Students taking on global poverty

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STUDENTS across the island have been coming up with ideas on how to end global poverty.

Simon Moss, co-founder of Global Poverty Project, hosted 1.4 Billion Reasons – the number of people in poverty – at the island’s high schools. King William’s College, Isle of Man College and at the Manx Museum, in Douglas.

The presentations, in association with the One World Centre and the Manx Co-Operative, coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight, taking place from February 28 to March 13.

When asked why he gave the presentation to schools, Mr Moss said: ‘Students here in the Isle of Man have a fantastic opportunity every day to make a small but important difference to help the world’s poorest.’

He said people’s decisions to buy Fairtrade products, such as food and clothing, made a difference. ‘Small actions add up to make a very large difference,’ he said.

Mr Moss praised St Ninian’s High School, in Douglas, for the continued support it provides to a school it funded in Uganda.

And, as an example of how individual actions change people’s lives, he said polio was expected to be eradicated in a couple of years’ time, thanks to Rotary International’s campaign.

The presentation looked at how a lack of food, clean water, basic sanitation, healthcare and education can rob a person of their dignity and potential. World Bank figures show the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has dropped in the last 30 years from 52 per cent to 25 per cent.

When asked what actions could be taken to get the figure down to zero, students suggested higher taxes on premiership footballers and more publicity by charities.

The presentation also questioned why people should care about ending poverty.

Mr Moss explained that the world was a global community – giving the examples of conflicts, climate change, disease and the global economy to show how interlinked the world is.

As an example, students were asked to find out where their clothes they were wearing were made – revealing the majority were made hundreds of miles from the British Isles.

‘Ending poverty is affordable,’ Mr Moss said.

For example, he said while £37.2bn was spent per year on bottled water, the estimated cost of providing clean water worldwide was £18.3bn.

He gave a list of practical suggestions on what individuals could do to help, including volunteering, buying Fairtrade, learning more about the issues and donating.

The educational campaigning organisation Global Poverty Project seeks to inspire responsibility and positive action within individuals.

l Meanwhile, retailers including the Manx Co-operative and Oxfam have special offers on Fairtrade products. On Wednesday, staff at the Co-op in Christian Street, Ramsey, dressed up as fruit to advertise some of the Fairtrade products on offer.

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