Therole of governments in ending poverty
TheNational Service and Youth Unemployment Program
Povertyis one of the major serious problems in any society. Approximate 1.3billion people live in abject poverty globally (Shah 2). In bothdeveloped and developing nations, extreme poverty remains achallenge. Many policies and mechanisms have been employed to addresspoverty in different countries however, extreme cases of poverty arestill evident (Banerjee& Duflo 113).
Galbraithin his book, “TheAffluent Society,”analyzed poverty as occurring at two levels,Insularpoverty and Case poverty experienced due to individuals’deficiencies (Galbraith26).In particular he related poverty to ignorance, disability, alcoholismor discrimination. He further observed that, it is insular povertythat is a menace to the society because its causes and effects cutacross the society. Poverty is not a great problem if the governmentand the society have the will to change and implement policies andprocedures to counter it. While great debate and controversy remainsa contentious issue in the modern society, the main question remainson what role the government has in fighting poverty.
Unemploymentis one of the major contributing factors of poverty. In mostcountries throughout the world, unemployment has proved to be thegreatest setback in development. Increasing and creating an enablingenvironment that enables individuals to increase their personalincome is one strategy the government could adopt to check onpoverty. Each day colleges and Universities are churning outgraduates in an already saturated labor market. This aspect combinedwith other factors such as high population, economic crisis and useof technology has exacerbated the problem of unemployment.
However,there are various governments and non-governmental programs that areaimed at solving this problem. In the United States, the federalgovernment instituted a National Service and Youth UnemploymentProgram to tackle unemployment among the Youths and low-incomeearners. Under this program, the government aimed to build thecapacity of the unemployed youth by providing them with short-termemployment opportunities. In addition, the programs were aimed atstrengthening the capacity of non-profit organizations involved inthe provision of social services to the poor (Boteach, Moses &Sagawa 1).
TheNational Service Program encompasses specific programs such as theYouth Corps, AmeriCorps and the VISTA. It is estimated that in 2009,youth unemployment rate stood at 25.6 percent. In particular, youthwith less education and young veterans have been adversely affectedby unemployment. According to the current and projected trend in theunemployment, analysts observe that poverty could be on the rise. Thecapacity of non-profit organization to address this issue has notbeen helpful due to low-government grants and diminishing foundationfunds. It is with this shortfall that the National Service programwas instituted to address these disparities.
Underthe National Service Youth program, the government instituted anational strategy of tackling Youth unemployment by investing fundsin such programs as the AmeriCorps, Youth Build and the VISTA. Thenational service programs facilitate in the creation of entry-leveljobs to the poor or unemployed through private and governmentresources. Under these programs, beneficiaries get other socialservice benefits besides the pay allowances given. However, theseprograms do not provide permanent employment but have helpedUniversity and college graduates get employment. In addition, theprograms have been effective in boosting the capacity ofNon-governmental organizations that provide vital social services tothe poor (Boteach, Moses & Sagawa 1).
TheYouth Corp Program
TheYouth Corp Program is designed to provide University and Collegesgraduates with employment opportunities as they learn developmentskills through training. Under this program, the graduates areinvolved in such projects as urban construction, conservation andsocial services with the main objective of promoting ‘green jobs.’Along the Youth Corp is the Youth Build program that is aimed atrebuilding the lives of the poor, as well as building housings forlow-income earners.
Theseprograms target youths at the age of 16-24 years and comprises ofindividuals who did not perform well in their schools. As such, thisprogram is multifaceted developing the youths’ skills throughtraining and offering low-level jobs that improve the overallexperience and competence is a great is a positive move. The programhas been effective in arresting early cases of pregnancy, reducingunemployment rates and improving income among the Youths. Theseprograms are supported by through the private and public funds fromsuch areas as the AmeriCorps and Department of Labor (Boteach, Moses& Sagawa 1).
However,due to lack of adequate funds, these programs have not been able toeffectivelyaddress the problem of unemployment among the youthsit is recorded that nearly 14 thousands of youths are turned awayfrom the Youth Corp and Youth Build programs due to lack of enoughfinancial resources. Nonetheless, the programs have been instrumentalin addressing the problem of unemployment and thereby reducingpoverty levels. It is argued that, these programs are criticalespecially at a time when the civil services and non-profit agencieswill face workforce shortage as the baby boomers retire. Theemployment opportunities provided through these programs have beenfound to be effective especially to graduates who are often at riskof an extended period of unemployment. Although individuals areinvolved in temporary employment at community level, the programs areeffective means of empowering the young people to
improvetheir statuses progressively.
Insummary, the National Service Youth Program under the Federalgovernment has been a great idea. Low-income and jobless youths havebeen able to venture into productive activities. It is a greatstrategy of fighting poverty by reducing the unemployment rates.Statistical evidence from these programs indicate that, despitelow-funding hiccups scaling up these programs by all means couldsignificantly reduce the unemployment and poverty issue among theAmerican Society.
Expandingthese programs through funding could significantly improve theprogram impact in the American society. Youths are involved inactivities that enhance their skills and promote community servicewhich is critical for the general wellbeing of the society. Inaddition, the programs are essential in addressing multiple problemsone is that these programs reduce idleness among the youths. In mostcases, unemployed youths become idle and engage in criminal or otherimmoral behaviors such as drug abuse, robbery or early pregnanciesfor the women (Banerjee& Duflo 103).
Furthermore,these programs are instrumental in developing responsible youths whoare able to improve their wellbeing and that of the society. Theprograms are great unlocking opportunities to the society and theyouth who may live in poverty for lack of employment due to lowskills. As such, the program is effective in promoting decent work,provide an opportunity to all and ensure economic security to all. Bycreating opportunities for the youth, this serves as a great benefitto the government and society in general by improving the generaleconomy of the nation (Boteach, Moses & Sagawa 1).
Galbraith,J. K. “TheAffluent Society, Chapter 22: The Position of Poverty.”Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1958.
Banerjee,Abhijit & Esther Duflo, ‘Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinkingof the Way to Fight Global Poverty,’ New York: Public Affairs,2011.
Dugger,Celia W. "WorldBank report puts agriculture at core of antipoverty effort".TheNew York Times.(2007-10-20).Retrieved2014-07-6.
Shah,Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. 07 Jan.2013. Web. 06 July. 2014.
BoteachMellisa, Joy Moses & Sagawa Shirley, “National Service andYouth Unemployment,” Centerfor American Progress,2009. Retrieved on 2014-07-12 fromhttp://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/report/2009/11/16/6910/national-service-and-youth-unemployment/
Graphicalvisuals indicating poverty levels in the world