8 Must Watch Videos That Will Change the Way You Think About Poverty

Mark Horoszowski

Mark Horoszowski is the co-founder and CEO of MovingWorlds.org.

Mandela quote above poverty

One of the biggest challenges that the United Nations will face in its quest to end poverty by 2030 is the widespread misunderstanding of what poverty really is, and who lives in it.

These 8 videos will help you better understand what poverty really is, who it affects, and how it’s created in the first place:

1. Hans Rosling tells the world How to End Poverty in 15 Years

15 years from now, nobody will still be living in extreme poverty anywhere in the world – that’s the pledge being made by President Obama and the Pope. Eradicating global poverty in a single generation is the number one ambition to be announced at this weekend’s Sustainable Development Summit in New York. But is it possible? It’s a long video, but it is wonderfully entertaining and informative. Here is a shorter summary if you don’t have time for the full-length video.


2. Gary Haugen shares The Hidden Reason for Poverty the World Needs to Address Now

Collective compassion has meant an overall decrease in global poverty since the 1980s, says civil rights lawyer Gary Haugen. Yet for all the world’s aid money, there’s a pervasive hidden problem keeping poverty alive: violence.


3. An Escape from Poverty by Jaqueline Novogratz

Jacqueline Novogratz tells a moving story of an encounter in a Nairobi slum with Jane, a former prostitute, whose dreams of escaping poverty, of becoming a doctor and of getting married were fulfilled in an unexpected way.


4. Richard Wilkinson explains How Economic Inequality Harms Societies

We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.


5. Mia Birdsong explains Why The Story We Tell Ourselves About Poverty Isn’t True

As a global community, we all want to end poverty. Mia Birdsong suggests a great place to start: Let’s honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. She asks us to look again at people in poverty: They may be broke — but they’re not broken.


6. William Kamkwamba talks about Harnessing the Wind to Escape Poverty

At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family’s home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.


7. Jaqueline Novogratz shares how Patient Capital – Not Charity – Can Create Jobs and Dignity

Jacqueline Novogratz shares stories of how “patient capital” can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services — and dignity — to the world’s poorest.


8. Michael Green educates us on How We Can Make the World a Better Place by 2030

Can we end hunger and poverty, halt climate change and achieve gender equality in the next 15 years? The governments of the world think we can. Meeting at the UN in September 2015, they agreed to a new set of Global Goals for the development of the world to 2030. Social progress expert Michael Green invites us to imagine how these goals and their vision for a better world can be achieved.


In Summary

Poverty is one of the most challenging problems that we face today. It can be sparked by any number of issues: personal, societal, communal, cultural, environmental, and governmental to name just a few. Once it occurs, it can be propagated by a variety of factors, like violence, corruption, unethical capitalism, tourism, and many more. In order to solve poverty, we first need to learn even more about it.

A recent article in Stanford’s Social Innovation Review is trying to change the conversation on this topic from getting people out of poverty, to changing the systems create poverty in the first place. If we can learn about poverty, fix the systems that create and foster it, then we can change the conversation to help people not only get and stay out of poverty, but move to a state of empowerment. In the words of Nelson Mandela,

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

To learn more about the fight against poverty, be sure to check out the Global Goals.