[Article via the recently created Project Free World Quora blog]
The world is in flux right now. Despite the astounding level of technology we have in this day and age, too many of our brothers and sisters worldwide continue to see their basic survival needs being systematically ignored. As a fellow citizen of the human race who has been extremely lucky to have grown up in one of the wealthiest countries in recorded history, I cannot in good conscience justify utilizing anything less than my full creative abilities to attempt to solve the complex challenges we face.
This is an experiment to determine just how powerful the Quora platform and community of approximately ten million members can be when we come together for a philanthropic higher purpose.
Let’s take this opportunity to shine a giant spotlight on the unheard and unseen. Let’s attempt to better understand how those in poverty around the world live, and examine what’s working to successfully empower people in order to be better equipped to address the issues that cause it. Let’s examine this from every possible angle: the macro level, the micro level, and everything in between.
Here’s how it’s going to work:
Using the Quora platform, we are going to ask a set of questions. Using Indonesia as an example, these questions can be along the lines of:
1. What is life like for poor people in Indonesia?
2. What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of Indonesia?
3. Who are some of the local organizations that are doing a good job of alleviating poverty in Indonesia whose models can be replicated?
4. What can concerned global citizens do to help the impoverished people of Indonesia rise up and break out of poverty?
(*Note: I had originally combined many of these questions into one single question, but was informed by Quora moderators that this goes against the terms of service of the website and was causing problems for other users. If you were one of those affected users, I do apologize. Moving forward, in order to do this in a way that is Quora-friendly, we must properly divide up separate questions as I’ve done above. Come to think of it, it’s probably better this way anyway for the sake of untangling all of the complexity involved in these issues.)
If you think asking how to end poverty in a country with as large a population as Indonesia sounds very broad, you’re right. It is. This is just a starting point to be able to see things from the macro level. Don’t worry. We will continue to go deeper.
This is where the Quora community is going to be of vital importance in executing this plan. We are going to go five levels deep.
I’ve added a diagram below to show how we can break this problem down into bite size pieces:
For each level, we will need to ask (some version of) the above four questions for each specific area. So, using question #2 as an example:
Country level: What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of the United States?
State level: What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of New York?
City level: What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of Brooklyn, New York?
Town level: What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York?
Neighborhood level: What resources or policies would empower the impoverished people of Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects?
Breaking it down in this manner can create great opportunities for friendships to be born, mentorship, crowdfunding projects, local volunteer outings, and much more. If you work with a large NGO, the macro level information may be more useful for you; but the micro levels allow every single one of us to do something to create a better world. No matter who is interested in getting involved and helping, there is something for all of us to do. The major advantage of utilizing the Quora platform in doing this project is that we can get real answers and first-hand information from people living and working in these areas; rather than only receiving general second-hand accounts from policymakers or mass media outlets.
In order to keep all of this information organized, we are going to need more volunteers to step up and create their own Quora blogs to manage it. This current post you are reading right now is the part of the newly created Project Free World (PFW) Quora blog. As shown in the previous diagram, this post connects with all of the questions on the country level. I’ve included links at the bottom of this post to those questions for every single country in the world.
You can create your own Quora blog (or join one as a contributor if someone else has already made the one you’re interested in) on one of the five levels. You can then begin writing, answering, promoting and linking to some of the questions for that particular region. For example, we will need someone to create a PFW United States Quora blog, link back up to this one and then also link down to the ones on the next level (PFW California, PFW Texas, etc.).
The PFW California Quora blog creator will link back up to PFW United States, and down to PFW Los Angeles, PFW San Francisco, and so on. This will make it very easy for people to connect with the relevant contributors at each level, access the right information, and understand the flow of this project.
(*Note on choosing topics for each blog and question: Be sure to add the Project Free World, PFW, and PFW [Location] topics so that you can be found more easily by those who want to start a discussion or contribute answers. Also, be sure not to use topics that aren’t directly related to the question. This has the potential to get very big very fast, and we do not want to have a bombardment of these questions show up in the news feeds of uninterested individuals so that they can peacefully enjoy Quora in their own way.)
The important thing to remember is that this is open to anyone who has the right intentions and wants to get involved. Don’t wait around or ask someone to give you permission. If you have an idea that will improve the knowledge base or the lives of people in your local area, self-organize and make it happen. There are no set in stone hard rules, only guidelines. Have fun with it, innovate, build upon it, share it, and contribute to this vast pool of human knowledge. Take initiative and be a beacon of light for others.
If this all seems very complicated, feel free to disregard all I’ve said so far and start from scratch. It’s better to focus on action rather than getting stuck in paralysis of analysis. In one sentence, here is a summary of what we can do:
Let’s ask poverty-related questions to Quora’s massive user base, and organize people locally to implement the solutions we can think up together.
Feel free to message me if you have any further questions, and I hope to see you take part in this much needed global effort!
To get more people involved:
[Use your Quora credits to promote the post]
[Follow Project Free World on Facebook and Twitter]
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Answers have now come in for over 45 countries on six continents!
Here are some of the countries that have received responses thus far (★ designates very informative set of answers):
South Korea ★
United Arab Emirates
Here are some additional external resources.
Project Free World External Resources:
PFW Critical Areas Map - Map that gives an index score from 1-100 (unstable to stable) for various metrics for every country, highlighting the most critical areas
PFW Crowdsolving Tools - Page that highlights some of the most innovative organizations that are helping to provide the proper food, rights, education, and environment to people around the world
PFW Main Blog
This is the full list of questions for each country, by continent:
*Note: This list includes some disputed countries, regions that are battling for their independence, and territories (i.e. French Guiana, Greenland, Hong Kong, Kurdistan, Palestine, Taiwan, Tibet, Western Sahara). The purpose of this article is not to dispute who does or does not deserve their own independent status. The purpose is to better understand what life is like for some of the impoverished people of our world, in order to better empathize with them and do whatever we can to help solve the issues that create these conditions. If there is a disputed area that you believe should be on here, message the administrator of this blog, Jordan Phoenix.
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
São Tomé and Príncipe
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
United Arab Emirates
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Papua New Guinea
Let’s use our knowledge and resources to enhance this open-source research database. Let’s share it with NGOs and concerned citizens looking to start local grassroots projects to make change. Let’s pick up speed and move closer to the day that poverty becomes a thing of the past.
Follow Project Free World blog on Quora