By October 14, 2013 Read More →

The Future She Wants-ActionAid

Tuesday, September 24th

Asha “A rights based approach is absolutely essential when trying to address and measure poverty…there needs to be additional benchmarks of wellbeing.” This made up part of the opening remarks by Ms Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. The panel discussion on “The Future She Wants” was hosted by ActionAid, an international NGO dedicated to poverty eradication and raising awareness on developmental issues.

Other panellists who were present on the day were Farah Kabbir (Global Gender and Climate Alliance, Bangladesh) and Aida Kiangi (Head of ActionAid, Tanzania).

Equity in income distribution, standard of living, empowerment and economic policy formed the crux of the panelists’ ideas. The cost of living is rapidly increasing everyday and as the population grows, it is becoming increasingly obvious that something “concrete and sustainable” needs to be put into place for future generation. It is also important to safeguard and promote the rights of women and girls, which whilst showing great improvement, still falls short of expected targets. The question of the effectiveness of the Millennium Development Goals was also addressed. Yes, they did go a long way in bridging gender inequalities and the rights of women and girls. Ms Lakshmi Puri, along with the other panelists, concurred that the entire system of measuring poverty needed an overhaul; it had been tried and tested and it was no longer working. All the panelists also agreed that the issue of empowerment equation does not mean increasing dependency; not on government, not on man but being your own self.

In a nutshell, this all revolves around the importance of collecting comprehensive data and ensure that you are collecting accurate information. What are the benchmarks going to be in the 21st century to measure poverty, specifically in relation to women and girls? This is something we are yet to decide.

It has been said, be the change you want to see in the world. What benchmarks do I set for myself to change? Do I take my own change seriously enough to take any other change in the world seriously too? It is worth reflecting on these questions, and perhaps then we can see how exactly we can help those around us better.

– by Asha Kurup

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