7 Ways You Can Fight To End Poverty In Your Life.

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1. Call your congressional representatives.

By calling your local representative and saying, “Hi, I’m a Connecticut voter, and I want you to protect the International Affairs Budget,” you are helping to end global poverty. Congressional offices are required to keep track of the number of calls they receive about a particular issue. According to The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization that campaigns to end global poverty, it can take as few as seven callers to convince a representative to support a particular bill.

To find your congressional leaders, visit Congress Merge. Can’t call during work hours? Messages left after hours are tallied as well. Want your representative to support other anti-poverty bills? Visit The Borgen Project to find specific legislation.

2. Donate books and other school supplies.

Education is one of the most essential tools in the fight to end poverty. RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund—sister organizations that fund poverty-reduction programs around the world—identify the lack of education, especially for girls, as a root cause of poverty.

One small way you can help is by donating books and other classroom supplies. Supplies can be shipped to organizations like Books For Africa and Develop Africa, which will then send the supplies to schools in need.

3. Participate in The Water Challenge.

Sanitation and water related diseases disproportionately affect the world’s poor. According to End Water Poverty, a global coalition that seeks to provide people with clean drinking water, almost 2,000 children die daily from water related diseases. Others are unable to attend school because there are no private toilets.

The Water Challenge asks people to drink only water for two weeks. The money saved during this time can then be donated to the Water Project, a nonprofit organization that supports water project construction in sub-Saharan Africa. According to The Water Challenge, the money saved during the two weeks is enough cash to give at least one person access to clean water.

4. Grant small loans.

One of the most effective ways to end poverty is to create economic opportunities in developing countries. Currently, there are many microfinance organizations that facilitate loans to people who don’t have access to traditional banking systems. Recipients can then invest that money in local products or start their own businesses.

One such organization is Kiva, a nonprofit charity that allows people to lend as little as $25 to individuals and groups across five continents. On Kiva’s website, lenders can view people’s stories and choose where to invest their loan.

Though $25 may not seem like a lot, the loans made through Kiva have helped people buy office furniture, build shops, and even send their children to school. What’s more, Kiva has a 98.7 percent repayment rate—so the $25 is only a temporary loss.

5. Volunteer during your vacation.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars on resorts and amusement parks, consider going on a volunteer trip. Such trips give participants a chance to meet, work, and live with impoverished communities, and to have a direct and lasting impact on the individuals there.

Numerous programs currently exist for those interested in volunteering abroad. Some of these programs are sponsored by American organizations, while others are run by the host country. Most offer opportunities in a variety of locations that can last anywhere from 1 week to 1 year. Sites like Volunteer Global and Go Over Seas offer program directories and reviews.

6. Buy something.

Help end global poverty by buying products from companies that donate a portion, or all, of their profits to charity.

FEED Projects automatically sends a portion of its proceeds to humanitarian organizations like UN World Food Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund. A $33 t-shirt provides a child with 10 meals; a $80 tote bag will provide one child with a year’s worth of school meals.

Other companies allow you to support humanitarian efforts more directly. At the Empowerment Store, you can buy clothing, accessories, and jewelry made by survivors of sex trafficking. The proceeds then fund the Somaly Mam foundation, a nonprofit charity that rescues and rehabilitates women who have been trafficked in Southeast Asia.

7. Spread awareness.

The single most important thing you can do to end poverty is to spread awareness of the issue. Talking with family and friends, sharing links on social media sites, volunteering to speak to a class or at a meeting—these simple steps can have a profound impact on the campaign to end global poverty.

Because the truth is, poverty is not an immutable part of human life. Since 1990, the poverty rate in the developing world has decreased from 43.1 percent of the population to 20.6 percent. As more people become aware and involved, we can expect those numbers to continue to drop—until we live in a world where poverty no longer exists.

– Jordanna Packtor

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