DBP_1981_1103_EntwicklungszusammenarbeitOne of the most significant marks of enduring poverty is not simply the lack of necessary goods, but the lack of the means to acquire necessary goods. This is true of many different types of poverty. Those who are materially poor often lack the ability to acquire needed material goods. This could mean a lack of marketable skills, but it could also mean a lack of access to markets. Consider the cliche ‘You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime’. Teaching a man to fish is a wonderful analogy for developmental training in marketable skills. However, using the same analogy, if the nearest fishable body of water is a hundred and fifty miles away, teaching the poor man to fish does him little good. Similarly, you can teach a man marketable skills, but unless you also give him access to markets in which to offer those skills, the skills themselves are useless. The same thing is true in non-material types of poverty. A lonely man in an urban center might read the book How to Make Friends and Influence People, put the skills he learns into practice, and solve his problem. However, a hermit living in the middle of a difficult to access mountain range is unlikely to find the book helpful. You might give an illiterate man Plato’s Republic as the beginning of a solution to his intellectual poverty. However, without teaching him to read, the book will quickly become nothing more than an interesting doorstop. We can easily identify five different kinds of poverty: material poverty (i.e. the lack of material goods), intellectual poverty (i.e. the lack of knowledge, critical thinking skills etc), emotional poverty (i.e. depression, self-control issues, anger issues, etc), social poverty (i.e. lack of friendships, family, etc), and spiritual poverty (i.e. lack a spiritual awareness, divine connection, etc – a Christian would define this as being unregenerate or lacking a relationship with God, alternatively a Zen Buddhist might define this as having a clouded mind). Each of these forms of poverty runs into the same initial problem: giving the man a fish isn’t necessarily enough, but teaching the man to fish isn’t necessarily enough either. So, you know the challenge: I provide you with a question, and you write a story of 1000 words or less to answer it. Here’s your question: using one of the above types of poverty as an example consider, what are the first steps in creating a long-term solution to the individual’s problem? This could be considered either from the individual’s point of view (i.e. seeking aid to solve the problem himself) or from another’s point of view (i.e. someone working to aid him).


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