Aside

Technology & Poverty

p o v e r t y. This is a loaded word that has various meanings to different people. According to Webster’s dictionary, poverty is defined as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions (Merriam-Webster).” There are many ways to define poverty that differ from the dictionary definition. The connotation that this word carries is far more than a sentence could explain. There are solutions to poverty through the use of technology in a two-fold way. The first is giving the people the technology so they can help themselves. The other is using technology to get the word to others about this issue.

Technology has been hyped up to “end global poverty.” There are many skeptics out there that do not believe this is an effective way to combat technology. The naysayers show that donated computers end up just sitting unused. It is more than simply giving technology to the impoverished countries but also teaching them how to use this technology. The technology must be relevant and usable according to Susan Davis, who is apart of an organization that brings to low-tech services to those in poverty.

While studying abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa, service learning was incorporated into our program. We were able to see first-hand the extreme poverty that exists in the township five minutes outside of the college town we stayed in. We spent two weeks in this community helping in the adult computer class. The township had a computer center with an abundance of donated Dell’s. This is one of the effective ways to give people the skills necessary so they can help themselves.

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The second aspect is promotion throughout the United States and Europe. There are organizations that bring awareness like Global Citizen. The purpose of this organization is to stand against the greatest injustice, extreme poverty. They want to do this by creating action in people and bringing it to the forefront of the political arena. They have a lot of link on their site to get people involved including signing a petition to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. This is just one of the examples of organizations that promote poverty awareness.