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Storytelling – panacea to second and third degrees of poverty

Second degree of poverty is referred to a condition in which basic needs are just barely met. Third degree on the other hand is a condition where household income is below a given proportion of average national income. The only thing expected of the poor to easily contribute when help come their way is a “renewed mind” to carry on with the new development but unfortunately; that is not as easy as expected due to what psychologist captured under prospect theory. Economic laws are universal; however, every goal requires program of its own. Extreme poverty is different from this two. Therefore, to overcome these levels of poverty we need different approach aside previous attempts if there are any.

Our values determine to large extent our problems; the nature of those problems determines the quality of our lives. On the same vein, our culture and belief system share so much in common with our values. All of these plays major role in achieving our goals. Hence, there is a great need to consider them in the fight against poverty (second and third degrees of poverty). Some culture directly or indirectly encourages poverty. Why do the poor make bad and very poor decisions? Decisions are product of orientation; they come out of the abundance of things we know, which are perhaps product of our thought heavily influenced by values and culture we adopt overtime. It is also pertinent to know that is upon these thoughts we build and run our systems. Little wonder former prime minister of United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher said, “Poverty is a personality defect.”

A problem might be the same everywhere however; imports of similar problems often differ with different folks. And this is one of the challenges facing poverty eradication in most part of the world. If rationality is perception, perception in the other hand is subjective. We control how we see our problems based on how we choose to think about them, and by the standard with which we choose to measure them. The measuring tools in this case lie in our values, and culture. When a group with similar values and culture completely opposite to economic laws and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) puts it out; it makes it more difficult to implement Sustainable Development Goal programs which are geared toward poverty eradication. Any goal that one’s belief system does not support one struggles at it.

Arguably, it is said that culture change with economic times and circumstances. What is the best option? Allow economic times and circumstances to change our culture or consciously carryout the change? COVID-19 in most unpleasant way brought change to the Almajiri system in the northern Nigeria. Kano state government became the first to abolish the system through her state assembly. This system has been in the region for so long and has contributed immensely to the poor state of the region. It is not wise to wait for economic realities to change our culture, tradition, belief system and likes that are detrimental to wealth creation. Knowledge of the “nature” of a thing; and the ‘order’ of the same thing scales predictive ability. Poverty or wealth state of a group of people could be predicted through the “nature” of their mind and operating “order” of such minds. Therefore, with wrong mindset poverty eradication remains a mirage.

“Poverty can be done away with, not by increasing the number of well to do people who think about poverty, but by increasing the number of poor people who purpose with faith to get rich”- Waliace D. Wattles. Our approach in realising the Sustainable Development Goals need to change if we intend to achieve required outcome. The poor in the aforementioned degrees among us need inspiration and this is where storytelling comes to play. The major challenge facing poverty eradication is unguarded charity. “Except for humanitarian emergencies, direct cash transfers are rarely an attractive way to deliver official development assistance.” – Jeffery Sachs. The poor in this category sincerely do not need charity as much as they need inspiration.

“Poverty eradication is not one of life’s serendipities.” – Nnanyereugo R. Uzoanya. Poverty eradication requires conscious effort especially from the poor. Unguarded charity keeps the poor alive in their wretchedness. Inspiration will cause them to rise out of their misery and face life realities with required boldness. “The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you would have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not without.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson.  One sure way capable of bringing the required self – sustaining growth among this group of poor people is by sharing mind transforming, belief, value, and culture reforming stories (storytelling).


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