The question which is perpetually haunting the conscience of humankind is

“Why is poverty not getting eradicated?”

The eight anti-poverty targets – MDGs – that the world committed to achieve by 2015 have just been renamed into another set of targets – the SDGs. Apparently the world has not been very successful, if not a complete failure in eradicating poverty. Although, thousands of development professionals, philanthropists, donors and volunteers, in addition to states and statesmen are working day and night to meet these new SDGs which are demonstrating the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. But no wonder, a decade down the road and we realize we continue walking in the same circle with no end in sight.

Everyday 22,000 children die due to poverty. More than 1.3 billion people are living in extreme poverty, while nearly half of the world's population — more than 3 billion — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. 2,300 people per day die of diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.

This scenario is further worsening because of war, violence, terrorism and environmental degradation all over the world. The reality of the 20th century, which alone added 5 billion in population over the span of ten decades poses a fundamental question: whether the humankind is prepared and motivated enough to tackle this peculiar phenomenon occurring for the first time on the earth?

Are we Noah’s Arc or part of the deluge?

This gets more highlighted when we look at the pace and performance in meeting the MDGs. Isn’t it astonishing that according to Google’s Chief Eric Schmidt there are six billion phone and two billion internet users in the world. If for us it is not certainly the boiling frog syndrome then at least maybe our approaches are getting old fashioned. Perhaps the development sector could not keep pace with the technology and thus instead of being “Noah’s Arc” is being a “forced part of the deluge”

Leading in the darkness

The Almas Jiwani Foundation is an organization set in a new paradigm by people from different walks of life cognizant of the realities, recent failures and challenges ahead. They carry with them a promise of finding a niche for a next generation institution and innovative ideas to solve the world’s problems.

The Goals of AJF are simple, but important. We are seeking to alleviate poverty by focusing on girls and women in select regions. We intend to improve their quality of life by providing or improving access to quality education and energy, and thus modern technology. We advocate for the rights of women in different cultures and societies. We empower women through entrepreneurship and energy nexus and a top down technology thrust. We will create a sisterhood of 5 E-Champions across the globe spawning a network of benefactors and beneficiaries. AJF reduces stigma and discrimination faced by women and girls living in hostile and under developed regions of the world, work towards environmental regeneration, the usage and conservation of clean water, and promote hygiene and sanitation through education. We empower both women and men with skills and tools conducive to equitable knowledge, resources and power sharing for a sustainable lifestyle. And finally we empower women and men and instill in them that everyone should be required to have equal access to resources and decision making and to be recognized, valued and respected in society.

Why our work matters

As physical and political landscapes around the world undergo rapid and dramatic shifts, so too do the opportunities. The threats and challenges women and girls face all across the globe are more sinister and fierce than ever. From the ravages of war and famine to sexual and reproductive rights and health, women are frontline fighters for their own survival, for the survival of their communities, and for the survival of their lands. In a context of increasing violence and environmental devastation; AJF proposes and will provide opportunities for the empowerment of women and girls through its 5E capitalization, as that has the potential to change the struggle from survival to ‘thrival’ of humanity.

Evidence is clear that societies with empowered women thrive, not just socially, but economically as well. Empowering women is the single greatest tool we have to lift many parts of the world out of poverty, and is a resource that has been underused. For us to succeed as a global community, there is no question women must have an equal voice, only then can we truly take care of the world’s children and help them grow up in a more peaceful and hopeful world.