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Conflict continues over homosexuality in Uganda

Petition against Anti-Gay Bill Delivered to Ugandan Parliament. Fierce debate continues in Uganda over the Bahati Bill, a controversial anti-homosexual law currently under consideration by the Ugandan government (prev). [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Mar 2, 2010 - 32 comments

Better Than We Thought

"The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong." [PDF, 339.97 KB] [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Mar 2, 2010 - 21 comments

A new kind of civil disobedience?

Boston College sociology professor Lisa Dodson does research on poverty, public policy, and low-income work and family life. Recently her research took a different turn, as she discovered through interviews with U.S. managers in charge of low-income workers that some of them feel "(a) sense of unfairness (...) as a supervisor, making enough to live comfortably while overseeing workers who couldn’t feed their families on the money they earned. That inequality, he told her, tainted his job, making him feel complicit in an unfair system that paid hard workers too little to cover basic needs." Professor Dobson talks about this phenomenon, and how it plays out in that some managers undermine the system, in interviews in the Boston Globe and on public radio. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on Mar 2, 2010 - 35 comments

Portfolios of the Poor

Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day A new book by Daryl Collins of Bankable Frontier Associates; Jonathan Morduch of NYU's Financial Access Initiative; Stuart Rutherford, author of The Poor and Their Money and founder of SafeSave; and Orlanda Ruthven of Impactt investigates the question of how over a billion people make ends meet on only $2 a day. "The authors report on the yearlong "financial diaries" of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa--records that track penny by penny how specific households manage their money." The strategies adopted by the households of Hamed & Khadeja (pdf) from Bangladesh, Thembi (pdf) from South Africa, Feizal (pdf) from India and others may surprise you.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal on Feb 27, 2010 - 10 comments

A Lot To Live For

An Olympic Tent Village has opened in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, on an empty lot currently being leased by the Vancouver Olympic Committee, in response to increasing homelessness in "Canada's most livable city", in spite of spending more than $6 billion on the 2010 Olympic Games. Mayor Gregor Robertson has stated that they won't be evicted - for now. [more inside]
posted by dinsdale on Feb 17, 2010 - 42 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans is employed to keep fellow citizens in line and protect private wealth

“Being willing to sit in a boring classroom for 12 years, and then sign up for four more years and then sign up for three or more years after that—well, that’s a pretty good measure of your willingness to essentially do what you’re told,” - The Santa Fe Reporter talks to Economist Samuel Bowles about New Mexico's income gap, welfare, social mobility, and a radical way to help. (Via)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2010 - 47 comments

You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House

"Indian country begins where the serene prairie of Custer county gives way to the formidable rock spires marking out South Dakota's rugged Badlands. The road runs straight until the indistinguishable, clapboard American homesteads fade from view and the path climbs into a landscape sharpened by an eternity of wind and water. At this time of year, the temperature slides to tens of degrees below freezing and a relentless gale sets the snow dancing on the road, a whirligig of white blotting out the black of the asphalt."

A sobering look at one Native American community and their hopes during the Obama years, by The Guardian's Chris McGreal.
posted by saturnine on Jan 10, 2010 - 18 comments

Slashing...prices?

In a story broken by the New York Times, unsold clothes were found in trash bags outside of H&M and Wal-Mart, apparently cut up so as to be unwearable, in a city with 16,000 homeless people currently in the midst of a recession and a very cold winter. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jan 10, 2010 - 284 comments

Alabamas Homeboys

Homeboy Industries (gang intervention organization) visits Alabama Village in Prichard Alabama. Videos, photos and an essay describe their visit.
posted by proneSMK on Dec 20, 2009 - 9 comments

Going hungry in the USA

Almost 15 percent of US households are "food insecure". Last year, nearly 17 million children, or 22.5 per cent, lived in households in which food at times was scarce - 4 million children more than the year before. And the number of youngsters who sometimes went hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Nov 17, 2009 - 78 comments

People are not where they live, or where they sleep

Becky Blanton spent a year in her van grieving her dead father. Even with a full-time job and a writing career, a depression quickly set in which made Blanton feel like a homeless person. How do we define homelessness? [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Oct 28, 2009 - 46 comments

Detroit and the Economy

Last week in Detroit, where unemployment is close to 30%, one third of all households are in poverty, and whole neighborhoods have been abandoned, chaos ensued as an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people lined up in the hopes of getting federal aid. 65,000 applications were taken for a new program that will fund only 3,500 people (via).
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 on Oct 11, 2009 - 83 comments

