World Poverty Day: Fighting Extreme Poverty and Social Exclusion in Eastern Europe

Dignity for All in the practice is the overarching theme of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty for 2022-2023. Human dignity is not only a fundamental right in itself, but forms the basis for all other fundamental rights.

“Dignity" is not an abstract concept: it belongs to each individual. Today, many people living in persistent poverty experience their dignity being denied and disregarded. The way the poorest people are treated is a measure of the respect for human dignity in our societies.

With the commitment to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people everywhere can live in peace and prosperity, the 2030 Agenda has reiterated the same promise contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the reality is different:

  • In a world where we produce enough to feed everyone, 811 million people do not have enough to eat and 44 million are at risk of famine (source: WFP).
  • 2 billion people still live without clean drinking water and 3.6 billion without safe sanitation (source: WHO and UNICEF).
  • 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty (source: UNDP), almost half of whom are children and youth.

The tacit and persistent violence of poverty - social exclusion and discrimination - makes it difficult for people trapped in extreme poverty to break free.

More support for action against poverty

On the occasion of  World Poverty Day on 17 October, CONCORDIA Social Projects Managing Director Bernhard Drumel appeals to the Austrian Federal Government to provide more funds for bilateral development cooperation for 2023.

"In addition to increasing bilateral funds, Austria's response to the global humanitarian catastrophes can only be to maintain the allocation to the Foreign Disaster Fund in the amount of 115 million euros (amount in 2022: 105 million euros + inflation adjustment)", says Bernhard Drumel, Executive Director of CONCORDIA Social Projects.

Because one thing is clear: the challenges of development cooperation will remain gigantic in the coming year. Global conflicts as well as climate change and its effects are leading to a regression in the fight against hunger and poverty and are exacerbating inequalities.

Every child living in poverty is one too many!

Some 6 billion children and adolescents still live in multidimensional poverty today (source: UNDP).

The country organisations of CONCORDIA Social Projects in Kosovo, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria support children, young people and families living in extreme poverty on the margins of society. On the one hand, the aim is to be there for the people in acute emergencies and to provide emergency aid in the form of food packages, clothing and medical care.

5 ways to fight poverty

Ending poverty worldwide in just over a decade is the greatest challenge we face, but it is possible. But it is more difficult than it was a year ago. Even before the war in Ukraine, food insecurity was increasing around the world. We won`t lose focus and continue to work towards achieving #SDG1. Discover examples of our way to fight poverty.

We give access to basic needs and food

Hunger is both a cause and consequence of poverty.

The first 1,000 days of life are crucial for any human being. It is during this stage that children's basic development takes place and good nutrition plays an essential role. Hunger and malnutrition in childhood cause infant mortality, but can also lead to a slowing of their physical and intellectual development, irreversible consequences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

It has been shown that a sick population is less productive. Malnutrition (in any form) also has serious consequences for the health of adults. Obesity, for example, can lead to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, asthma, respiratory problems or liver disease.

We give access to health care

Poverty is a major cause of ill health and a barrier to accessing health care when needed.

Poverty and health are intimately linked. And they are the two key elements of a fish that bites its own tail. Poverty means that sick people do not have the resources to access certain treatments. On the other hand, a high incidence of disease in a territory prevents it from developing economically.

The construction of robust health systems, which allow this fundamental right to be universalised, and the implementation of prevention mechanisms and programmes, is another effective way to end poverty.

Adaptation to climate change

Support for subsistence farmers to adapt to climate-related shocks through improving their general standard of living.

Climate change effects in natural disasters - increased by the effects of climate change - result in losses of crops, livestock and infrastructure. This means a drastic reduction in staple food production.

This has a direct impact on the food security of the poorest people, but also on their livelihoods. To end poverty, we also need to support the poorest populations to reduce their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Access to quality education for all children

Guaranteeing access to inclusive, equitable and quality education for all children is the first step towards putting a future free of poverty and full of opportunities in their hands.

Extreme poverty, neglect and discrimination mean that children in need are at risk of being excluded from educational measures. Educational opportunities give children and young people in need a perspective and help to combat the cycle of poverty in a sustainable way.

CONCORDIA Social Projects offers accessible and appropriate educational projects. These include kindergartens, more than 25 after-school care centres, an integrative primary school, a vocational school and scholarships for educationally disadvantaged young people.

Empowering women and girls

Poverty has a woman's face and gender inequality is yet another barrier preventing women from escaping poverty.

The gender gap in education, access to ownership, positions of responsibility, and women's lack of participation in society are some of the signs of this inequality. Therefore, if we want to end poverty we cannot (and must not) forget women. Within our projects we want to ensure, that

  • young women and girls are aware of and take advantage of educational and employment opportunities;
  • appropriate and targeted services are freely available to women;
  • development and implementation of a professional approach to overcoming discrimination against women and realising their full potential.

CONCORDIA projects fighting poverty

  • Emergency aid in the Republic of Moldova

In addition to rising inflation, which is particularly high in Moldova at 34 percent, and weather extremes such as the drought in summer, the situation in Moldova has already worsened before the onset of winter. More and more parents are dependent on the support of bridging aid packages to feed their children. Single mothers and their children are hit particularly hard.

  • Empowerment for girls and women in Kosovo

In Kosovo, girls, young women and women - especially mothers - of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian origin are particularly at risk of social exclusion. Widespread domestic, sexualised and gender-based violence is a sad reality for many girls and women. A targeted expansion of our learning and recreational opportunities at the CONCORDIA Tranzit Centre in Prizren/Kosovo is indispensable to sustainably improve the living realities of girls and women from marginalised communities. To achieve this goal, counselling and self-help groups have been initiated and accompanied by a multidisciplinary team for the past year. We also work strongly at the level of local politics with authorities and appeal to decision-makers and partners to fight the causes of poverty - especially women's poverty - and to develop cross-sectoral support services for women and their families. Our programmes serve as a roadmap for further efforts to strengthen social institutions in project countries such as Kosovo.

In the medium and longer term, the aim is to provide access to the labour market and to education and training, to combat marginalisation and gender- and age-specific aspects of poverty, to address poor housing conditions and to promote the social inclusion of groups at risk of poverty.

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