Since 2009, the United Nations (UN) has designated 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of the former South African President’s work in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, poverty reduction, human rights, reconciliation, and social justice.
The theme of this year’s Day is “Action Against Poverty”.
Fight against poverty
Nelson Mandela recognised that the battle to eradicate poverty is vital not only to build a common humanity, but to establish a secure and peaceful world, and poverty reduction was one of the key UN Millennium Development Goals and is now one of their priority Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Poverty is a root cause of malnutrition; poor health and disease; low educational achievement; unemployment; skills shortages; and loss of dignity.
Although the UN has gone a long way towards advancing the goals for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger that it set out at the beginning of the century, there is still a huge amount of work, which continues to need to be done, particularly while an estimated one in eight people worldwide continue to be chronically undernourished.
Make a difference in your own community
There is a practical side to the UN’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, and one which individuals can take up across the globe in their own communities.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation website has many suggestions of ways individuals can make a difference. These include:
- Get to know someone from a different cultural background.
- Help someone with their CV or job application.
- Read to someone who can’t.
- Visit someone in hospital or in care.
- Donate blankets to someone in need.
- Help out at a local animal shelter.
Courses in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice
The Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP) at SOAS University of London runs a range of specialist postgraduate programmes via online distance learning, which include an MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice; a PGDip in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice; and a PGCert in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice.
The programmes aim to equip students with a multi-disciplinary skill-set to analyse and address the challenges of poverty reduction, across a range of subjects including economics, law, management theory and environmental science.
Find out more
- Check out the CeDEP website
- Visit the Centre of African Studies, SOAS
- Find out more about the work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation