"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great."

Nelson Mandela said these words in London in 2005 to kick off his Make Poverty History campaign. And now in 2018, Global Citizens are picking up the torch so that we can be the generation to end extreme poverty once and for all.

Over the next six months, Global Citizens around the world will be taking action to compel world leaders to make significant changes and commitments to deliver on Mandela’s unrealized dream of ending poverty. We have set an ambitious goal of mobilizing $1 billion in new commitments for the world's poorest, with $500 million of that set to impact the lives of 20 million women and girls worldwide.

We’ll be taking action on the issues closest to the causes of systemic extreme poverty: gender equality, health, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and education. Ending extreme poverty is a lofty goal — but together we can be the generation to end extreme poverty.

And those actions not only help end extreme poverty, but they also help you earn your way into either the New York City festival on Sept. 29 or the Mandela 100 festival in Johannesburg on Dec. 2.

Here's exactly what we hope to achieve this year.

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

Girls and Women

The stats: Over 90% of countries have at least one sexist law; 214 million women do not have access to contraceptives; 800 women and girls die from pregnancy complications daily. When women are held back and can’t access the assets necessary to move up the economic ladder, they become trapped in a cycle of poverty. 

What we’re doing: Global Citizen will support women's entrepreneurship and seek funding of $200 million to fill the women’s health funding gap, and empower women to build more assets and increase their income, economic independence and their family’s well-being.


The stats: More than 400 million people lack access to essential health services and experts say we are also on the doorstep of the next pandemic. And neglected tropical diseases, like elephantiasis and Dracunculiasis, affect 600M people in Africa and 1.5 billion globally. These diseases keep people from earning a regular income and traps them in the cycle of poverty. 

What we’re doing: Global Citizen will campaign for $300 million to support universal health coverage, $250 million annually to deploy treatments and routine immunizations for neglected tropical diseases and $100 million in funding for pandemic prevention. Our efforts can vastly reduce child and maternal deaths and lead to the eradication of polio and other preventable diseases in our lifetimes, causing economic growth and a healthier global workforce. 


The stats: 264 million children (including 131 million girls) are out of school with 75 million missing out due to conflict and crisis which increases risks of child and maternal deaths, exploitation, child labour, sexual violence and extremism. The Education Commission found that bringing a quality education to all kids by 2030 will require a $1.8 trillion investment.

What we’re doing: Global Citizen will campaign to fill this gap and help lift people out of poverty, by helping the Global Partnership for Education, the Education Cannot Wait fund and the Education Commission raise over $1.2B from governments and other donors to invest or support investment domestically, early and sufficiently in education — especially in the education of girls.

Hunger & Nutrition

The stats: 815 million people are going to bed hungry each night and 3 million children are dying from malnutrition each year. Poverty and conflict are major drivers of hunger and famine, with 11 of 13 current food crises being driven by conflict.  

What we’re doing: Global Citizen's campaigns will ask governments to improve the whole system, from farm to fork, from field to plate, especially for women and girls, through funding of $450M from African nations to support better nutrition and agriculture, and help break cycles of poverty and hunger, putting people and communities on better economic footings.

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

The stats: 4.5 billion people lack access to clean water and sanitation. Girls and women are worst affected, spending 200 million hours a day collecting water, placing them in situations of danger, due to dirty water consumption and disease and missing out on school due to poor resources and information to manage their periods. 

What we’re doing: Global Citizen will seek to raise $150 million to fund clean water and sanitation in the poorest communities, so that girls can access and complete an education with dignity through de-stigmatization and adequate toilet facilities.

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.


Demand Equity

How We Can Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

By Madge Thomas