Viewpoint: Now More Than Ever
By Kate Cochran
When the mammoth proportions of the global pandemic became clear, something else became clear to those of us who spend our days thinking about and fighting global poverty. It was clear that this crisis would not hit everyone equally. The extreme poor, whose lives are precarious in the best of times, would be hit immediately and in devastating ways.
A new report from King’s College London puts numbers to these fears. Like so much else with this crisis, it is even worse than we originally imagined. The report analyzes the impact on extreme poverty of global economic contractions at three levels. In the best-case scenario, a 5% contraction, the researchers anticipate that 87 million people would fall into extreme poverty – half of them in South Asia where Upaya works. That is the best-case scenario. In the worst-case scenario, a 20% contraction, half a billion people could fall into extreme poverty, erasing the gains of the past 30 years. That kind of retreat is almost too horrifying to think of.
Photo courtesy of Martin Sanchez.