Poverty, INC – Turning poor people from Objects into Subjects
This week I watched the movie Poverty INC from the poverty Cure the movie has been received 50 international film festival honors.
“Poor people are not objects, but they are subjects, and should be treated as protagonists of their own stories of development.” (Michael Matheson Miller – Director Poverty, INC)
The movie presents a very interesting analysis of the problem of taking people out of poverty. The main message is that poor people are seing as the object of poverty aleviation while they should be seen as subject of the process. The words for subject and object used here are in the grammar sense.
When someone is seen as the object, then the phrases go like this : The money was raised for me.
While the subject of the phrase, should be like: I raised the money for my family.
The system of poverty alleviation has strong and large players, from NGO’s to Governmental agencies, Global Organizations that raise funds, from taxes paid by population to be directed and distributed to organizations.
For some reason, all the different ways to alleviate poverty have one element in common: they all failed, and for different reasons.
But the most predominant reason is that the process does not involved the most important part o the equation: The poor.
The people living in poverty are usually seen as less capable of making their own decisions. They are seing as individuals, without the capacity to provide for themselves, they are seen as less than humans. In this sense the core of the problem is no different from slavery.
During colonial era, in the 1500’s many africans were captured, and sold for European masters, as labor, to work in coffee farms, sugar farms, cotton farms. They were sold as commodities, and nobody, not even Christian nations were concern about their rights, since they weren’t considered human beings. They weren’t able to make their own decisions. They weren’t supposed to have any rights.
It took many years and the hard work of strong Christians like Willian Wilberforce in London to stop the slave trade.
After the Second World War Colonialism gave room for a movement for independent nations, particularly those who were under some sort of dependence of the European Nations.
Europe itself was in very bad conditions, coming out of the war, and needed much of help and support to recover from the destruction of the World War II. The IMF and THE World Bank were started and then used to help finance the reconstruction of the European Countries. The model then was used to be replicated to the recently young nations, but instead of leading them to independence and development, it created a model of paternalism, and systematic poverty that perpetuated the cycle.
The movie addresses the very key issues that affect the materially poor nations and particularly the way we do charity and provide care for poor communities without the involvement of the communities in the very decision of the solutions.
This needs to change.
The Documentary also presents a very good perspective of local businesses people, religious leaders, and political leaders, to help Westerners see that there are very educated and capable people in those countries as well.
There is a need to change, in the way we see them, in the way we create methodology and strategies that will affect these people.
Very well intentioned people created many mechanisms to promote awareness and even raise fund and start organizations to help and bring resources.
But the solution that is proposed in based on the understanding of the problem.
And the problem is that the people who are offering to help, haven’t figure out the problem, before coming with a Solution.
Dr. John Olman from India, an Indian Physician mentioned that when we do development work we come with solutions, without knowing the questions to ask.
There is an arrogance syndrome that the development workers possess, in the way to help, that makes them assume in the lie that they know better the solution to the problem than the people living close to the problem.
The term Subsidiarity, was mentioned during the video and it seems to address much of the ways to improve:
Subsidiarity is a principle of social organization that originated in the Roman Catholic Church. In its most basic formulation, it holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate (or local) level that is consistent with their resolution.
So the organizations that are willing to participate in the process of poverty alleviation should partner with local people and promote their development and their awareness to bring the solution to be searched and found close to the problem. Not in somewhere else in other parts/countries. There is a need to improve of understanding on how to find solutions and in the process, learn and empower the local people to help them find their own solutions.
The documentary is a great tool to begin conversations and people how they should address poverty alleviation and how they should do to bring awareness in a way that we turn the affected communities not as an object, but as a subject, as the people who are capable to find solutions for themselves.
Tags: Movie Report, humaities and Science
November 27, 2016 at 02:33PM
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