Giving Compass' Take:

• Efosa Ojomo explains that Sustainable Development Goal One, ending extreme poverty, is ambitious but, as COVID-19 shows, insufficient. 

• Ojomo advocates for creating shared prosperity through market-creating innovations. What role can you play in this type of solution? 

• Read about supporting the SDGs through philanthropy

The first UN Sustainable Development Goal is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Although the goal is ambitious, unfortunately it’s also insufficient in helping people lead safe and secure lives—something the spread of COVID-19 has made glaringly more apparent.

Before COVID-19 brought the global economy to a halt, more than 3.4 billion people who lived on less than $5.50 a day—technically not living in extreme poverty—struggled immensely to meet their basic needs. Often lacking access to safety nets and welfare programs, the spread of the virus has only made their lives more difficult, and could push as many as 500 million people back into poverty. Unfortunately, the virus won’t be the last crisis to expose how vulnerable billions of people remain despite not technically living in “extreme poverty.” For those who continue to struggle, natural disasters, financial crises, a death in the family, or even a hospital visit can be detrimental.

It’s clear that ending poverty does not go far enough to prevent human suffering—but the unfortunate truth is that the global community has fallen short even in this regard. In Moving Out of Poverty, a large-scale 2009 World Bank study, researchers interviewed more than 60,000 people living in 500 communities in 15 different countries to understand how they escaped poverty. Only 0.3% of people credited NGO activities while 71% of people assigned their progress to economic transformation such as jobs, new income sources, and new businesses.

Our research supports these findings, and suggests a fundamentally different approach to helping people get ahead in life: creating shared prosperity through market-creating innovations.

Read the full article about ending extreme poverty by Efosa Ojomo at Christensen Institute.