Asking the right questions comes equally difficult as seeking the right answers. It takes courage to initiate a dialogue with equally positioned actors on the matter. It takes effort to engage and deepen the dialogue. It takes time to accept the answers. And it takes all three to initiate proper actions to change the answers.
Why poverty? ask Steps International on their quest to initiate a global dialogue with help of filmmakers unveiling stories from different corners of the world. Tackling issues such as education, gender equality, food security, the conditions into which children are born, corruption, climate change, the effectiveness of global aid and the effects of disease and wars, the question is raised involving various actors and influencers of the poverty agenda: Why do a bilion people still live in poverty in the 21st Century?
The stories to be released promise to carry us:
- To Barefoot College, picturing the life-changing journey of three women in their fifties to India from their home villages in Africa and the Middle East to become solar engineers. The story pictures a possible answer to the doubt that change is possible despite age and gender.
- To the celebrities‘ world involved in global campaigns such as Drop the Debt and Make Poverty History, examining their combined efforts to try answering to the question How to do Good?
- To the affluent west and the developing world having a closer look at birth and circumstances of the parents, their hopes for their soon-to-be born child, the differences in customs and practices regarding pregnancy and childbirth in hospitals in England and Sierra Leone: how the life of the child will unfold?
- To a journey through the history of poverty from Biblical times, to the middle ages, colonialism, the Great Depression, the welfare state and globalisation, using animation to reconstruct how mankind made periodic efforts to alleviate poverty in an ironic and incisive look back at the story of global inequality.
- To Africa and narratives of corruption to find the answer why , despite enormous natural mineral wealth Africa still remains locked in poverty. Through interviews with head of states, corporate insiders and officials from global financial institutions, the aim is to expose the extent of the problem continent wide.
- To Wuhan, China and its education system, following the quest of a young woman at the beginning of her college studies and of a newly graduated young man. Their respective stories try to answer to the question where the current education system is taking the country, and what effect will that have on economic progress and the improvement of life for the poor.
- To Mali and an ambitious plan to build a vast sugar cane farm on the edge of the Sahara desert and examine whether these changes herald a bright future for Africa’s small scale farmers or simply be a „new scramble for Africa“.
- To the US examining the co-existence of poverty and wealth, in a close-up on how the system of privilege is kept in place and how the poor are persuaded to believe that poverty is their own fault.
The similar question „What creates poverty?“ urged Muhammad Yunus to take action and initiate his fabulous journey of setting up Grameen Bank and materialise his answer:
„Poverty is not created by the poor people, poverty is created by the system that we have built, the concepts that we have created“.