Just 42% of churchgoers think poverty is being made history
In the approach to the 10th anniversary of the historic G8 meeting in Gleneagles that prompted the Make Poverty History campaign, child development charity Compassion, has discovered that the church is not sure that poverty is being eradicated.
A survey commissioned by Compassion UK, interviewing 1,096 adults who attend church at least once a month, found that just 42% agreed that significant progress had been made towards eliminating global poverty in the past decade .
The same proportion, 42%, disagreed, with 12% disagreeing strongly. The results had a strong generational divide, with those under 35 feeling more optimistic about the fight to eradicate poverty and older generations seeming more jaded.
Compassion UK is a charity committed to ending poverty through child development. Core to its mission is the belief that it is possible for extreme poverty to be overthrown in this generation.
“The truth is that enormous strides have been made in the fight against poverty and we see that in the children we work with,” said Ian Hamilton, Chief Executive of Compassion UK. “Globally, child mortality rates have halved since the Millennium Development Goals were set in 1990, as has chronic malnutrition. More children are going to school and in many regions, girls are getting the same opportunities as boys .
“The scale of need in the world is still enormous, however. One billion people are still living in extreme poverty, 47% of those are children. Statistics like that can be overwhelming and make it seem as though the battle is impossible. It’s critical that the church is not discouraged, but instead recognises the power it has to break the hold of poverty. Extreme poverty has been almost halved since 1990; it’s time now to look to the future and finish the job.
“A report released from Unicef earlier this week, highlights the need to focus on the hardest to reach, most vulnerable children if we are to combat intergenerational disadvantage and end extreme poverty. We couldn’t agree more. Working through local church we seek out the most vulnerable children in the community. We know that by providing for their core needs and laying foundations in their life to enable them to grow into independent young people, they will go on to lead their communities and pave the way for transformation.”
The progress made not just by Compassion but the many agencies working to eradicate poverty is undeniable, but the battle is not over.