It’s 2021. Gen Z is on the rise, Tik Tok is everywhere, and it’s probably about time to start keeping an eye out for the next iPhone release. Or…water?
In our world (the one from which you’re reading this article), it’s hard to imagine a life without relatively easy access to water, food, sanitation, and even education. Our economy, though rough at times, is relatively stable and profitable. But where we’re keeping an eye out for the next iPhone, millions of adults and children are keeping an even sharper eye out for something startlingly simple: water.
But for the many millions of people living in severely underdeveloped nations, water, food, sanitation, and education are all more precious than any iPhone—and significantly harder to come by.
Thankfully, organizations exist that strive to make a difference in these countries. Other programs like fair and direct trade allow international sympathizers to directly help impoverished economies. Read on to meet three of the most poverty-stricken countries—and what you can do to help!
Population: 15.9 Million
Located in the Eastern part of Africa, Somalia is built on savannas and semi-deserts. Given its extremely hot climate, it relies on agriculture to fuel its economy. Unfortunately, a series of droughts and famines have jeopardized that livelihood, and civil conflict has further destabilized the country. In 2020, the country was also ravaged by desert locusts that destroyed crops and left civilians in despair.
The International Rescue Committee is one of many nonprofits working to help develop Somalia through economic well-being, education, and empowerment. Through its efforts, it is able to assist around 280,000 Somalians per year.
Central African Republic
Population: 4.8 Million
Travel further west and you’ll find the Central African Republic: a diverse land whose ecosystems range from lush rainforests to treeless savannas. The people are even more diverse than the landscape, with a large mix of cultures and heritages. Most of the population lives rurally and life expectancy rarely reaches past the age of 50 years old.
Further, most of the population lives in slums. Defined, these slums are communities of people living in homes that lack safe infrastructure and are often plagued with lack of clean water. According to recent numbers, 95% of citizens in the Central African Republic live in these slums—the highest percentage of all underdeveloped nations.
Water for Good is working to help those in the Central African Republic by providing clean water. They state that their efforts provide clean water to over 880,000 people! Their mission is only growing, and they aim to give every single person in the Central African Republic access to clean water.
Population: 11.1 Million
Bordering the Central African Republic is South Sudan, a country rich with plentiful natural resources.
However, despite South Sudan’s plentiful resources, experts estimate that nearly 60% of primary aged children are out of school. Limited opportunities for education equal limited opportunities for wealth, growth, and employment. According to the U.N., only 16% of women in the country know how to read, and 80% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.
Hope Ofira is on a mission to change this statistic and make education accessible through child sponsorships. By sponsoring a child in South Sudan, you are directly contributing towards the educational growth of a child and helping them break out of a life of poverty. These child sponsorships also ensure that each child receives medical care when needed, and they allow impoverished children access to mentorship and friendship through letter exchanges.
How You Can Help People in the Least Developed Countries
It might be shocking to hear the situation in some of the impoverished countries around us. Surrounded as we often are by relative luxury, it’s easy to forget (or not even realize) the state of other nations. The good news is you can help the least developed countries from wherever you are!
Though it may feel indirect, supporting trustworthy nonprofits in underprivileged areas is one of the best ways for foreigners to contribute. These organizations know and understand how to distribute aid in ways that best help—and not harm—the local economy.
Your greatest power, however, is in your purchasing decisions. Instead of buying products from companies that pay poor wages to workers, buy directly from the people (direct trade) or through fair trade businesses.
These programs protect workers and create sustainable and lasting change. When locals are paid fairly, they have the money to provide for their families. They can also send their children to school, which raises the rate of literacy and further improves the economy over time, in turn raising the living standard.
We get it—buying fair trade feels like a small thing. But really, it makes a large difference over time. While each of us individually aren’t equipped to fly to Africa and get directly involved, we are equipped to take this small step to help those economies. And believe it or not, those steps really do add up to change!
Ready to start making a difference today? The Anchored Purpose Box is on a mission to make a change in the least developed countries by supporting local nonprofits and artisans in these nations. Join our mission today, and start making a difference while learning more about the cultures around you.