in local tourism, proof that this goal is both sustainable and realistic.

Isabel Baker, Bolivia September - December 2012

  1. http://www.un.org/en/events/povertyday/

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