Two team members (represented by [A] and [D]) working on 'A Dollar a Day' had the opportunity to visit the Southeast Asian country of Bangladesh while the site was being created. While there, they answered several questions, posed by their relatives, about poverty to enhance the website and provide firsthand accounts of what poverty in the developing world is really like.
Question: Some people believe that the poor are responsible for their own poverty - that if they just tried harder and worked harder, they wouldn’t be so poor. Others blame societal problems for poverty. In this latter view, the poor are largely victims of society - of discrimination, poor schools, dangerous neighborhoods, etc. Still others take the middle ground, arguing that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes, so that both the poor and society play important roles in alleviating poverty. Which of the above views do non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh seem to support?
Question: Psychologist Abraham Maslow depicted a “hierarchy of needs” using a pyramid. At the bottom are physiological needs for food, water, sleep, and so on. Next are “safety” needs, followed by needs for “love,” “esteem,” and near the top, “self-actualization.” According to Maslow’s theory, only when the needs at a lower level are met can a person advance to the next level. Thus, for example, physiological needs must be met before a person can address his or her needs for safety.
Question: Where would you place yourself on the Maslow’s pyramid? Where would you place a Bangladeshi beggar?
Question: The streets of Bangladesh are crowded with obviously very poor, often physically disabled beggars. Is it better to give money directly to them or to donate that money to an organization that funds projects aimed at helping the poor be self-supporting, even though such projects may never benefit the beggars of Bangladesh?
Question: Some people say that ending poverty starts with educating children. What do you think this mean?
Question: One NGO believes that it is far better to “loan” a chicken to a family to raise for income than to give that family the chicken for the same purpose without any expectation of being repaid. Without the repayment obligation, the NGO argues, the family may just decide one day to eat the chicken, rather than wait until it is full grown so that the family can sell it and use some of the proceeds to buy another chicken or chickens. Another NGO argues that less business-minded people won’t dare “borrow” a chicken, so to get these families started on the road to self-sufficiency you may have to give them their first chicken outright, with no expectation of being repaid. Which NGO do you think has it right?
Question: Can you imagine the poor children of Bangladesh complaining at dinner that they don’t like some food item in their bowl, that they would rather have something else? Now think about this: in an industrialized country, such as the U.S., where we have so much, is it reasonable to expect that children will sometimes whine for things?
Question: When you’re looking for poverty, what do you see? What does poverty look like, smell like, feel like?
Question: One NGO working in Bangladesh argues that you must improve the status of women in order to alleviate poverty in the country. Why might this be so?
Question: What is being done to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh? What more should we do?
Copyright © 2006 ThinkQuest Team 00282