Let’s talk about jobs. Sure, work might not be the most thrilling narrative, but I promise to do my best to make it a little more exciting.
What’s a root cause of individuals and families not having education and healthcare access? What’s a key reason for food insecurity? Lack of stable income. And where can one find consistent income? A job. You see where I’m going with this?
Lack of consistent, stable income is one of the key roots of systemic poverty. If families had access to stable income, they could afford to pay school fees, take their children to a clinic if they’re sick, make sure they eat three meals a day.
A job is a lifeline. Though it’s a single person working that job, the effects it has on family and community members is astounding. It means the difference between sending your children to bed hungry or with a full belly.
But how do we promote jobs, employment, dignity in Africa or Central America or South Asia? Wouldn’t it be easier to focus on an education platform or a healthcare clinic or a feeding program? The answer is that it’s not easy to focus on job creation, and yes, it would be simpler to work on a less daunting program. The point here is not to take away from those great organizations working on education, healthcare, or food. They are needed and valuable to create infrastructure, but they’re not a solution to poverty in themselves.
The truth is that community transformation, national transformation, regional transformation will only come from economic engagement. Gone are the days where we can ignore the economy with our efforts to “help,” because including the economy is, in fact, the only way to make lasting progress. I believe we have to attack the root of poverty if we ever want to do anything about it, and unleashing the power of jobs is an essential way to do that.
Attacking poverty with jobs? Again, sounds kind of boring, difficult, even misguided. Go ask someone stuck in the grips of poverty what they most want in the world. Did you do it? I guarantee you the answer was “a job.” Stable employment is the way to build a better future for yourself, your family, your community, your nation.
Taking this whole crazy idea even further, we have to identify the visionaries who will help create the jobs we’re talking about for unskilled workers who might not otherwise have a place to turn. Not everyone can (poof) create jobs out of thin air. But entrepreneurs have the ideas and innovations — the grit — to create opportunity for members of their communities.
We have to identify the entrepreneurs, who when enabled to scale their businesses, can create more jobs, more security, more access for those stuck in cyclical poverty. These men and women are catalysts in this endeavor of putting people to work. They are the local heroes we can help support (read: not direct) as they do what they know how to do: business.
The long and short of all this is that we need to find ways to support business innovation, scaling, and training as a means to job creation, which is the way for families and communities to transform their norm and get out of systemic patterns of poverty.
Our team at Arrow has chosen to focus on global job creation by building an investment platform to link altruistically-motivated investors in the United States with growth-ready entrepreneurs in Central America and Africa. How will you support work, jobs, and stable income for families around the globe?
Chad Jordan is the author of Shut Up & Give?, ReThink Missions, and Three Jobs, as well as the co-founder & CEO of Arrow Global Capital and the founder of Cornerstone International. He is a 2016 Under 30 NextGen Award winner and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.