June 24, 2010
Poverty is present in every society. Poverty robs human beings of their most basic rights. It keeps people hungry; it deprives them of medical care, clean water, an education, the opportunity to work, and often results in a sense of powerlessness, hopelessness, and inequality. Every day, more than 24,000 children die due to preventable conditions created by poverty.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that actions to reduce poverty and its attendant injustices are an important part of Christian social responsibility. The Bible clearly reveals God's special interest in the poor and His expectations as to how His followers should respond to those who are unable to care for themselves. All human beings bear the image of God and are the recipients of God's blessing (Luke 6:20). In working with the poor we follow the example and teaching of Jesus (Matthew 25:35, 36). As a spiritual community Seventh-day Adventists advocate justice for the poor and "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" (Proverbs 31:8, NIV) and against those who "deprive the poor of their rights" (Isaiah 10:2, NIV). We participate with God who "secures justice for the poor" (Psalm 140:12 NIV).
Working to reduce poverty and hunger means more than showing sympathy for the poor. It means advocating for public policy that offers justice and fairness to the poor, for their empowerment and human rights. It means sponsoring and participating in programs that address the causes of poverty and hunger, helping people to build sustainable lives. This commitment to justice is an act of love (Micah 6:8). Seventh-day Adventists believe it is also a call to live lives of simplicity and modesty that witness against materialism and a culture of affluence.
Seventh-day Adventists join the global community in supporting the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals for reducing poverty by at least 50 percent by 2015. In furtherance of this, Seventh-day Adventists partner with civil society, governments and others, working together locally and globally to participate in God's work of establishing enduring justice in a broken world.
As followers of Christ we engage this task with determined hope, energized by God's visionary promise of a new heaven and a new earth where there is no poverty or injustice. Seventh-day Adventists are called to live imaginatively and faithfully inside that vision of God's Kingdom by acting to end poverty now.
This statement was approved and voted by the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on June 23, 2010, and released at the General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, June 24-July 3, 2010.
Women and Hunger
10 Facts from World Food Programme
Women are often victims of hunger. They also have a crucial role to play in defeating hunger. As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, they hold the key to building a future free of malnutrition. Here are ten reasons why empowering women is such an important part of WFP’s work.
- Protracted crises undermine food security and nutrition. Women are more likely than men to be affected, and their access to aid can be undermined by gender-based discrimination.
- Yields for women farmers are 20-30 percent lower than for men. This is because women have less access to improved seeds, fertilizers and equipment.
- Giving women farmers more resources could bring the number of hungry people in the world down by 100 - 150 million people.
- Surveys in a wide range of countries have shown that 85 - 90 percent of the time spent on household food preparation is women’s time.
- In some countries, tradition dictates that women eat last, after all the male members and children have been fed.
- When a crisis hits, women are generally the first to sacrifice their food consumption, in order to protect the food consumption of their families.
- Malnourished mothers are more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Underweight babies are 20 percent more likely to die before the age of five.
- Around half of all pregnant women in developing countries are anaemic. This causes around 110,000 deaths during childbirth each year.
- Research confirms that, in the hands of women, an increase in family income improves children’s health and nutrition.
- Education is key. One study showed that women's education contributed 43 percent of the reduction in child malnutrition over time, while food availability accounted for 26 percent.