More than one billion people--one-sixth of the world's population--live in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day. At the Earth Institute, researchers take a “human needs" approach to developing solutions to address extreme poverty. Earth Institute researchers, scientists and development practitioners help fight global poverty by addressing its root causes: hunger and malnutrition, access to health care, water, sanitation, energy, trade barriers, gender equality, access to education and so forth.
The human needs approach follows the framework laid out by the Millennium Project, a United Nations initiative to recommend action plans for cutting global poverty in half by 2015.
This framework has led to history's most comprehensive development project -- The Millennium Villages -- which are currently proving that by fighting poverty at the village level through community-led development, rural Africa can achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and escape from the poverty trap. By applying this scalable model to give them a hand up, not a hand out, people of this generation can get on the ladder of development and start climbing on their own.
The Millennium Villages, as with all of the Earth Institute’s anti-poverty work, are organized around achieving outcomes, explains John McArthur, who is associate director at the Earth Institute’s Center for Globalization and Economic Development.
“What we need to do,” McArthur says, “rather than looking at existing resources and asking what incremental improvements can be made, is to figure out what is needed to fix the problems, then organize efforts and dollars around those solutions.” Harnessing science to fight global poverty lies at the core of many Earth Institute activities.