October 17th marks the United Nations-sanctioned International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The focus of this day is to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger around the globe. The theme for 2016 is Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms.
This year’s theme speaks to Goal #1 of the Sustainable Development Goals: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. This goal recognizes and highlights that poverty results not from the lack of just one thing but from many interrelated factors that affect the lives of people living in poverty. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon declared that “poverty is not simply measured by inadequate income. It is manifested in restricted access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, by the denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights.”
Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) has identified five ‘Missing Dimensions’ of poverty that individuals who are living in poverty have cited as important to their experience. These dimensions are: Quality of Work, Empowerment, Physical Safety, Psychological Well Being and Social Connectedness. The dimension Social Connectedness is both intrinsically and instrumentally important to those experiencing poverty. OPHI states that relationships bring individuals “comfort, provide love, allow them to confide in people or feel part of a group [which is] important for achieving other goals, such as finding a job or learning new skills.”
On this day the UN calls for the recognition that all people must come together to end poverty and discrimination in order to build a sustainable future. We must focus on the relationships between the various factors that impact poverty. Furthermore we must focus upon the relationships that exist amongst us and the importance social connectedness holds for reducing poverty.