Economic Livelihood

The Needs

Approximately 2.4 billion people live on less than S$2.50 a day. The world’s poorest citizens – those who most desperately need more income – lack the means to pull themselves out of the poverty cycle. Even for the more enterprising, banks refuse to grant loans due to their lack of collateral or credit history, so they are unable to start and grow a small business.

The poor are typically excluded from economic opportunities, and in particular, women are the most affected. They are not paid as much as men and are often discriminated against. Gender norms often relegate women to household roles and exclude them from decision-making on household expenditure. Some have never been allowed to touch money their whole lives.

Key Challenges

Low Levels of Education and Knowledge

Without quality education, casual labourers do not have skills that can land them better paying jobs and farmers cannot gain better farming knowledge. These disadvantaged groups also lack business acumen and do not know how else to generate income besides doing what past generations of poor have done.

Lack of Capital

Poor families cannot afford better resources that can boost their productivity. Farmers are unable to get essential agricultural inputs like plant fertilisers, animal vaccines and more.

Limited Job Opportunities

The job market in villages is small, and this shrinks even further during the dry season when farms do not need to hire workers. The only way to get better jobs is to move to urban areas, but many who make the move, including children, end up being exploited instead.

Weak Institutions and Financial Infrastructure

Bigger markets nearer cities offer better prices for goods, but are too far away. Instead, the poor rely on middle men who take a cut of profits. They also do not have basic financial services like loans and have to pay high interest rates to local money lenders.