The Justice Gap in America

Nearly one million people who seek help for civil legal problems, such as foreclosures and domestic violence, will be turned away this year. A new report by the Legal Services Corporation, a non-profit established by Congress in 1974 to ensure equal access to justice, finds that legal aid programs turn away one person for every client served. The full report, "Documenting the Justice Gap in America" is available here (pdf). The 2009 report is an update and expansion on a 2005 report (available here) finding that 80% of the poor lacked access to legal aid. [more inside]
posted by lunit on Sep 30, 2009 - 8 comments

Ten Dollars an Hour

In an area where racial divisions are very stark, the relationships between the "haves" and the "have nots" are very illuminating. Leasse William is a cook at the Sigma Nu fraternity house on the campus of the University of Mississippi. She makes ten dollars an hour. For nine months of pay this equals out at about $15,000/year. This places her well within the over 20% of the population in Mississippi that lives below the poverty line. This mini documentary by Ben Guest about Leasse shines a light on the perspectives of the various actors involved in this drama of racial tensions and class disparity.
posted by anansi on Sep 26, 2009 - 85 comments

Beyond war and crisis

Sustainable Security is a website launched this month by the Oxford Research Group "to be an important platform for promoting a better understanding of the real threats to global security in the 21st century and the policies that should be implemented to address those threats at their root cause." It highlights "four interconnected drivers of global insecurity: climate change; competition over natural resources; global militarism; and poverty and marginalisation. Prof. Paul Rogers makes the case for a rethink of the security paradigm.
posted by Abiezer on Sep 11, 2009 - 10 comments

Reaping what's sown.

With inadequate access to basic health care (WHO .doc summary), impoverished Afghans turn to cheap and available opium as 'medicine' for pain relief, cough suppression and other ailments. The level of addiction among children is at a critical level. Jawed Taiman's film Addicted in Afghanistan provides some further perspective. [more inside]
posted by uaudio on Aug 11, 2009 - 35 comments

Barbara Ehrenreich on Poverty in America

Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of Nickel and Dimed, has for the past two months been writing a series of opinion essays in the New York Times that discuss poverty, both new and entrenched. The pieces, so far, are "Too Poor to Make the News," "A Homespun Safety Net," and "Is It Now A Crime to Be Poor?" [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Aug 10, 2009 - 77 comments

Girl on the Verge

Love Me is a heartbreaking photo essay that follows the life of a 17 year old girl living in extreme poverty in Southeastern Ohio. [more inside]
posted by lunasol on Aug 4, 2009 - 169 comments

"Homes not Handcuffs"

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has released a list of the 10 meanest cities in relation to criminalizing homeless. Full report (pdf) available here. [more inside]
posted by lunit on Jul 14, 2009 - 80 comments

He works odd jobs just to make ends meet

"The 2000 census found that nearly 23 percent of families living in Letcher County, KY, fell below the poverty line. The median household income in most counties is at or below $25,000, with individuals making on average $12,000 a year." The White Family by Carl Kiilsgaard [more inside]
posted by saturnine on Jun 23, 2009 - 45 comments

Too Poor to Make the News

Too Poor to Make the News "The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the “great leveler,” smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.

But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility — the already poor. From their point of view “the economy,” as a shared condition, is a fiction."
posted by nooneyouknow on Jun 17, 2009 - 74 comments

You have to be rich to be poor

The High Cost of Poverty : The Washington Post explores why the cost of living is proportionately higher in poor areas. Double Jeopardy: Why the Poor Pay More (pdf): a report on payday loans, the cost of homeownership, medical debt, and banking in poor communities.
posted by desjardins on May 19, 2009 - 230 comments

On This Ground

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a directory of historic sites that interpret themes related to ethical, political, and social issues worldwide.
posted by Miko on Apr 17, 2009 - 5 comments

Child labor in Bangladesh

Child labor in Bangladesh
posted by Joe Beese on Apr 15, 2009 - 28 comments

Brave New Welfare

"Lies about surgical sterility requirements. Questions about their sex lives. Outright threats. Here's what faces families in Georgia when their luck runs out."
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 16, 2009 - 91 comments

15104

Braddock, Pennsylvania has been classified as a "distressed municipality." This may be an understatement: From a high of around 20,000, its population has dwindled to below 3000, many of those people unemployed. Braddock's is a landscape so grim ("a mix of boarded-up storefronts, houses in advanced stages of collapse and vacant lots") that it was selected to serve as a backdrop for the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel, The Road. Its mayor, John Fetterman, considers Braddock “a laboratory for solutions to all these maladies starting to knock on the door of every community.” [more inside]
posted by kittens for breakfast on Feb 8, 2009 - 88 comments

Paging Mr. Dickens...

