International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


On the 17th October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and events take place around the country and beyond to mark the occasion.

The United Nations has made it a priority to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015 and this global day of action is a way of encouraging world leaders and governments to eradicate global poverty, hunger and violence wherever it may be.

People living in extreme poverty face daily challenges when it comes to food, shelter, health and access to essential services such as education. Extreme poverty kills more children, young people and adults than war. In the UK, a wide variety of activities are being planned to mark the day. For example, in George Square in Glasgow people will gather to sing songs and listen to guest speakers while in Camberwell in London a live music event has been scheduled. It is also a great opportunity for schools to get involved too. Each year consists of a theme, the 2014 theme is to “leave no one behind: think, decide and act together”.

The origins of this day stretch back more than 25 years to the French capital, Paris, where more than 100,000 people gathered to protest over world poverty. Since then the international profile of the day has grown with numerous non-governmental organisations and charities helping to organise concerts and many other activities. Such was the success of the campaign in bringing attention to these issues to governments all over the world that, in 1992, the UN General Assembly declared October 17 as the date for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. 

This gave added impetus to the day of action with all kinds of charities, social movements, faith groups, trade unions, community groups, youth organisations and individuals joining in to make the day grow in popularity each year. Over the years many UK schools have joined in too. Organising classroom activities around the theme of the eradication of poverty would be a great way to help raise awareness and to help your pupils feel a connection with people all over the world. 

Many schools have organised ways to mark the day from holding a moment of silence in assembly to creating a collective piece of artwork. You could also go online and join the global conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #EndPoverty. There is no right or wrong way for your school to get involved so be creative and use your imagination to make a positive contribution!