The world has achieved a lot in combating poverty thanks to the World Bank’s program, Millennium development goals of ensuring that the world is free of poverty. Many years ago, more than a billion people lived in extreme poverty worldwide. Isn’t it good news that the World Bank has achieved most of its goal of eradicating poverty in the world? Undernutrition due to challenges in public health was a key challenge for the last forty years or so. Food securities, lack of jobs, lack of education, gender inequality are all challenges that have contributed to extreme poverty around the word. The journey has not been without obstacles. And now since the puzzle is being solved, we ought to ask ourselves what lays next for the nations and the world at large?
It is imperative to re-examine how the World Bank is taking measures to challenge the narrative on eradicating poverty. You will bear me witness that one of the key contributors of poverty is education. The World Bank has been able to pull its muscles and take initiatives towards investing adequately on the education sector. If my memory serves me right, I remember when I was in primary school, teachers were in adequate and yet the students were thirst for education. Thanks to World Bank we have more trained teachers able to meet the high demand of students in our institutes of learning.
Most students skipped school due to poverty and in the real sense they had no option than to skip classes. After the World Bank chipped in through its program of eradicating poverty we have seen more students attend school. Most students were offered with innovative incentives including helping with cash to attend school. It is a two way traffic in that, the kids have gone to school, they got education, got jobs and are now living a happy life hence eliminating poverty burden.
Due to the quality of education spearheaded by the World Bank, I was able to make a difference in the society. Before I left the US for further studies, I was instrumental in establishing the first community library in my home village. Few years later, I launched a social enterprise by the name ‘African Tutor’ aimed at empowering the young people in Africa by providing academic resources and other opportunities online. The programs implemented by World Bank enabled me to gain not only education that leads to learning skills but one that enables learners to utilize the skills and knowledge gained in school, to make a difference in the society.
Believe me; hunger is something that most countries in Asia, Africa and the world at large have experienced. In addition we have also witnessed a crisis in the public health sector- that of undernutrition and many other challenges. Have you ever gone to school without having eaten breakfast or skipped lunch, not because you were fasting but because of lack of food? That is what most of my fellow school mates went through. Were it not cooperation among the international community, perhaps the World Bank would not have come up with solutions for the high rates of hunger that are been experienced around the globe. In addition, the World Bank so far has been able to end poverty through its major support and boost to the agricultural sector and food security. It ensured that the world had enough funding towards implementing agricultural projects and providing countries with grants and finance.
It would be wrong for me not to compare and contrast how life was when I was growing up and going to school with the current situation. Back in the days most of my classes had a representation of at least over 80 % been boys and the rest been girls. This is the trend that continued even when I enrolled for high school. Having been born and raised in Kenya, I had never witnessed gender equality. I can now reflect on the strides made by World Bank of ensuring that our women and girls get quality education. We have also seen women take leadership roles in political participation and in private and public sectors as well. On the other hand, there has been a proper and good way of strengthening nutrition, disease prevention and maternal health programs. Thanks to the First Lady of Kenya, Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta for her leading role in raising funds through her project ‘Beyond zero campaign’ to aid in maternal health care for our women. With a maternal mortality rate of 488 deaths per 100,000 live births, Kenya is off track in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal numbers four and five.
On the other hand, many lives of children have been saved. Diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, aids and tuberculosis have been a big challenge for the World Bank to handle. Imagine a child in Zimbabwe, Haiti or Afghanistan dying as a result of Malaria or Aids? It hurts to lose a single life in such circumstances. The World Bank continues to strengthen our national corrupt health systems especially in Africa. We have seen over the last years major immunization programs by World Bank towards increasing the chances of living for our children.
Truly, the journey was not without obstacles such as lack of accountability by the respective countries as well as international agencies in implementing the goals. Corruption in government’s offices especially where I come from in Africa is like a disease by itself. I would propose the next 30 years for governments to continue implementing these goals and ensure that the next generation to come perhaps in 2030 will continue enjoying a world free of poverty.
Lastly but not least, World Bank continues to make history across the globe, that of eradicating poverty through their vision 2030. Through my education initiatives such as ‘African Tutor’ which empowers African youth through education, I look forward to continue been part and parcel of vision 2030.
Written by: Humphrey Musila*
*Humphrey Musila is studying Political Science and Peace Journalism in the United States, and is the founder of African Tutor – an online platform assisting student academics and providing tutor jobs for graduates. He’s an Alumni Coro Kansas City (USA) – a highly intensive top ten nationally ranked internship program in public affairs. Humphrey is passionate about youth and global affairs, social media marketing, research and writing, education, youth empowerment, public policy and information technology.