Gary Haugen in his TED talk "The hidden reason for poverty the world needs to address now", raises a very important issue that is often swept under the carpet while discussing poverty mitigation. The effect that violence has on the poor, the helplessness experienced by victims, especially women, who fall within the poverty bracket,  when laws are not enforced, when the protection that is deemed to be their right is just an illusion, is jarring.

Several largescale poverty mitigation programmes are in operation, that help sponsor a girl's education at school or that provide microloans for women to set up their own small scale enterprise to earn a sustainable income.

But what if the the proposed beneficiary can never leave the house? What if she cannot even think about working a regular job because her husband will be violent if she interacts with other men? What if the teenage girl who loves going to school is afraid that while she walks back in the evening, she will have to face harassment, eve teasing or even worse? What of the woman who manages to work 3 jobs a day but then looses all her earning to a drunken and violent husband at home who claims his right over everything she has? What if the girl is a slave, well hidden from the law enforcers through bribery or through sheer brute criminal force?

Is there a failiure of community here, the unwillingness of the weak and the strong to help the weak, or is it more a question of a huge gap in understanding that leads to policies and releif measures that are not holistic? Measures that dont bring light to the darkest truths that form the web or poverty and which only bring paltry releif to communities that have been surviving within it for generations.

Comment on this Post


Dear Divya Anne Selvaraj,

Thank you so much for sharing this great TedTalk. I thought your post was really insightful and that you asked a lot of really interesting and impactful questions. I think one of the most interesting things that is always discussed when looking at the topic of poverty mitigation is how laws can be passed, and viewed as a great success, but if the laws are not enforce then the individuals who need the protection the most are left in the same situation. Most often the individuals are women and girls and I think your post really highlights this issue. Thank you again for sharing.

Sincerely,  Alyssa Rust 

Thanks for sharing the TED talk. I agree that violence is a factor that can be overlooked. There are so many anti-poverty programs that are poorly designed and not informed by local realities.

All the best to you.


Dear Divya,

Appreciate your highlighting important and relevant questions which must be addressed to make realistic and useful interventions. Awaiting your next piece.

Warmth & solidarity,


Dear Divya,

Thanks my dear, you realize that participation by women and men is skewed against women mainly due to cultural reasons. There is still big disparity in representation of women and men in national and local levels of governance structures and processes, which may not allow their contribution to be recognized even when they are the backbone of social development. There is need for concerted efforts.

Thank you





Dear Divya,

You have narrated what happens in our local settings, many girls dont go to school becasue of fear of being teased when they are in their periods and many other reasons. It is absurd that the community doesnt help with such stigmatisations but instead increases them and this is why we really have to work hard to ensure that these girls are free.

Thank you for sharing and please continue to do as we are here for you my dear. Stay blessed. 

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi Head of Legal and Advocacy Centre for Batwa Minorities Skype: mrs_muhanguzi