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Monday, March 26, 2007

Did you know that we are among the 10% wealthiest people in the world? Most all Americans fall into this category. We also use 86% of the world's resources which makes us seem more than slightly piggish. I especially hated to hear that 28,000 children die each day (ten million a year) due to starvation or preventable disease. As I hear these statistics I feel some resentment for the guilt complex that comes with it. On the other hand, I feel compelled to help however I can. I realize that that statistic may be suspect. How can you really know that this is so? Who counts dead babies in the 3rd world? There are so many remote villages. Statisticians probably can defend this from some sampling they have done somewhere. . . But I think we all know that there is a problem with starvation and preventable disease.
John Hatch started the Village Banking model of microfinance in 1984 while on a flight to Bolivia. He said it was the double bourbon that gave him the insight for this new idea in dealing with the poverty situation in the world. FINCA is the result of his idea and with other NGO's (non-governmental organizations) who do a similar service have reached 100 million of the world's poorest families. There are only 160 million left needing assistance. One of the interesting things he told us during the workshop last week is that the poorest of the poor who FINCA would like to serve will not come to them for help. They are scared of starting a business and having that responsibility. I feel their pain. I have the same fear. But that is for another blog. The point I would like to make here is that we have made excellent headway in solving the world's poverty problem and there is a goal by some to end all poverty by the year 2025.
The plan hatched to reach this goal by some former BYU student interns with FINCA calls for us to cut back on our consumption 1% and give $1 per day to their organization called ASAP. ASAP is an acronym for Alliance of Students Against Poverty. This would amount to one less soda or other treat a day. If only 2 million people would do this for 10 years they could reach their goal of raising 7 billion dollars to stamp out poverty. ASAP, which is just starting up, will research all of the current NGOs out there who are doing microfinance and support the most efficient ones with the money they raise. I like the idea. What do you think?