When welfare benefits the rich, and starves the poor: Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years. [more inside]
posted by dejah420 on Feb 2, 2009 - 68 comments

The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep.

"The city is so cash-strapped that firefighters have to purchase their own toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Their aging bunker gear is coated in carbon, 'making them the equivalent of walking matchsticks.' The firehouses' brass poles have been removed and sold off by the city." - The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep by Matt Labash.
posted by chunking express on Jan 20, 2009 - 38 comments

Religious takes on the global financial crisis

The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
posted by desjardins on Jan 14, 2009 - 93 comments

A new vision for the future poor

Wearers of Adaptive Eyewear can make their own prescriptions. The lenses are plastic bladders that change shape and corrective power with a small syringe. So far 30,000 people who may never be reached by an optician or afford conventional eyeglasses now have corrected vision. Recipients are now able to read, mend fishing nets, sew, and perform other tasks requiring good eyesight. The inventor, Oxford University professor Josh Silver, hopes his nonprofit organization can begin manufacturing and distributing up to 100 million pairs a year.
posted by ardgedee on Dec 30, 2008 - 14 comments

More Than Photo Op or Foil

"The last eight years, in terms of engagement, [Washington] D.C. has just been a photo op for the president, or a foil," says Tommy Wells, a social worker turned D.C. Council member. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 22, 2008 - 27 comments

"When I came here... I became a human being."

Necessary Angels. They are not doctors. They are not nurses. They are illiterate women from India's Untouchable castes. Yet as trained village health workers, they are delivering babies, curing disease, and saving lives—including their own. Photo Gallery. Video.
posted by amyms on Dec 11, 2008 - 14 comments

Poverty & Brain Development

"We know kids growing up in resource-poor environments have more trouble with the kinds of behavioral control that the prefrontal cortex is involved in regulating," Boyce said. "But the fact that we see functional differences in prefrontal cortex response in lower socioeconomic status kids is definitive."
posted by theroadahead on Dec 7, 2008 - 76 comments

Yours is also mine

"Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies as shown by this map.
The resentment rises as villagers are stripped of holdings and livelihood in Laos; and land prices are soaring in Brazil.
Here are some of the biggest deals. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Nov 26, 2008 - 14 comments

Are you making a living wage?

Are you making a living wage? An online calculator from the Poverty in America project's set of tools. [more inside]
posted by geos on Nov 12, 2008 - 83 comments

Tent Cities, USA

As forclosures rise, so do tent cities filled with Americans. Across the country, tent cities are rising everywhere. From California, where foreclosures are taking over 60,000 homes per month, to Vegas, where hungry children sleep in the glittered dust of the wealthy, to St. Petersburg, Florida where the cops are destroying the tents of the homeless to make them leave the city, to the suburbs, homelessness, hunger, and poverty are on the rise. The government's response? Change how "homeless" is defined, so that the numbers appear to be decreasing at the same time that tents are springing up all over the country. [more inside]
posted by dejah420 on Nov 7, 2008 - 135 comments

Fixing the world on $2/day

Amy Smith and MIT's D-lab apply engineering principles to real-world problems that affect the world's poorest residents. She organizes an annual conference. Hear her talk at TED. Previously
posted by lalochezia on Nov 2, 2008 - 4 comments

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty

AIDS Orphans in Kenya: a disturbing video report about the lives of Kenyan children forced to live on the street after their parents die of AIDS. The Kibera Slum where the disease spreads like fire and the incredible follow-up story, all submitted to raise awareness about poverty.
posted by Surfin' Bird on Oct 15, 2008 - 5 comments

Haitians are reduced to eating dirt.

