International (MNN) — If you think extreme global poverty can be ended in this generation, you’re one of the few people who do. Most U.S. adults believe it’s next-to-impossible. But a new book called “Hope Rising” offers a bold, counterculture perspective.
“Many people have given to support causes; we know that many people have sponsored children with Compassion,” says Scott Todd, Compassion International Senior VP for Global Advocacy.
“Really, the reason [people] should read Hope Rising is to discover encouragement: just to be affirmed that what they’re doing matters.”
In writing “Hope Rising,” Todd and Compassion recently partnered with Barna Group to study the perceptions of U.S. adults regarding extreme global poverty. Barna’s findings revealed some interesting truths.
First of all, the belief among U.S. adults that poverty can be alleviated in this generation is far from widely-held. Just under a quarter of U.S. adults (23%) “somewhat” agree with the possibility of ending extreme poverty in the next 25 years. A mere 9%, or one in 10 U.S. adults, “strongly” agree with the possibility.
But these perceptions aren’t based on fact, argues Todd.
“The shocking truth is that we’ve been seeing progress against extreme poverty for several decades,” he says. “I wanted to encourage everybody that’s involved in the fight against extreme poverty that it’s working and it’s getting better.”
Since 2000, measles infections have decreased by 71%, and malaria deaths have been cut in half. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year before widespread vaccination.
In addition, over half of the world’s population was trapped in extreme poverty in 1981. Today, it’s only 21%.
“That’s a 31-point drop…and that happened in the span of a generation,” Todd notes.
“So, for people who are skeptical, what they’re really saying is they don’t believe we can keep the same pace of progress that we’ve had for the past 25 years.”
Releasing today, “Hope Rising” outlines how Christians can help put an end to global poverty. Compassion’s child sponsorships are one such method, giving kids an education, food and basic health care.
“And, most importantly from our perspective, the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Todd adds.
“If you have that redemptive relationship with God, you will translate that into love for others. And that certainly applies to those suffering in extreme poverty,” says Todd.
“We believe God is calling us to the ultimate act of ministry to the poor, and that is bringing an end to extreme global poverty.”