Thursday, July 26, 2007

IFAD and Rural Poverty

The beauty of exploring the UN system is the periodic discovery of agencies doing important work on the less publicized aspects of development. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a great example of this, as an organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty.

IFAD is working to enable the rural poor to overcome poverty (note the word enable). There is a delicate interplay between hunger, agriculture, and HIV/AIDS that together form the basis of rural poverty, and IFAD wants to provide people with the tools to combat these challenges.

In case you weren’t convinced of the importance of this mission, remember that 75% of the world’s 1.1 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas. IFAD’s work contributes directly to achieving the 1st Millennium Development Goal, to cut poverty in half by 2015.

IFAD also powers a website called the Rural Poverty Portal which allows rural poor people, donors, policymakers and others to communicate and share information about this challenge. The Stories from the Field are particularly inspiring, as they provide examples of the ripple effect – how seemingly small changes can make a large impact on the surrounding community. Examples include octopus fishing in Mauritius and providing electricity and water to a small mountain village in Vietnam.