Integrated approaches are key to ensuring the poorest in least developed countries aren’t left behind

By Karina Weinstein, Program Director, FXB International

Photo Credits: FXB International

A recent analysis presented by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to its member States on February 5, 2018 revealed that the world’s poorest countries (Least Developed Countries, LDCs) are not on track to achieve goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN News Centre). The imperative behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is equity, ensuring that no one is left behind. Yet the gap between the 47 countries labeled as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other developing countries is widening. What can be done?

Pictured in the UNCTAD article is Olivia Nankindu, a mother of two in Kampala District, Uganda. She was living in abject poverty on her husband’s income from hawking plastic bags. Unable to afford meals or pay rent, Olivia’s family participated in FXB’s integrated Community Development FXBVillage program. Provided with integrated support in nutrition, housing, health, education, and livelihoods, Olivia gained confidence, skills and financial capacity. Olivia not only improved her family’s nutrition, children’s educational attainment, and sanitation and hygiene, but also gained hope and confidence that her poverty is not immutable. In 2013, she enrolled in an apprenticeship program in hairdressing and salon management, and landed a job in a hair salon, earning UGX 200,000 per month (approximately $56 USD), which is about four times the amount of her husband’s income before the start of the program. Now, Olivia and her husband are planning to start their own hair salon business. “I now work harder, follow my desires, goals and my principle is to never give up easily,” Olivia says. She is one of over 84,000 people who were able to escape extreme poverty through FXB’s integrated programs.

Integration is key to achieving the SDGs and bridging the gap between the LDCs and other developing countries. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind. As an international non-governmental organization currently working in four of the LDCs (Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Myanmar), FXB is committed to inclusion and integration. We do that by focusing on the ultra-poor, not only through the FXBVillage program, but also through our health, education, and women’s and children’s protection programs. FXB advocates for integrated approaches to community development through our participation in Locus, a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing evidence-based solutions to global development challenges that are integrated, driven by local communities, and based on shared measures. Together, we are amplifying the evidence that integration works and that women like Olivia cannot be left behind.

    Photo Credits: FXB International