The Reasons Behind the Campaign
Poverty erodes the human rights of millions of people around the world, and the situation is being felt increasingly close to home: in Spain, Andalucía and Granada, poverty continues to grow.
Granada, united against poverty
Granada is home to 105,000 unemployed people and 60,000 families living in poverty. In Andalucía, 2.5 million people (30% of the population) are suffering from poverty, and 300,000 from extreme poverty. In Spain, 10.5 million people (21.8% of the country’s population) live below the poverty line, and 3 million people are living in extreme poverty (according to Caritas). 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty around the globe, and one in eight people suffer from chronic hunger.
We are in the midst of a crisis with a long history and multiple dimensions (economic, political and environmental dimensions have converged with food, energy, cultural and values crises). The concentration of wealth in the hands of a small part of the population is threatening to push the majority of the world’s population into poverty and destroy our planet.
Extreme wealth breeds poverty, as the following figures confirm. Half of the world’s income is in the hands of 10% of the world’s population. The incomes of the world’s wealthiest 1% have increased 60% in the last twenty years. The net income of the 100 wealthiest people in the world, 240 billion dollars, could end extreme poverty four times over, according to Oxfam Intermón’s report The cost of inequality: how wealth and income extremes hurt us all.
Public services—health, education, housing—are undergoing cutbacks and being privatised. Workers are being stripped of their rights, and people with disabilities of the policies that guarantee their own rights. Land is being monopolised, and public goods like water are being privatised. The environment is being destroyed. Our society is suffering from gender inequality. Social protest is curtailed, just causes are quashed through intimidation. The people have no control over public policy. All this and more is generating poverty and inequality. In the field of development cooperation, significant, disproportionate cutbacks are hurting efforts to ensure that the basic rights of millions of people are fulfilled and standing in the way of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
It is not possible to eradicate poverty and inequality without addressing wealth accumulation, speculation and waste. In order to fight poverty effectively, we must create a just, sustainable world, in which women and men alike can exercise their rights and live free from violence and inequality. Solidarity and universal justice, and the promotion of and respect for human, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, are a matter of justice; our leaders have the obligation to guarantee them and every person in the world has the right to enjoy them.
THE ZERO POVERTY CAMPAIGN IN GRANADA
‘Take action against wealth that breeds poverty!’ was the slogan of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, celebrated on 17 October. It was a week of action against poverty and social exclusion, in which a number of member organisations from the Education for Development and Communications Group of the Association of NGDOs of Granada (Coordinadora Granadina de ONGDs, or CONGRA), including FISC, organised a series of activities designed to raise awareness in Granada.
On Monday, 14 October, representatives from the organisations visited ‘Surtopías’ (‘Southern Utopias’) a new radio programme run by the Association of NGDOs of Andalucía (Coordinadora Andaluza de ONGDs, or CAONGD), to get the word out about the events that were planned as part of the Zero Poverty Campaign in Andalucía.
On Thursday, 17 October we held a press conference at the Euro Arab Foundation and visited ‘Ángeles entre nosotros’ (‘Angels Among Us’), a radio programme run by Caritas.
On Friday, 18 October a screening of the documentary ‘La voz del viento’ (‘The Voice of the Wind’) took place at the Granada’s Mercao Social y Cultural. The documentary follows director Carlos Pons and Jean-Luc, a French farmer, as they travel from Marseilles to Granada, visiting different projects related to permaculture, critical thinking and action, and is imbued with an underlying sense of respect and joie de vivre. At each stop on their journey, the two men talk to the people behind each project and give or exchange seeds. There was quite a large turnout, and after the screening, Daniel, a farmer from Ecovalle (an association that connects farmers and consumers of organic foods in Valle Lecrin) and Fernando López Castellano, an economics professor at UGR and an author of a number of books about poverty and emigration, took the floor to discuss how the documentary relates to poverty and tell us about the many alternative farming initiatives that exist today, initiatives that are helping to reclaim abandoned land and encourage responsible consumption.
FISC participated with a group of 17 volunteers and two teachers who helped plan the events and lead activities. A group of children from the ‘Escuelita’ project run by the Company of Mary Our Lady in northern Granada (in the La Paz neighbourhood) attended the events as well, participating in the awareness raising activities.
CONGRA’s Education for Development and Communications Group is very happy with the success of this group effort. There is still so much to do, but we know that it’s possible if we act together: ‘Take action against wealth that breeds poverty’.