In 2018, Opportunity International Australia adopted a new tag line:
‘Don’t fight poverty. End it.’
The line came from a fundraising appeal several years ago, but the idea stuck. It resonated. The line was bold, action oriented, and it was thought-provoking. But it was also contentious. People began asking what we meant; whether we thought ending poverty is, actually, possible.
Our answer is yes, we believe it is. And interestingly, so does the UN.
In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a call to action (and arms) for all countries, rich and poor, to improve life for people and protect the environment by 2030.1 The SDGs address issues including health, education, climate change, gender equality, and economic growth. But the very first Sustainable Development Goal is: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Drilling down into SDG 1's targets reveals some interesting specifics.
Target 1.1 is: ‘By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than [US]$1.25 a day.’
Target 1.2 is: ‘By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.’
And Target 1.4 has a curious tie-in with Opportunity: ‘By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.’2
So, when we at Opportunity say that we want to end poverty, we are in good company – all 193 United Nations member states want to do the same and believe it is possible.
Right now, 2 billion people live on less than US$3.20 a day. That is one in four people who are trapped in a cycle of poverty that—if we don’t act—will remain in poverty for generations. The choices we have about careers, education, healthcare, living standards, and what we may or may not want for dinner, are unimaginable to them.
For Opportunity, ending poverty will be an ‘always on’ campaign. There will be other fundraising campaigns and opportunities to advocate on related issues. But underpinning them all will be one essential belief and motivation: ending poverty.