Many poor Haitians, driven over the edge by world rising food prices, are now eating cakes of mud, salt and shortening in order to survive. This article in the September issue of National Geographic describes how, thanks to history and other factors such as hurricanes, Haiti has lost its ability to feed itself; more than 90% of the country is deforested. The picture caption in the print version, not seen online, uses the word "clay" instead of "dirt". Bill Quigley wrote about the U.S. role in Haiti's food riots, which claimed six lives last spring.
posted by Melismata on Oct 10, 2008 - 33 comments

If information is power, then access is empowering

In a recent Roundtable on Creative Capitalism hosted by TIME, CK Prahalad, author of "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" brings to our attention the insight that "the essence of poverty is the assymetry of information" and that this asymmetry was now changing due to the availability and affordability of mobile phones in developing nations. Jeffery Sachs supports him by pointing out that the digital divide was being closed by market forces not civic efforts. Global leader Nokia has already leapt into the breach by opening a Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya in order to develop concepts and products that are of value and relevance for those at the Base of the Pyarmid. The ubiquitious little cellphone has now been spotlighted as a key tool for poverty alleviation, although the debate continues. [previously]
posted by infini on Aug 27, 2008 - 57 comments

People Power

It was a mass protest held outside the halls of Washington. Led, or at least it was supposed to be, by Martin Luther King Jr. (before he was assassinated) it was going to show the world the glaring divide that existed between the Rich and the Poor of America. Black, White, Red, Yellow--they all gathered from all over the US, to stay together for six weeks, outside the Capitol, and inform the public about what life in America could sometimes mean, if you were not considered economically, socially or racially acceptable. Unfortunately, the problem still persists, even today.
posted by hadjiboy on Aug 10, 2008 - 8 comments

Collateral Damage?

"Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that they’d been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways they’d never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore, and Betts and Janikowski figured that the same thing must be happening all around the country." American Murder Mystery. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4.
posted by wittgenstein on Jul 7, 2008 - 57 comments

The revolution will be led by a 12-year-old girl

The Girl Effect.
posted by sveskemus on Jun 17, 2008 - 61 comments

Sitting Out Earth Day

The new face of hunger -- “World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period” says the International Food Policy Research Institute. Food riots have erupted in countries all along the equator because of soaring food commodity prices. So, where does the world get more food? If the extra supplies are to come mainly from large farmers in America and Europe, then they may be trapped in a farm subsidy Catch-22. Increase production per acre? We just learned about the myth of GM crops (previously of MeFi). All of this is why some are just sitting out Earth Day.
posted by netbros on Apr 22, 2008 - 114 comments

Poor whites in South Africa

Given the history of the country and the fact that a huge number of South Africa's black citizens still live in conditions of desperate hardship, a film seeking to draw attention to white poverty in that nation might understandably raise some eyebrows or some suspicions. But Poor Whites - South Africa is worth a view. Perhaps things aren't always quite as, er, black and white as this South African TV spot would indicate. Meanwhile, ANC president Jacob Zuma, visiting poor whites at a shantytown yesterday expressed surprise at the level of poverty among white people. "You have shown me that it exists", he said to Solidarity officials who had invited him. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 20, 2008 - 16 comments

Bridging the Green Divide

"It used to be that the more radical you were on environmental issues, the farther you were from working-class people, poor people, and people of color, because you were making individual lifestyle changes that alienated you from the majority. You looked different; you ate different foods; you wore different clothes. Working-class people were shopping at Wal-Mart and eating at McDonald’s, and you were mad at them for it. With this new environmentalism, the more radical you are on environmental solutions, the closer you are to the working class." [more inside]
posted by lunit on Apr 14, 2008 - 18 comments

World Governments & Accountability

Social Watch monitors the progress of efforts, articulated in numerous international agreements (1 2 3), to end poverty and increase equality worldwide. By coordinating the reports of a network of citizens' organizations, Social Watch aims to keep tabs on progress toward specific initiatives in each country, lobbying national governments as appropriate. Search by country for a snapshot of social and economic progress. Browse various measures of stability and meaningful development. Lots more, including meaty, well-documented reports and statistics, and holy crapola, nice graphics.
posted by Rykey on Apr 5, 2008 - 6 comments

Homeland Insecurity

The Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-profit organization that lobbies for better education and services for children, released a report (audio accompanies link text) this week that reveals that geography is as important as race and class in determining which children succeed, and which fail. The five highest ranking states, based on such factors as child poverty, infant mortality rates, juvenile incarceration rates and the like, were all in New England, with Vermont on top. The bottom five were all in the central South, with Louisiana coming in last... States with a high tax burden did a far better job of minimizing childhood poverty than low-taxing states. Via John Ibbitson in the Globe and Mail [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 4, 2008 - 26 comments

Coming Home

Homeless people are just too lazy to work, aren't they? Besides, they panhandle to get by, so what's the big deal? What does it mean to be homeless [previously] anyway? How do people find themselves in these sorts of situations, and why can't they get out of them? How do they feel about it? And are there any alternatives that we can supply them with?
posted by hadjiboy on Mar 23, 2008 - 69 comments

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