In the dark: world poverty

A collection of important visualizations of poverty have been posted up at One.org. All of them have something to say, but I thought I’d share the one I think is the most important.

Access to energy across the world, 2010

I was reminded of an article about access to electricity in the developing world. I couldn’t find that one, but there is a more recent¬†feature was written by the CEO of the website that posted these visuals up.

In developing countries, when you lose electricity, it’s usually temporary. And even if your power is out for the afternoon, you’re surrounded by businesses and infrastructure that’s running 24/7. To live in the dark – not just in your own home, but whole communities – is something that the developing world knows all too well. Former colonies, abandoned by imperial powers and left to rot, are left in the dark in other, less literal ways. Little or no access to the internet. Lack of literacy and libraries. Terrible transit infrastructure. Crippling poverty that makes almost all types of goods out of reach.

There are a thousand ways to demonstrate inequality. It depends on what you are contrasting. Some inequalities only hit home when you got beyond domestic, and look at a global scale. This isn’t about people in different tax brackets, it’s the realization that billions of people have lights and billions do not.

Chaos in 2013: Bangui, Central African Republic

A child looking through an airplane window, Bangui, CAR. Credit: Rebecca Blackwell

The bloody sectarian struggle in the Central African Republic has gone underreported throughout 2013. Perhaps it’s just a latecomer to a region with long-standing conflicts- the Christian-Muslim division in Nigeria, the religious and economic conflict in South Sudan, the ongoing proxy wars in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is its own tragedy- one of Muslims fighting Christians, and a government without even the basic means to defend itself.

The airport in Bangui has become a massive refugee camp for those that fear going back home, or have no homes to return to at all.